Monday, 30 September 2013

Clarins Autumn: Joli Rouge Lipsticks in Pink Camellia and Royal Plum

I've tried and enjoyed Clarins' Joli Rouge lipsticks before, so I was pleased to see three new shades added to the range for the autumn collection, Graphic Expressions.  I have two of them to show you today - Pink Camelia and Royal Plum.

Pink Camelia is a lovely mid pink shade which straddles the boundary between pink and ruby - it's not super bright, nor is it a neutral.

Royal Plum is the absolute opposite - it's a rich, sexy plum with a brown undertone.  It looks vampy, but it's more of a plush vampy stain rather than a full on, high pigment look like Urban Decay's Shame.  Paired with a slightly deeper chocolate brown eye, or lashings of charcoal liner, it looks very autumn appropriate.

I really like the formula of the Joli Rouge lipsticks - they're hydrating and comfortable but not too slippy, and they have a medium pigmentation which means you can sheer them out easily or build them up for full coverage.  That's pretty appealing with a colour like Royal Plum - I'll confess to struggling to get a clean application with Urban Decay's high pigment vamp-fest Shame, but applying Royal Plum was easy.  Wear is reasonable - you'll get a couple of hours before they start feeling a little dry, and when they do fade away, the fade is even, leaving a soft stain.

Find them at the Clarins website, or at Clarins counters, for £18.

Disclosure: PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Tom Ford Sahara Noir

At the launch of Tom Ford's Atelier d'Orient range, I happened to spritz myself with a release from May this year - and at first sniff I was hooked.  I like my fragrances deep, dark and intense, and this one has all three in bucketloads.

Friday, 27 September 2013

The Perfect Dressing Table

So, in non-beauty related news, my husband and I have put our house on the market.  We're looking for something with more space - with two kids staying regularly and amassing their own ton of stuff, our little three bedroom terrace is stuffed full.

And of course, now we're looking for a new place, I'm dreaming about a dressing room.  Or, more realistically, a dressing table - nicer than the cheap one I bought from Argos and never quite replaced, with a proper mirror and enough storage for all my makeup.

This sleek white Sliderobes dressing table is simple and modern looking, and I particularly like that the glass top means any incidents involving knocking over open lipsticks won't result in staining.  I can't find a price for it, so I'm assuming it's so expensive I couldn't possibly afford it.

I'd put this incredibly beautiful and ornate mirror, £165 from Not On The High Street, on top of it, making sure they were both positioned in front of a window, for the best possible light.

And because there's not a chance in hell that all my products will fit into those three drawers in the dressing table, I kinda think I need an IKEA Alex drawer unit, £90.  I currently have translucent plastic Muji drawers, but I've now got eight for makeup, and six for nail polishes - and they take up a lot of space.  This Alex unit has a small footprint but plenty of space due to its height and nine drawers.

What would your dream dressing table look like?  Or am I the only one who actually dreams about dressing tables?

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Thursday, 26 September 2013

YSL Autumn Look: Blush Radiance and Rouge Pur Couture in Prune Avenue

YSL's Autumn look collection has some interesting combinations of products in it - there's a bright eyeshadow palette, which could be paired with the bright lipsticks for an edgy, colourful look, and there's also a neutral palette, which can work with the lipsticks for a more polished, classic look.  I received one of the new shades of Rouge Pur Couture lipstick, the deeply vampy Prune Avenue, and the Blush Radiance in soft mauve-pink shade 10.

The blush is really, really pretty - it looks like a pink battenberg cake.  Two of the quarters are softly shimmery, and two are a deeper matte pink.  The pan isn't really big enough to use the two shades separately, and swirled together they make a pretty mid pink with a very subtle sheen.

The lipstick, Prune Avenue, is pure vamp.  A deep, rich, purplish claret red, it makes for a lovely autumn lip.

I really like the Rouge Pur Couture formula - it glides onto the lip, sets down quickly, and lasts three hours or so before it starts feeling a little dry.

Together, the blush and lipstick make for a beautifully warm, rosy look which goes well with a fluffy jumper.  I love autumn and winter - blankets, cuddling on the sofa, fires, deeper lipstick shades, mulled wine - all warm, comforting things.  These two products go perfectly.

Rouge Pur Couture lipstick in Prune Avenue costs £25, and Blush Radiance in 10 costs £31.  If I had to choose only one of them to buy, it'd be the lipstick - I always feel that blush is one of those products you don't need to spend a lot of cash on, and as lovely as Blush Radiance is, it's not anything wildly different from most other blushes on the market.

Disclosure: PR samples

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Guerlain Tenue de Perfection Timeproof Foundation

This new foundation from Guerlain promises a flawless, velvety soft finish which lasts, thanks to something called Timeproof Complex (no, I have no idea either).

Unfortunately the shade I received is far too warm for me - the difference in tone between my neck and my face is a little off putting - but I can confirm that the texture is rather amazing for a long wearing foundation.  Instead of being thick and heavy, it's a light, easily blendable fluid which spreads well with fingers or brush.

The finish is pretty flawless too, treading the line between matte and radiant, and looking surprisingly like natural skin given the long-wear formula.  I'm wearing Rose Naturel, and I suspect I'd be better off with the more neutral toned Beige Naturel, or even Beige Clair which is a little paler.

One thing to note is that this foundation is surprisingly heavily fragranced - it's not detectable on the skin once applied, but simply pumping a drop onto the fingertips brings a noticeable scent.

If you'd like to try it for yourself, it costs a fairly whopping £37 at House of Fraser - definitely worth getting colour matched in store before shelling out then.

Disclosure: PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Nails a Porter by L'Oreal

L'Oreal have jumped firmly on the nail art bandwagon, offering a whole host of nail colours and special effects topcoats in their Colour Riche range.  They've also released some very interesting new stick-on nails with a variety of designs.

They're supposed to be really easy to apply, and should last five days on the nails.  Let's take a look at the application process.

First, you line up your nails against the sizes given in the pack.  There are two strips like this included, so twelve choices per hand - most nail shapes and sizes should find a good fit.

Once you've chosen the right size, you peel away the correspondingly numbered sticky pad from this sticky-pad-envelope.  There are two stickies per size, so again, should be plenty for most nails.

Stick the sticky pad to the nail, sticky side down.  Peel off the pink film atop the nail to expose yet more sticky, ready to stick the nail to your nail.  Does that make any sense whatsoever?

Then, simply press the nail down into the sticky pad, hold for a few seconds, and voila!  You are wearing a fake nail.

Unfortunately for me, the one I chose doesn't quite cover the edge of my nail.  I think this might be because my nails are very curved, and yet also square in shape.  I could probably have used a bigger size to cover the whole nail, but that might well have ended up too wide at the cuticle.

Even though the nail is really, really thin, it's still an obvious thing-sitting-on-top-of-my-nail, and since I've never had any form of artificial nail before, it feels weird.  A bit detached when I touch things.  A bit too plasticy.

Needless to say I removed my test nails much earlier than five days.  More like fifteen minutes, in fact.  If you're more used to stick on nails or gels, you might find these more comfortable - but they're really not for me.  If you'd like to try them, they're out now, and cost a mere £7.99.

Disclosure: PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating our copyright.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Clinique All About Shadow Singles in Bubble Bath, Blushed, and Purple Pumps

Clinique have revamped their eyeshadow range, introducing a rainbow of colours and finishes and releasing them as singles, duos, and quads.  There's a choice of finishes, too - super shimmer, soft shimmer, and soft matte.

Before we look at the shadows themselves, one thing I think is often looked over with Clinique is the outer cardboard packaging.  No basic sleeves, these - the floral print has been around for years and is still really, really pretty.

Left to right: Bubble Bath, Blushed, Purple Pumps
Anyway, on to the shadows - they're super soft and blendable, and have a medium pigmentation which goes on soft and can be built up.  The swatches above are rather heavy - you can see they're not overly intense, although they're not at all patchy in their softness.

One thing which strikes me is the difference in finish.  Bubble Bath is the super shimmer of the three - and it's really not all that shimmery.  Seriously, this is super shimmery.  Or this.  But not that.  Blushed has a barely detectable sheen to it, and Purple Pumps is matte, but not at all chalky.  These are definitely colours for those who want a soft eye look which enhances, rather than distracts.

On the eye you get a soft yet still vibrant look - I did build the shadows up in a couple of layers to get this kind of pigmentation, and the finished look is still more soft than it is super colourful.  I'm totally cool with that, though - if I want insane pigmentation and bright colours, I'll go to MAC, Illamasqua, or Inglot.  Clinique is far better placed to offer its customers a more muted, easy-to-wear take on colour.

Find Clinique's new All About Shadow singles at their website, and at Clinique concessions, where they'll cost £16 each.

Disclosure: PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

YSL Forever Youth Liberator Foundation

YSL have added a new foundation to their already pretty comprehensive lineup... meet Forever Youth Liberator foundation, which uses the Forever Youth Liberator serum as a base for a foundation which treats the skin as well as evening it out.  It also comes in an absolutely gorgeous bottle, looking more like a perfume bottle than a foundation - it's made of heavy glass and feels weighty and expensive in the hand.

The foundation promises creamy coverage, youthful brightness and firmer looking skin, and I found that Forever Youth Liberator glides onto skin thanks to its lovely silky texture.  I was a little cynical that "youthful brightness" would equal dewy, shiny finish, but actually the finish is a very flattering velvety semi matte.  It doesn't look too powdery or too shiny on the skin.

I'm wearing shade B30.  The shade range for Forever Youth Liberator isn't quite as wide as it is for the Touche Eclat foundation, and this is a little darker than the B20 I wear in Touche Eclat - it's not a noticeable difference, though.

One thing that really surprised me about this foundation was it's lasting power, particularly on my combination skin.  I did need some powder to prevent my t-zone from going all shiny, but otherwise Forever Youth Liberator lasts the whole day - I'm still as glowy and radiant at the end of the day as I am at the start.  This is particularly impressive for a foundation which claims a serum base - it could easily be too silky, too hydrating, and just fall off the skin.  Case in point:  I first tried this at an event at House of Fraser, on a 32 degree evening, when the aircon had broken down.  Despite me studiously sweating throughout the application and my journey home, I still had a full face of makeup when I went to cleanse in the evening.

At £34 this is undoubtedly a treat, but if you're looking for something with more of a treatment action than Touche Eclat, but with the same brightening, glowy effect, this could be the one for you.  Find it now at the YSL beauty website, and at YSL counters.

Disclosure: PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Deep Heat Muscle Rescue Bath Soak

Long, long ago, someone told me I had great posture.  Either they were lying, or my career in computing has ruined it.  I can't help slumping now, and as a result, I get aching shoulders, and the middle of my back spends most of its time tense and sore.

I was curious to try Deep Heat's new Muscle Rescue bath soak as a result.  A long hot bath is a favourite of mine, and I liked the prospect of a long hot bath which helps to relax my back and shoulders.  Unfortunately, whilst the Deep Heat Muscle Rescue does help my muscles to relax, I'm not sure it adds much on top of the effects of a long hot bath.  Granted, the essential oils and minerals do help the bath to feel even more warming, but it's not a significant difference.  At £5.69, it's also quite expensive for what is a fairly basic bath foam.

So, if you like a warming hot bath, this might well enhance your experience, but don't expect miracles.  Find it at Boots now.

Disclosure: PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating our copyright.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Smoky Makeup with Tom Ford

I recently went to the Tom Ford counter at Selfridges for a makeover, and liked the results so much, I decided to recreate it step by step here.  There were a couple of things done during the makeover which challenged what I automatically do when applying my makeup - I never apply eyeliner under eyeshadow for a smoky look, for example, nor do I apply sparkly eyeshadows lightly on top of deeper base colours.

This'll be a long one, so click on under the jump to see the steps and the finished look.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Review & Swatches: VIVO Shimmer Blocks

Meet VIVO's latest additon - Shimmer Block Bronzer and Shimmer Block Blusher.  In a format that's only slightly ripping off a more expensive stripy product, these little beauties cost a very, very reasonable £3.99 each.

The packaging is pretty basic - simple plastic case, clear top, no mirror.  I'd far rather that budget brands put their cash into the product rather than the packaging, so it's all good by me.

The Shimmer Block Blush contains five strips of graduating pink colours, with a shimmery finish.

And the Shimmer Block Bronze contains five nude/brown colours - there's actually a hint of pink in there to stop it from being too BROWN.

Swatched, you can see the shimmer and colour payoff.  Pigmentation is pretty good, and the shimmer is pretty damn intense.  You need to be careful to not end up looking a bit disco ball with these.

Applied gently, though, the blush gives you a gentle pop of colour and shimmer which only really appears when the sun hits it full on.  Rather nice for a mere £3.99, I reckon!

Find VIVO Shimmer Block Blusher and Shimmer Block Bronzer at their website, or at Tesco stores, now.

Disclosure: PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Quick Pick: No 7 Blush Tint Stick in Blossom

This petite stick from No 7 promises creamy, buildable colour in a handbag-friendly format.  And I love it!  I've been using it since I picked it up at a recent event, and it does indeed give soft, buildable colour.  I'm not entirely convinced by the creamy claim though, as I find it goes on a little dry, and can pick up a bit of my foundation if it's not warmed up, or my skin is cold from a vigorous facewash.

There's no disputing that it gives a super natural, pretty flush though.  The photo above shows a gentle swipe from the apple of my cheek across my cheekbone, blended in with my fingers.  Quick, easy, and pretty.  I've taken to carrying it around with me so I can top up during the day - my combination skin tends to eat most blush applications by mid-afternoon.

It's also a rather bargain-tastic £9, particularly considering that you use a tiny tiny bit for each application.  Find it at Boots now.

Disclosure: PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating our copyright.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Lip of the Day: YSL Glossy Stain Rebel Nudes in Violine Out Of Control

My first thought when I saw this colour was along the lines of who the hell thinks this colour qualifies as a nude?  The vibrant purple colour I can see in the window is about as far from nude as you can get, and as most of the Glossy Stains I've tried look pretty similar on the lip as they do in the tube, I wondered whether this colour would be a bit too out there for me.

That feeling intensified when I opened it.  It's PURPLE.  Really, really PURPLE.

On the lip, though, it's actually, errr, a soft violet pink.  It turns out that this collection isn't intended to be a set of predictably nude shades, but rather a set of colours which add a soft tint to make it look like the underlying lip is a different shade.  The colour is intended to be see-through, letting the natural texture of the lip show through, adding just a hint of colour and plenty of glossy shine.

I really like it.  The colour is surprisingly wearable, and it's a lip look which is understated and pretty rather than full on.  At £23.50, like the other Rouge Pur Couture shades, it's expensive, but it is a lovely product.  Find it at the YSL website, or at any YSL counter.

Disclosure: PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

New from Bourjois: Erasable Eyeliner

Bourjois are all about the innovation nowadays.  Their latest mascara twists up and down, and their latest eyeliner is erasable.  Yes, you heard that right - ERASABLE.  When I first heard about it, I had very high hopes - I remembered those amazing dual-ended fountain pen ink erasers I used at school, which lifted the ink straight off the page as if by magic.

This isn't quite as magical, but it is still pretty handy.  One end of the hot-pink tube contains a flexible brush and inky black liner, and the other is a slightly rubbery white eraser.

The liner itself is thoroughly decent - it's got a matte finish, it's got great pigmentation, and the brush is the right size for a medium thickness dramatic flick.  It also dries down to a very adhesive finish, and doesn't budge.  Until you rub it gently with the eraser end of the liner.  And then....

It sort of lifts off the skin.  The eraser isn't a true eraser - it's not dispensing a magic liquid which solves the liner and immediately takes it away - but it does help you to selectively remove bits of liner neatly.  If you struggle with doing perfect cat eye flicks like the rest of the world, it's definitely helpful - simply rub over the ends of the flicks, lift them from the skin, and break off near the lashline.  Then try again.

The Erasable liner costs just £7.99, which is reasonable just for a well pigmented, long wearing liner, let alone one you can correct easily.  Definitely, definitely worth the cash if you're fond of liquid liner, and sometimes screw up.  Find it at Boots now.

Disclosure: PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating our copyright.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Sarah is leaving London Beauty Review

Hello everyone,

Today we have a big change to announce - after 4 fantastic years blogging alongside Gemma, I am leaving London Beauty Review and moving to my own solo blog,

Over the last four years I've had some truly unbelievable experiences, and I've been incredibly proud of the readership we've built, the comments we've received and the relationships we've established. Thank you to everyone who has read my posts and taken the time to comment. (You're more than welcome to join me on Warpaint, although I only have one post so far...)

I've also had the chance to get involved in the beauty industry in ways I never thought possible - I've received tips and advice from internationally-revered makeup artists, met iconic personalities and faces-of-the-brand actresses and singers, and attended some unforgettable PR events. We don't tend to focus on events here, preferring to stick to products, but suffice it to say we've been well and truly spoiled!

But all good things must come to an end, and now feels like the right time to start something fresh. I'm looking forward to approaching blogging from a solo perspective, and to seeing how Gemma develops London Beauty Review in her own way too.

Gemma and I will always share a love of beauty, (and cars, and Asian horror films, and dresses) and that's unlikely to change. It's just now we'll have two beauty blogs instead of one.

Lots of love,

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating our copyright.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Quick Pick: Yuko Anti-Frizz Haircare

I'm always a bit suspicious of anti-frizz haircare.  Often, it works by overloading the hair with moisture, or coating it with silicone - weighing the hair down rather than smoothing it out.  So I was pleased to find that this Yuko Anti Frizz haircare is actually both lightweight and gloriously smoothing.

The shampoo, £12.50 for 250ml, is gorgeously scented, bursting with fresh, juicy pear notes which don't smell synthetic at all. Despite being free from SLS, it lathers beautifully, creating a thick, heavy foam which cleanses the hair effectively but doesn't leave it feeling dry or stripped.  The anti-frizz conditioner, £12.50 for 200ml, adds moisture without being too heavy, and whilst it shares the fresh pear scent with the shampoo, it's a subtle scent - and it's completely gone once you rinse.

The star of the show, though, is the leave in conditioner spray, at £15 for 200ml.  It's incredibly light spray, adding a touch of moisture and silkiness which is easy to build up or apply lightly.  Used before blow drying, it really helps achieve a smooth and shiny finish, with less flyaways than I usually have.

Granted, it's not quite weather proof - the humid/drizzly weather of late still causes my hair to puff up, despite using this haircare system.  It's a lovely, lightly hydrating, smoothing set of products though, and one which I'd repurchase just for the pear-scented shampoo and the leave in conditioner spray.

You'll find them at the Yuko website.

Disclosure: PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating our copyright.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

NOTD: Peace & Love & OPI

This rather glorious green-gunmetal-purple duochrome is called Peace & Love & OPI, and it's from OPI's latest collection, themed around San Francisco.  I went to the launch of it a few months ago (print lead times, dahling) and this was the standout colour of the collection - everyone loves a duochrome and this is an absolute corker.  It's a moody, cloudy colour with a really pretty colour shift, and it's perfect for autumn.

Application was good - two coats made it opaque, although I had to add a third just to be rid of a tiny bit of visible nail line.  It dried quickly and smoothly, didn't drag, and remains beautiful even under a thick coat of protective topcoat.  Wear is average at around three or four days before tipwear sets in, but hey, even if it only lasted a day, I'd still wear it.

Find it now at BeautyBay, where it'll cost you a totally-worth-it-for-an-autumnal-treat £11.50.

Disclosure: PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating our copyright.
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