Thursday, 28 February 2013

Quick Pick: Ortigia Zagara Orange Blossom Bath and Shower Gel

I'd not heard of Italian brand Ortigia until I received this rather pretty bottle of bath and shower gel in the post.  Founded in Sicily in 2006 by one of the original founders of Crabtree & Evelyn, the brand is now run out of Florence, using ingredients indigenous to Sicily.  This cheerful orange bath and shower gel makes use of orange blossom, tempered and deepened with a woody, spicy undertone which makes it much more sensuous than your average orange blossom scented product.

At £15, it's undoubtedly an expensive option - the bottle, whilst incredibly stylish, holds a mere 200ml of product.  As it uses a natural glycerin base, it doesn't foam up as excitedly as a product based on SLS, but it's still foamy enough for a bubble bath (albeit without mounds of foam) and effective enough as a shower gel provided you use a puff to help it lather.

If you're interested in a very good looking, lovely smelling treat, you'll find Ortigia's Zagara Orange Blossom Bath and Shower Gel at the Sugarbird Boutique, where it will cost you £15.

Disclosure: PR sample

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Lip of the Day: Burberry Lip Mist in Rosy Red

This rather lovely red is Burberry Lip Mist lipstick in Rosy Red.  I've tried Burberry lipsticks before - typically the more pigmented Lip Velvet (matte) and Lip Cover (creamy opaque colour) types.  This is my first Lip Mist, which is billed as a sheer lipstick.  Much like the "sheer" eyeshadows, this isn't a typically sheer lipstick; it has a fair bit of pigment to it, but it appears soft, juicy and non-scary on the lip.  The swatch above shows a single pass over the lips.

Packaging as usual is gorgeous, with the satisfying magnetic click when you put the lid back on.  The colour itself is glorious - a soft, wearable red which doesn't overwhelm the face and fades to a very gentle rosy flush after a few hours.  It's packed full of moisture, feels plush and comfy on the lips, and eventually fades to nothingness without leaving behind a ring of death.

It's love.  I'm definitely going to check out more Lip Mist shades - I can imagine the soft juicy texture working well with a really deep vampy scarlet.  Yum.

Find it at Harrods, where it will cost you a spendy (but totally worth it if you're a lipstick junkie) £23.

Disclosure: PR sample

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Review: Apivita Propoline Citrus and Honey Shampoo

Apivita's Propoline shampoo range boasts 88% natural ingredients, and is free of parabens, silicones, mineral oils, and all the other slightly frowned upon ingredients.  This one, Citrus and Honey, is bursting with lemon, grapefruit and orange, which make it smell amazing, and apparently help to give great shine too.  The honey is there to add moisture, alongside panthenol and a "bio cotton protection system" (whatever that means).

One thing is does include is Sodium Laureth Sulfate, which is a relatively drying surfectant used to cleanse the hair and provide lather.  Some people find this ingredient too hash for their hair, and I find that using shampoos with it causes my hair colour to fade more quickly.  Given the amount of care Apivita put into the ingredients in their products, I'm not sure why they've not chosen something more kind to hair.  It does decrease the chance of me repurchasing this shampoo.

Anyway, ingredient qualms aside, this shampoo does what it says on the bottle.  Hair is left clean and light, but not stripped of moisture.  Unfortunately the scent doesn't remain on the hair, but it does make for a very pleasant washing experience at least!

You'll find Apivita's Propoline Citrus and Honey Shampoo at M&S, where it costs £13 for 250ml.  Or, you can buy it directly from Apivita's website, where it's cheaper at €10.80.

Disclosure: PR sample

Monday, 25 February 2013

Some current makeup favourites

I've found myself reaching for a few key favourite makeup items more and more recently - I'm finding less and less time to play and experiment in the mornings, turning instead to things I know will give me a flattering look fast.

Clockwise from top centre

NYX Cream Blush in Rose Petal gives a soft, pretty blush which is neutral enough to go with any lip/eye combo whilst still adding a bit of colour to my face.  The cream texture is easy to blend, and lasts ages.

Maybelline The Rocket Volum' Express mascara is waterproof, a deep sooty black, gives me mega lashes, only costs £7.99, and lasts a whole day with ease.  Enough said.

Urban Decay Primer Potion* is an absolute essential, given my oily lids.  Nothing comes close.  This is probably my 20000000th tube (may be a slight exaggeration).

NYX The Curve Eyeliner is ergonomically shaped and thus really easy to apply, even when half asleep.

Sephora Pro Angled Brow Brush has just the right amount of firmness to make filling in my brows a doddle.

Illamasqua Precision Ink in Havoc is a great alternative to black liner, and lasts all day.  Plus the reddish tone really brings out the green in my eyes.

Stila Stay All Day Foundation & Concealer* combines two products in one package, gives a medium buildable coverage, looks natural enough, and lasts all day.

Illamasqua Eyebrow Cake in Stark has enough red in it to be a perfect match to my hair, without looking too red or too brown.

Rouge Bunny Rouge eyeshadow in Bohemian Waxwing is described as a bronzed champagne, but reads a bit more like a brownish taupe on me.  When I bought it, I thought I'd love its order-mate Delicate Hummingbird better, but Bohemian Waxing is the perfect neutral - goes with everything, lovely sparkly finish, and is pigmented enough to be quick to apply.

* Items marked with an asterisk were PR samples

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Quick Pick: Clarins Instant Eye Makeup Remover

The other day, I had so little energy I couldn't be bothered to vigorously massage my face with cleansing oil. To be honest, I barely had enough energy to remove my makeup at all.  But.. I've never slept in my makeup, and I don't intend to start, so I reached for this new Clarins eye makeup remover, hoping it'd be good enough to take my makeup off with as little effort as possible.

And you know what, it did.  It's a bi-phase remover which contains oil but somehow doesn't feel at all oily, and it tackled my many layers of waterproof mascara with aplomb.  A quick shake, squirt on a cotton pad, hold over the eyelid for a few seconds, then wipe away.  No effort at all.  Glorious.

Find Clarins Instant Eye Makeup Remover at Clarins counters and concessions and online, where it costs a spendy but worth it £17 for 125ml.

Disclosure: PR sample

Friday, 22 February 2013

Review & Swatches: NYX Matte Lip Cream in Antwerp, San Paulo and Monte Carlo

I love a matte lip, me.  I also really love NYX products - they're great quality products at a very reasonable price.  When I spotted these tubes of goodness on their site recently, I had to try a few out.

As you might expect, Matte Lip Creams are indeed matte, and come in a cream format.  Texture wise, they're surprisingly plush and silky when applied to lips, and they stay soft enough to ensure an even, smooth application before setting down.

The doe's foot applicator helps to apply the product with the necessary preciseness - because it dries down matte, you can't get away with a wobbly line, and it looks best on the lip with a sharp defined edge rather than a soft diffused edge.

On to the swatches.


Monte Carlo

San Paulo

The pigmentation is fabulous - a single light coating over the lips gives plenty of colour.  Once set, they can be quite dry looking - I definitely need to make sure that the lips are moisturised before application when I wear these.  Longevity is pretty good, coming in at a few hours before they become too dry on the lip to bear.

I'm kind of half-and-half on these - I like the initial silky texture, I like the opacity, and I love the colours - San Paulo is the most flattering mid pink I've ever owned and manages to bring out the green in my eyes whilst complementing my hair perfectly.  I don't really like the eventual dryness, though - I like my lips moist and lush, and I like to maintain them infrequently.  Price wise, they're pretty hard to beat at a mere £5 each.

Find them at the NYX website, but be aware that the swatches are a bit off - worth a bit of Googling before you buy.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

EOTD: Mulberry and Gold

This EOTD is neutral and work friendly, giving a polished and pretty look which goes well with a strong lip, if that's your thing (it's definitely mine!).

Illamasqua Eyebrow Cake in Stark

Burberry Sheer Eyeshadow in Mulberry* (crease) and Gold Pearl* (lid)

Illamasqua Precision Ink in Havoc

Maybelline The Rocket Volum' Express

Every time I use a Burberry Sheer eyeshadow I find myself pondering what they actually mean by "sheer".  They're not so high pigment they're unblendable, nor are they so sheer you have to work to build them up.  Either way, they're very pretty; easily blendable, with a lovely soft sparkle.

Oh, and if Illamasqua ever discontinue Havoc, I'll cry.  Literally.  Unless I can buy about 3592 backups.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Benefit High Beam + Concealer Trick

At a recent Benefit event, I was introduced to a concealer technique I've been making use of ever since.  The Benefit artist demonstrated that mixing a tiny bit of High Beam highlighter with a dab of eye cream and a smudge of concealer erases under eye circles far better than concealer alone.  She used Benefit's cult Erase Paste concealer, but I've been using the concealer in the top of my Stila Stay All Day foundation+concealer which works just as well.

My left eye has been given the High Beam treatment, and I think it's a lot brighter than my right eye.  The blueish tone right in the corner by my nose is toned down, too.  What do you think?

Disclosure: All three products above were PR samples

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Review: Maybelline The Rocket Volum' Express Waterproof Mascara

Before I start telling you how much I like this mascara, allow me a short rant at it's name.  I'm not really sure what makes it "The Rocket", for a start, and I've always thought that Volum' Express is a bit stupid - Volume Express, fine, but why make it grammatically incorrect by removing the e and adding an apostrophe?

Anyway, naming rants over, I bought this mascara as I was in need of something capable of giving tons of volume and also being waterproof (the odd bit of tearfulness is attacking a little too regularly at the moment). The Rocket is the latest installment in Maybelline's long running Volum' Express range, and is being promoted rather heavily at the moment, so I picked it up at Boots with £2 off its already reasonable £7.99 pricetag.

The brush is one of the oh-so-trendy rubbery, stiff brisled kind, and the shape is unusual in that it's a fairly straight forward lozenge shape.  The mascara itself has a pretty thick formula, and I've found that those definition-giving bristles are definitely needed to avoid clumps.

With a bit of effort, though, this mascara gives pretty spectacular results.

I'm sure you don't need to be told which eye has mascara on it.  Stupid light stubby lashes.
The photo above shows two coats, each carefully worked through the lashes with plenty of wiggling from root to tip.  It's impressive stuff - my short, light lashes are elongated, plumped up, and absolutely coal black.  This stuff really doesn't budge - no smudging, no transfer, and only the tiniest amount of flaking at the end of a very long day.

I've always been an advocate of spending money on high end mascara, having rarely found high street ones which really deliver.  Consider my opinions changed.  This is a damn good mascara, and one which I'll definitely be repurchasing.

Find Maybelline's The Rocket mascara at Boots now, where it's still £2 off the £7.99 pricetag, making it a very decent £5.99.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Quick Pick: B Pure Micellar Water

Micellar water seems set to be this year's hot product, with brands from high end to high street launching their own versions.  Having tried and liked Melvita's version a while ago, I was interested to hear that new Superdrug brand on the block, B, have their own version costing a bargain-tastic £4.99.

Having now got my hands on a bottle, I can confirm it's every bit as good at lifting dirt and makeup as its more expensive, more organic counterpart.  It does struggle a little with waterproof mascara, but so does the Melvita version, and a couple of passes eventually removes every last trace of mascara.

After use, skin is left feeling fresh and clean - amazing given how light the water feels.  If I had to be picky, I'd say that the B micellar water is a little less hydrating than the Melvita, and that the packaging is a little difficult to operate - the plastic is a little too inflexible and it's quite hard work to squeeze it to dispense the product.  For the tiny price tag, though, these are small niggles.

Find B Pure Micellar Water at Superdrug now, where it'll cost you £4.99 for 150ml.

Disclosure: PR sample

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Model's Own Ice Neon Collection

Model's Own's latest collection is Ice Neon - super bright neon colours in special bottles designed to be kept in the fridge.  According to the brand, neon polishes lose their insane brightness over time, and the key to keeping them nice and neon is keeping them cool.

They certainly look bright enough in the bottle - but what do you think?  Do you notice your neon polishes losing their brightness?  And would you be prepared to fill your fridge with nail polish?

Friday, 15 February 2013

NOTD: Illamasqua Fragile

This rather pretty polish is Illamasqua's Fragile.  It's intended to look speckled like an egg (and many of the promo images do indeed feature eggs), combining a jelly like base colour with matte glitter particles in a number of sizes.  It's like a more muted version of a Deborah Lippmann glitter polish - glitter showing through multiple layers of polish for a manicure with plenty of depth and variation.

Unlike some of the more interesting instant nail art polishes I've tried recently, I'm finding myself really liking the speckled effect.  Probably because it doesn't have a particularly unusual texture.  Unusual textures often lead to annoying things like catching on tights, feeling weird when you tap your nails on your cheek when thinking (does anyone else do that?) and causing your other half to raise his eyebrow in a fairly cynical manner.

Anyway.  Application was pretty damn good for something so chock full of particles.  The polish glides onto the nail smoothly, and there's no need to poke the particles into place - they distribute themselves evenly with no effort at all.  This is three coats - the first two were a little patchy on the pale blue base colour, but the third coat evened everything out.

Removal is unsurprisingly awful.  It might not be sparkly glitter, but it's still a mixture of chunky bits - it's easiest to soak this polish off rather than scrub the nail.

Illamasqua's speckled polishes are also available in green, pink, beige and purple varieties and I rather think I need the purple one in my life.  Find them at Illamasqua counters and stores, and online, where each polish will cost you £14.50.

Disclosure: PR sample

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Review: Aveda Rosemary Mint Shampoo & Conditioner

I recently bought this Aveda shampoo and conditioner duo in an effort to reduce the amount I have to wash my hair; at the moment, I wash it every two to three days (with lots of Batiste in the last day).  Given that it's been falling out at an alarming rate, I want to avoid causing lots of shedding by washing it frequently.

Anyway, back to the products: I was recommended these by a lovely Aveda sales assistant at Peter Jones in Sloane Square.  The Rosemary Mint range is one of Aveda's long running, classic scents, and it's so popular that you can also get it in a hand & body wash or body lotion.  The mint aspect of the fragrance is very fresh, and is very powerful and refreshing when lathering the shampoo up in the hair.  The rosemary isn't particularly strong, but does temper the mint down so it's not smacking you in the face every time you use it.

The shampoo lathers easily despite the absence of SLS, although you do need a little more than you do with a "regular" shampoo.  I wouldn't say that it's harsh, but it does give a very deep clean, and if your hair is dry at the roots this definitely isn't a good fit for you.  For those with fine/normal/slightly oily hair, it's pretty damn good - the hair feels cleansed, light, and soft.  The conditioner and I don't really get along, unfortunately - like the shampoo, it's light and refreshing, and just isn't moisturising enough for my dry mid lengths and ends.

I'll definitely be buying the shampoo again.  It's seriously refreshing and it does keep my hair light and clean for longer.  The conditioner will be handed off to my husband, whose fine, flyaway hair needs minimal conditioning.

You'll find Rosemary Mint shampoo and conditioner at the Aveda website, where this 250ml bottle of shampoo costs £12, and the 250ml bottle of conditioner costs £13.50.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Valentine's Day Red Lips

So, it's Valentine's Day tomorrow.  This means that flowers are suddenly worth three times what they were before, restaurants are all booked up, and the entire world seems to be adorned with red hearts.  Not that I'm cynical or anything.

In keeping with the theme, I thought I'd highlight a few of my favourite red lipsticks.

Bourjois Rouge Edition in Rouge Podium.  Combining a lovely buttery texture with long wear and great pigmentation, I'm hugely impressed with Bourjois' latest lipstick line, and at £7.99 they won't break the bank.  This particular red is a more subtle, less shouty shade - it's red, but it isn't too in your face.

Rockalily Lipstick in Sailors Beware.  Intensely, richly red; incredible grippy wear with even fading, this lipstick is as close to my perfect red I've ever found, at a very reasonable £13.50.  Shame ReeRee Rockette changed her focus to running a hair salon instead of producing lipstick, but these do crop up sometimes on her site...

YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain in Rouge Philtre.  Needs reapplying every three hours or so if you want to maintain that glossy sheen, this Glossy Stain eventually wears down to a more subtle flush on the lips.  Relatively comfortable, requires careful application, but oh so luxe at £22.50.

Urban Decay Super Saturated High Gloss Lip Color in F Bomb.  Incredible shine from such a high pigment lip colour, this combines the best of gloss and lipstick AND it sticks lasts surprisingly well for something with such a shiny finish.  Oh, and it's called F Bomb.  £14.

Dita von Teese for Art Deco in Maitresse.  A lovely rich ruby red with a comfortable formula which lasts and lasts, with a slight sheen to the finish.  It's a little expensive at £17.50.

What's your favourite red lipstick?

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Swatches: Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint for Eyes

I'm pretty sure Clinique didn't know what they were about to do when they launched Chubby Sticks in April 2011 (where does the time go?).  Since then, they've expanded the original lip lineup to a massive 16 shades, added an Intense line which give more pigmentation, and now they've released the latest installment: Chubby Stick Shadow Tint for Eyes.

The packaging is unsurprisingly the same, with the shadow sticks twisting up from the bottom.  Unlike the lip shades, the stick doesn't have a tapered end, which makes it easier to quickly apply colour to the entire lid, but isn't quite as convenient to apply under the eyes. 

The new collection includes twelve shades, running from neutrals to deeper, more smoky colours.  There are no ultra-brights included; Mighty Moss, a shimmering moss green, and Big Blue, a mid-blue, are the strongest colours, and both are more muted than bright.  

Left to right: Pink & Plenty, Lavish Lilac, Lots o'Latte, Portly Plum, Ample Amber, Curvaceous Coal
Many of the colours have a fine shimmer running through them.  Some, like Ample Amber above, are more metallic in their finish.  In general though, they're subtly sparkly, and blend out to provide a soft wash of colour with gentle shimmer.  The texture is creamy and blendable, but sets down within a minute or so, giving plenty of time to blend and then being crease resistant.  My super oily lids mean I'll have to wear these with primer to avoid creasing, but that's not unusual for me.

Overall, Chubby Stick Shadow Tint for Eyes provides a lovely soft eye look, from subtle neutrals to smudgy smoke, in a portable and very usable stick format.  I can see these becoming just as popular as their lip counterparts.  Find them now at Clinique counters and online at the Clinique website, where each shade costs £16.

Disclosure: PR samples

Monday, 11 February 2013

Review: Pur Minerals 4 in 1 Pressed Mineral Makeup

I gave up on mineral makeup a long time ago, mostly because of the mess and fuss associated with trying to get a loose powder buffed into my face and not spilled down the front of my black dress.  So I was quite pleased when I was sent this Pur mineral compact, which gives you all the benefits of a loose mineral makeup but in a portable pressed compact.

Firstly, a word on the packaging.  The compact itself is functional yet pretty with its embossed Pur logo and flower-dot design.  It's made of weighty plastic, and the compact itself is quite thick, giving the powder within a fair bit of solid plastic between it and the contents of your handbag (or foundation drawer).

It also boasts a decent sized mirror.  The brush pictured above is the Pur Minerals Chisel brush, which has a flat top and reasonably firm natural bristles.  Application is the usual mineral drill: swirl to pick up powder, buff into face using circular movements.  Repeat for more coverage.  

The Porcelain shade matches my skin perfectly, being a pale creamy colour which leans neither too cool nor too warm.  The single layer I applied blended easily into my skin, and left a reasonably matte natural finish which just seems to bounce light around in a very flattering way.  I have found that if my skin isn't well moisturised before applying the foundation, I can end up with powdery looking dry patches, and that my frown lines are accentuated.  This is easily solved by moisturising well five minutes before application, or using a silicone primer to help the powder glide over the skin.

Overall, I'm quite impressed with Pur Minerals Pressed Mineral Makeup.  The finish is good (if you like matte), coverage is buildable, and it contains physical sun protection of SPF15.  At £24 for 8g, it is quite an expensive option, but if you're looking for portable minerals with a great finish, it's a price worth paying - and it's worth noting that it's a little cheaper than the equivalent Bare Minerals loose makeup (which is £25 for 8g).  At £13, the brush is reasonable value, but if you've got a kabuki or flat top brush in your collection already, it's by no means essential.

Find Pur Minerals 4 in 1 Pressed Mineral Makeup at Marks and Spencer now.

Disclosure: PR sample

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Speckle nails drugstore dupe: Accessorize Leopard Moth

A friend recently emailed me to ask if I knew of any dupes for Illamasqua's new speckled nail polishes, newly released with their I'mperfection collection. She loved the Cadbury's Mini Egg effect of the black speckles in the pastel creme base, but didn't have £15 to spend on a nail polish (or £60 to spend on the four shades she liked.)

I've been off the blogging radar for a few months, but this request pricked up my ears, as I'd noticed the Illamasqua speckled trend myself and really liked it. I told her we'd probably have to wait for the trend to filter down through to the drugstore end of the market, and the best bet in the meantime was probably DIY with a pastel  polish and some matte glitter.

But to my surprise, I found an alternative solution in a branch of Superdrug... Accessorize Leopard Moth, costing a very reasonable £3.45 for 10ml. It's one of a handful of speckled polishes released by this brand in October last year - so not only has the drugstore kept up, it was actually ahead of the curve on this trend. (Nails Inc's speckly sprinkle polishes were even earlier, in summer 2012, but still impressive.)

Leopard Moth is a white creme with black speckle particles - they're matte, not glittery. The polish is thick enough to give a lovely embedded effect when layered up. You can see the speckles from the deeper coats of polish just showing up through the white. There are plenty of particles too.

Unlike Illamasqua's speckles, which have large and small black particles, there's only one size in this polish, the small size typical of glitter polishes.

I think the finished effect looks slightly blueish. It reminds me of willow pattern china.

This is 3 coats, and photos were taken on the third day of wear, topped with a layer of Mavala Mavadry topcoat. I'm very impressed with the wear given the price.

You can find these polishes at certain branches of Superdrug, although we tend to find that stock levels are patchy and not every store has this brand. Leopard Moth is also available via Superdrug's website

Friday, 8 February 2013

Review: Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask

I'm a big fan of Clinique's Moisture Surge products.  They manage to pack a huge amount of hydrating power, and are always my first port of call for dealing with sunburned or otherwise parched skin.  The latest product in the lineup is Moisture Surge Overnight Mask, which has the familiar gel-cream texture, and aims to provide a dewy glow in the morning by hydrating the skin overnight.

I've tried it a few times now, and it definitely does what it says on the tin - applied after cleansing at night, it absorbs quickly and leaves the skin feeling plumped up and hydrated come the morning.  But I'm not really sure what makes this product a mask - the instructions say to massage it in until it's fully absorbed, and there's no film or residue to wash off in the morning.  So it's really more of an intensive hydrating cream, not a mask.  And whilst it's perfectly nice, I'm not sure it really does a lot more than the Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief cream I already own and love.

If you prefer a squeezy tube format, or don't already own one of the Moisture Surge gel-creams, you'll enjoy the hydration that this product brings to your skin.  If you already have a Moisture Surge product, though, I doubt you'll find a lot of difference in this one.

Find it at Clinique counters and concessions, and online at the Clinique website, where it'll cost you £28.

Disclosure: PR sample

Thursday, 7 February 2013

NOTD: Model's Own Southern Lights (Wonderland Collection)

I've not seen a lot of buzz about Model's Own's latest Wonderland collection, perhaps because the world is still so excited about the heavy glitter of the Mirrorball collection, and still loving the duochrome shades of Beetlejuice.  Wonderland is just a pretty, though - only a little more subtle.  It's made of wintery pale shades with hefty doses of ethereal glitter and holographic sparkle.  Southern Lights is one of the two holographic shades in the collection - I've also bought Northern Lights, it's pink counterpart, so expect swatches of that soon.

Southern Lights is a gorgeous light lilac/silver shade with a hell of a lot of holographic sparkle.  It catches the light beautifully, and in direct light (natural or artificial), it fizzes with multi-coloured sparks.  It's very eye-catching, and satisfies my need for twinkly nails perfectly.

Unfortunately, application was a bit gloopy, and I had to work carefully and quickly to make sure my nails were evenly coated with polish.  Two fairly thick coats give great opacity, although due to the thickness of the polish I did notice pooling and often ended up painting bits of my cuticles too.  I'm curious to see how it looks over another base colour, as well as layered up on its own.

Find it at Model's Own stockists, or on the Model's Own website, where it'll cost you a very reasonable £5. I bought it at the Bottle Shop at Westfield, as part of a highly bargain-tastic 6 polishes for £20 deal.  As if I needed any more polish...

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Review & Swatches: Benefit Fine One One

Meet Benefit's latest beauty fake-it - Fine One One provides a sheer pop of colour for lips and cheeks in a cream to powder format which is eminently portable.

Encased in a metallic pink-coral case (which collects fingerprints like I collect lipstick), it bears a stylised badge (fine-one-one - nine-one-one = American emergency services number) and a dial to allow you to twist up the product as you use it.

The product block contains three shades in one stick - a shimmering pale pink highlight shade, rose pink blush shade, and orangey coral contour.  The colours look pretty bright in the casing (and in the case of the orange, terrifyingly tan-tastic), but are much sheerer when swatched.

The concept is that you glide the stick from the apple of the cheek, up the cheekbone, and then blend, which gives you a soft flush, perfectly placed highlighter, and a little bit of contour thanks to the orange shade.  Obviously to do this, you put the pale pink highlighter at the top, and the orange at the bottom.  I can only imagine how weird it'd look if it was done the other way around.

The effect is a pretty, subtle flush, which has more dimension to it than just a quick sweep of one shade.  The orange blends out into something not at all orange, and the highlight shade is just enough to add a soft gleam, and isn't at all sparkly.  At the launch event, I saw this product tried out on many skintones from pale to deep, and it suited everyone - it goes on sheer, but can be built up to get the perfect level of glow.  The texture is completely non-greasy, and as you blend out the cream it turns into a silky powder finish.  There's no shine or oily finish left on the skin; it looks just like a soft powder finish.  

I've yet to try Fine One One out on my lips, mostly because it's so sheer I don't think I'll particularly like it (being a wearer of strong lips at pretty much all times), but I can see it becoming a favourite in my blush collection - mostly due to the quick, easy application, the soft finish, and the dimension I can get with just one stick.  If you're a fan of a sculpted cheek, this is well worth checking out!

Find it at Benefit counters and stores, and online at the Benefit website, where it'll cost you £23.50.

Disclosure: PR sample

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Quick Pick: Radox Fresh & Fruity Shower Gels

Radox's new range of shower gels, Fresh & Fruity, are absolutely lovely.  I confess to sometimes being a bit of a shower gel snob, but these budget beauties are truly excellent - they foam up well, leave the skin feeling soft and clean without over cleansing, and they're only £1.99 each.  Add to that some glorious scents - Coconut Kiss, Berry Burst, and Cherry Blast, all of which smell of the natural fruit with a sweet edge, without the synthetic notes fruit fragrances can sometimes suffer from.

They've become popular with me, my husband, and my stepkids thanks to their no-nonsense cleansing properties and their refreshing scents.  I'll definitely be buying more when they run out.

You'll find Coconut Kiss, Cherry Blast, and Berry Burst at Boots now, where they're currently on offer for just 99p instead of the usual £1.99.

Disclosure: PR samples

Monday, 4 February 2013

Review: Clarins Rouge Eclat Age Defying Lipstick

Rouge Eclat is the latest lipstick to be added to Clarins' already pretty comprehensive lineup, and it claims to be the first "age defying" lipstick from Clarins.  Apparently the age-defying moniker comes from the inclusion of "Nutri-Youth Complex" which protects lips from dehydration and boosts collagen.  I don't know about you, but I wear lipstick for colour, not for any skincare benefit, and I also swap lipstick so often I doubt I could get any anti-aging benefit from these; you have to wear them regularly to get the full effect.

Anyway, anti-aging claims aside, these lipsticks are your typical Clarins production - luxe, shiny golden packaging, lovely texture, and a great array of shades from subtle to POW.  The gold and plastic casing feels reasonably heavy in the hand, and catches the light prettily - there's no doubt that these are a luxurious bit of kit.

Juicy Clementine, Passion Red, Nude Rose, Pink Berry
I particularly like that the bullet has a flat top which fills the casing perfectly.  The shape of the bullet isn't the most convenient to apply colour to the lips, but it does look very pretty in the tube.

The texture is lovely - as you might expect, the lipsticks are buttery soft and hydrating, adding moisture and a soft sheen to your pout.  Unlike some hydrating lipsticks, they're not at all slippy, but rather a little more waxy once set, which definitely makes me feel like the colour is going to cling onto my lips.  And cling it does - last week I wore Pink Berry and Nude Rose rather a lot, and I only reapplied once the whole day.  I got around six hours of wear from each application, and whilst the colours did fade, they did so evenly.  They also remained pretty comfortable right the way through the wear time, which is no mean feat.

Juicy Clementine

Passion Red

Nude Rose

Pink Berry
Of the shades above, Pink Berry and Passion Red are my favourites, although I have found myself wearing Nude Rose rather a lot, as it's almost exactly the same colour as my lips (minus the blue outline) and goes with a heavier eye look.  Pink Berry isn't really too berry - it reads more like a soft reddish pink on me, and whilst it's quite a strong colour, it doesn't overwhelm my face.

Overall I'm very impressed with these.  They provide great colour, great wear, great texture - and I'm sure that the hydration they bring to the lips makes my mouth look fuller and more lush.  If I'd not been feeling a similar love for the much cheaper Bourjois Rouge Edition lipsticks I've recently discovered, I'd declare these my new favourite lipsticks.  As it is, though, they definitely come joint top of my favourite lip products of this year.

Find them at Clarins counters and concessions, and online at Clarins' website, where they'll cost you £18.50 each.

Disclosure: PR sample
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