Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Quick Pick: Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion +

It takes a lot of guts to reinvent a classic product, and this year Clinique have done the unthinkable and reformulated their cult classic Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion.  The new version completely replaces the old, making this a risky gamble - get it wrong and you risk losing heaps of loyal customers.

The new DDML, termed simply Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion +, is thankfully rather good.  Building on the original version's surprisingly light textured yet highly moisturising formula, the new version keeps moisture in the skin for even longer and packs even more of a hydrating punch.

My skin isn't wildly dry, but even I can tell the difference between this new formula and the old one - my skin stays quenched and plumped up all day.  Even though the lotion is super light and easily absorbed, my skin feels treated and protected.  The lightness is deceptive; you really only need two pumps for the whole face and neck as the lotion spreads incredibly easily.

You'll find Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion + at Clinique counters and online now, where it costs £29.50 for a 125ml bottle with a pump.  Don't be put off by the price; this stuff will last ages as a little goes a long way!

Disclosure: PR sample

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Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Review: Guerlain Gloss d'Enfer

These beauties are Guerlain's Gloss d'Enfer.  Which means GLOSS OF HELL.  Quite a melodramatic name (for a lipgloss), and a bit of a juxtaposition since they're actually rather heavenly.  C'mon, you saw that pun coming a mile off.

These three colours are Candy Strip, Prune Zip, and Pink Clip.  I like that they rhyme, which is a coincidence given the colours I received - the full twenty shade lineup all have cartoon strip action-noise inspired names.  One of them is called Browny Clap.  Yes, really.

The thick, solid packaging contains a lovely, richly shiny gloss which has that slippy, moist texture which just glides onto the lips without being sticky or cloying at all.  A fairly standard doe's foot applicator gets the gloss from tube to your mush.

Candy Strip, Prune Zip, Pink Clip
And as you can see, it's a pretty damn shiny gloss.  The pigmentation is also rather good - these glosses don't give a whisper of colour, but they're not as intense as a liquid lipstick.  Here's how they look on the lip.

Candy Strip
Candy Strip is a lovely rich coral pink.  Of the three, it's probably the most densely pigmented.

Prune Zip
Prune Zip looks like a deep plum in the tube, but it's actually a plum pink colour which is fairly sheer in terms of pigment.

Pink Clip
Pink Clip is also a little more on the sheer side - it's a pale candy pink with a very subtle golden shimmer.

Now, I'm a confirmed lipstick girl - I only own a couple of glosses and if I'm honest, I rarely wear them.  These, though... they've been on my lips every single day since they arrived.  They're comfortable, shiny without being plasticy, leave my lips feeling great, and they also last very well - the colour sticks around for a good three or four hours, with the shine dimming but still looking lush.  They're very, very good, and I'd recommend you give them a go even if you're not a fan of gloss.

You'll find these at Escentual, where they cost £17.60 each - spendy, yes, but less than I thought they'd be for the quality, and well worth it.

Disclosure: PR sample

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Monday, 29 July 2013

Models Own Bottleshop Haul

A new Models Own Bottleshop has recently appeared in Stratford Westfield mall. Within the giant bottle, you can find every shade of Models Own polish, from the original classics like Beth's Blue through to the brand new scented and Fuoro collections.

The Bottleshop has its own special perma-deal - 6 polishes for £20 - a saving of £10 (they're usually £5 each). Your selection is then packed in a Models Own plastic box ready for you to take home and enjoy.

I decided to avail myself of this offer, and picked up...

Pink Punch, a warm pink from the Fluoro collection
Champagne, a metallic, sparkly beige
Mermaid's Tears, a quasi-flaky sheer purple
Aqua Violet, a duochrome from the Beetlejuice collection
Apple Pie, a scratch-n-sniff pastel green (which does smell faintly of apples)
Dream Stream, a metallic electric blue

Finally, here's a quick NOTD showing Apple Pie and Pink Punch in action.

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Sunday, 28 July 2013

Review: No 7 Stay Perfect Mascara

I picked up No 7's latest mascara recently, intrigued by its long wear claims - it's apparently "smudge proof, flake proof, humidity proof, tear proof - pretty much life proof".

Of course, this sticky humid weather was the perfect opportunity to put it through it's paces.  The brush is a surprisingly basic affair of the plastic bristled variety, and I was surprised to find that the formula has a tubing effect.  For those of you who haven't tried a tubing mascara before, the formula dries into a little tube around the lash - you remove by pressing and pulling downwards with a bit of warm water.  Bit of a shock the first time I used it - I thought my lashes were falling out.

As you can see, the combination of rubber brush and tubing formula makes for a well defined lash look, even if it's not quite as voluminous as I'd like.  The formula doesn't really work if you layer it up, becoming clumpy and uneven, so the best way to apply it is in a single, carefully applied coat.  I can get a decent amount of volume out of it with plenty of brush wiggling, but it's definitely not a high volume, high impact effect.

And as for those wear claims?  All pretty damn true.  This stuff sticks to my lashes like a polyester skirt in this humid weather.  I noticed no smudging, transfer, flaking, no movement at all, and I've been wearing it for a good fifteen hours at a time.

If you need something utterly budgeproof, this is well worth a shot (assuming you can stomach the need for careful application).  Find it now at Boots for a £12.95.

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Friday, 26 July 2013

And Now For Something A Little Different... Vintage Repro Fashion

Yes, I know, this is the London Beauty Review, not the London Review of Things Gemma and Sarah Are Quite Interested In.  Anyone who's met me knows that most of my clothes have a forties or fifties silhouette, mostly because they emphasise my small waist whilst hiding my hippo hips.

A couple of my favourite vintage reproduction brands are having sales at the moment, so I thought I'd share some things I bought.

I've already got one Vivien of Holloway Grace Circle Dress - I wore a midnight blue satin one for my brother's wedding in May.  Since the slightly more casual cotton versions were reduced to £69 from £110, I decided to pick up a couple - cherries on a black background because you can never have too many clothes with cherries on, and the contrast polka top version because it's just quite unusual.  These dresses aren't cheap but the fabric is generally heavy, quality cotton, and they're made in the UK.

I've already got a Collectif Jane Boucle Top in green, so I thought it should have a pink friend, particularly because Collectif's 50% off sale makes it a very reasonable £13.75.

The Collectif Violet Anchor print dress is a bit of a risk - I'm not entirely sure whether the shape will work for me.  But it's super cute, and at £29.75 I can always send it back if it's not right.   I've been lusting after the Collectif Cynthia Doll dress for ages - but at almost £90, it's just too expensive for an everyday dress.  £44.75 is much more palatable, though.

Finally, the Collectif Florence Swallows skirt - it's a little more casual than my super formal black skirt collection, and I'm looking forward to pairing it with yellow pumps for a summery look.  And at £19.75 it's a bargain too.

What do you think, any bits and pieces catching your eye?  If you want to take advantage of the Collectif discount, use the code HOT50 - which should work til midnight on the 31st of July.  They also give the discount on gift vouchers - and given that my wardrobe is around 50% Collectif, I might well be stocking up on those too!

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Thursday, 25 July 2013

Mini-haul: MAC 168 Brush, Soft & Gentle Mineralise Skinfinish, Plum Foolery Blush

I picked up a few bits and pieces from MAC on a recent work trip to Seattle.  I've not bought any products from MAC in a long, long time - like all makeup lovers I went through a phase of buying up pieces from every new collection, but after I realised I was effectively buying the same stuff over and over again, I gave up.  I've retained a love for their Mineralise Skinfinishes, though - and when I popped into Nordstrom to pick one up, I couldn't resist a blush and a new brush too.

The MAC 168 brush is a slanted blush brush which gives you precision and control when applying to the cheeks.  The bristles are very, very soft and dense.

I chose to pick up the Sheertone Shimmer blush in Plum Foolery as well as Soft and Gentle Mineralise Skinfinish.

Plum Foolery is a rich, cool plum with golden shimmer.

Soft and Gentle is a shimmering champagne with veins of deeper bronze and softer gold.  It makes a beautiful highlighter, provided you use a soft touch, because...

Left to right: Plum Foolery, Soft and Gentle
Soft and Gentle is extremely shimmery, with an almost metallic gleam.  The MUA at Nordstrom really layered it up on my cheekbones, and it was only after I got back to my hotel after dinner that I realised I had an almost robotic cheekbone-shine going on.  Plum Foolery is also pretty shimmery, but it's not as intense as Soft and Gentle.  Both are well pigmented, softly textured, and easy to blend.

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Wednesday, 24 July 2013

NOTD: Bourjois Turquoise Block, In The Navy, and Blue Neon

Here's an NOTD using three new Bourjois polishes - two new 1 Seconde gel polishes in Turquoise Block and In The Navy, and a Laser Toppings topcoat in Blue Neon.  

If you've never used one of Bourjois' 1 Seconde polishes, you really should try one.  They have a super dense formula, and a brush which is perfectly shaped to coat most nails in a single stroke.  They also dry quickly, making them the perfect quick nail fix.

Interestingly, Turquoise Block darkens as you wear it - my little finger had a colour top up the day before I took the photo, with my index and middle finger showing polish that had been on for four days.  The first coat can be seen as a darker colour around the edges - I didn't really need a second coat, but habit took hold!

Wear is very decent - this photo is after four days wear, and the polish is still in great shape, with little tipwear and no chips.  Impressive stuff.  All three polishes cost just £5.99, which is a small price to pay for the quality.

Disclosure: PR samples

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Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Quick Pick: Tresemme Keratin Smooth Treatment Shot

This little tube contains one of Tresemme's latest products - a concentrated conditioning treatment which aims to reduce frizz and smooth the hair.  You apply it to freshly washed hair, leave it on for sixty seconds - and voila, smooth hair.

I was wondering whether the 15ml tube would contain enough product to coat my shoulder length, reasonably thick hair, but the product itself is pretty silky and distributes easily through the hair - I had plenty of product to cover my whole head, with a little extra to concentrate on the ends.

After sixty seconds, I rinsed out and let my hair dry naturally - and I was pleasantly surprised to find that my hair was indeed smoother, with less flyaways and frizz.  It also felt very soft and well conditioned.

At a mere £1.49, Tresemme's Keratin Smooth Treatment Shot is a bit of a bargain - it's cheap, it works, and it comes in a format which is perfect for packing a conditioning punch whilst you're travelling.  Find it from the end of July at the usual Tresemme stockists.

Disclosure: PR sample

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Monday, 22 July 2013

Swatches: Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie Lipsticks in Get Ready and Speak Your Mind

I liked the Bare Minerals Moxie lipstick I received as a sample so much, I bought a couple more on a recent work trip to the States.  To complement the bright red I already had, I went a bit more subtle, which is pretty damn unusual for me.

I chose Speak Your Mind, described as bubblegum pink, and Get Ready, described as a rich rosy pink.

I was drawn to Speak Your Mind by it's coolness - many neutral pinks are too beige or warm, subsequently making me look like a corpse.  Speak Your Mind is a lovely cool pale pink, not so pale it looks overly sugary, but pale enough to be a lovely soft neutral.  It's a great alternative to beige toned nude.

Get Ready is fairly neutral toned too, and sits right on the line between rosy pink and a muted red.  It looks fantastic with a bronze eye, and isn't too overpowering to go with a smoky eye either.

I'm really pleased with the two colours I chose - and even more pleased by the fact that they were a mere $18 each, compared to £16 in the UK.  Find them online in the UK at the Bare Minerals website - or beg a soon-to-be-travelling friend to bring you a few back from the US.

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Sunday, 21 July 2013

NUXE summer sale - 30% off all products

French favourite NUXE are offering 30% off all products until 26th July - which is a damn good discount by anyone's standards.  Get it now by using the code SUMMERSALES at the checkout.  What will you be buying?  I quite fancy a full size bottle of Huile Prodigieuse.....

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NOTD: Urban Decay Vice and Addiction nail polishes

Urban Decay have two limited edition nail colours coming out as part of their A/W 2013 collection. This is excellent because a) UD's original nail colours have been discontinued for years, and we miss them, and b) because these new ones are beautiful colours, and come in very exciting new packaging (featuring SKULLS).

This NOTD shows the manicure I received at the collection launch last week. The shimmery metallic khaki is Addiction, and the purple accent nail is Vice.

To complete the picture, here are some shots of the bottles, taken with my phone at the launch event. (Apologies for the quality - hopefully you can see the skulls with flowers for eyes and the embossed logo running down the side of the lid.)

These are going to be £10 each, and will be available in limited quantities. I don't have a release date at the time of writing, but keep your eyes out for these - they're expected to sell out fast when they do hit the shelves.

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Saturday, 20 July 2013

SPARKLES: Bourjois Laser Toppings

These little beauties are Bourjois' latest addition to their nail art line.  Featuring tiny rectangular strands of glitter, they're perfect for a super sparkly look on top of a coordinating nail polish.  

From left to right, we have Sun Scales, Blue Neon, and Aqua Purple.  They're just £5.99 at Boots, making them a much cheaper alternative to Nails Inc's blingy Feathers kit.

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Friday, 19 July 2013

Guerlain Ecrin 2 Couleurs in Two Stylish

When a purchase comes in a cloth casing and is accompanied by a manual, you know it's an investment. At £30 a piece for 4g of product, Guerlain's new Ecrin 2 Couleurs duo compacts definitely fit the description. This one is Two Stylish, and is one of eight colourways released as part of Guerlain's Fall collection for 2013.

The packaging is pretty special - the compact is hinged at the short end and has a high-reflective finish that's not quite gold, not quite silver. The curved planes and sharp, precise lines are distinctively Guerlain, as is the embossed logo near the clasp. It feels like a vintage cigarette lighter or something - very sophisticated and pleasant to handle. On the downside, it is a total fingerprint magnet - just as well it comes with a velveteen cloth slip-case which can be used to polish it back to a pristine shine.

So, under the hood... two eyeshadows, one embossed with the Guerlain initial logo. One is a matte, vivid shade, and the other has a high-shine, sheer finish. They're designed to be layered together. Two Stylish includes a mid-toned matte blue that leans towards teal, and a platinum-greenish shade that's something like the colour of an old £1 coin.

Payoff is okay-ish - they're not rich, buttery shadows and they have a slight tendency to develop a shiny surface if you use them with your fingers. Best to use a brush. The pairing of the colours is superb and creates a striking but surprisingly wearable effect.

I must admit to being more sold on the packaging than I am on the product inside - something that happens to me more often these days (now that I own pretty much every eyeshadow shade I could ever imagine).

Two Stylish and the other seven Ecrin 2 Couleurs shades will be available from Guerlain from 1 August 2013.

Disclosure - PR sample

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Thursday, 18 July 2013

Review: Too Faced The Return of Sexy Palette

Look at this lovely box.  Inside it there's a lovely eyeshadow palette and a mini version of Too Faced's lovely primer, Shadow Insurance.  The Return Of Sexy palette caught my eye in Boots a fair old while ago, and I resisted it, trying to tell myself that I already have 3867 eyeshadows and don't need more.  Like that was ever going to work.

Of course, I eventually caved, and I'm pretty glad I did (even if I do now have 3882 eyeshadows).  The palette casing is a hefty, solid affair, made of thick plastic and shutting very firmly.  It comes with a travel version of Too Faced's Shadow Insurance primer, which is just as good as Urban Decay's cult Primer Potion.

Inside the palette, you get fifteen eyeshadows and a black waterproof eyeliner.  They're themed; the bronze/brown shadows are the Ingenue, the purple/pinks the Icon, and the grey/silvers the Bombshell.

I particularly like how there are little cards to suggest application techniques tucked behind the generous mirror, one per shadow quintet, with day time and night time variations.  

The fifteen shadows on offer are pretty damn sparkly.  The top row are base colours and highlighters, making them somewhat sheerer and more soft than the others, which are uniformly highly pigmented and very sparkly.  The most metallic finish shadows are so soft and buttery that they're actually a bit crumbly - you have to be a little careful of fall out.

The Ingenue
The Ingenue features some very daytime appropriate browns, with a super dark brown with gold shimmer on the bottom right which can be used to smoke things up for evening.

The Icon
The Icon is probably my favourite colour selection, as I absolutely love a good purple.  And a good pink.  And bloody hell, that leftmost pink is amazing.  It's got an amazing metallic shimmer which works for day and night (if you like a lot of sparkle, which I do).  Again, the bottom right shadow is a liner shade, being a deep aubergine purple with mid-purple sparkle.  I find it quite interesting that there's a lilac-toned taupe thrown in there for good measure too.

The Bombshell
The Bombshell also has a super-high-shine-metallic finish shadow in the form of that silver on the left.  Again, the bottom right is an eyeliner, this time pure black with silver glitter.  The pinkish shade on the right works surprisingly well with the central subtle silver-grey.

Overall, I'm incredibly pleased with this palette - at around £38 it represents reasonable value given that you get fifteen shadows, primer, and eyeliner.  Pretty much everything you need for eyes apart from mascara.  I took this palette with me on a work trip, and found it perfect for travel - the packaging is hardy and protects the soft shadows within, and the variety included makes it easy to eke a week's worth of looks out of a single palette.

Find it at BeautyBay, where it's currently on offer for a mere £32.34.  RUN, DON'T WALK!

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