Tuesday, 30 April 2013

NOTD: Revlon "Moon Dust" Moon Candy nail polish

Revlon's got flakies. Yes indeed. The new Moon Candy polishes are double-ended kits (a la Andrea Fulerton), each with an opaque base colour and a clear top-coat filled with iridescent flakes.

I've seen several Revlon Nails displays around London in the last week with the slots for Moon Candy polishes ransacked and empty, but finally I struck lucky on Oxford Street and bagged this one - Moon Dust. It's got a thick and pigmented patent black base coat, and flakes of a gold-green-blue duochrome hue.

The finish is bumpy, bordering on scratchy in places. The flakes aren't the soft, flexible leaf used in some polishes, and are more like the spiky shards found in Models Own's Mirrorball polishes. Be aware when applying that they will stick occasional sharp edges up through the finished manicure even with topcoat. But it's easily fixed with judicious use of tweezers once the polish is on.

The compliments are strong with this one, mostly from cashiers whose notice is caught during the exchange of coins. I also mesmerised a baby with the shinies in the queue at Ikea.

For £7.99, these are a fun treat and I'm going to be picking up more shades as and when I see them - not least because I think the flakey top coats could be used with lots of other colours as bases.

Wear has been somewhat "eh", with some serious tipwear after a couple of days and some cracking around the points where my nails flex, but I like the effect enough not to mind at all.

If you fancy trying them, they're in bigger branches of Boots, found on the Revlon Nails stands.

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

Monday, 29 April 2013

Quick Pick: Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Eye Cream

According to the timestamp on this photo, I've been using Clinique's Repairwear Laser Focus eye cream since February - I'm now halfway into the pot and I really, really like it.  It's a velvety cream which is surprisingly quickly absorbed for something so rich.  I was expecting to use it only in the evening, but it sinks in so quickly I use it in the morning too.  

I don't think it's had an effect on my dark circles, but it's definitely improved the firmness of my eye area.  Those little diagonal lines (which are just starting to become noticeable for me) are also softened and smoothed, to the extent that I really wish I'd taken before photos for comparisons sake.  

At £28, it is an expensive eye cream - but it combines actual results with an easy to use format.  Plus, I've been using it for three months already and I'm only halfway through the pot, so it does last well.  I'll definitely repurchase.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Interview FOTD and an explanation

Recently I've not really posted as much as I used to.  I explained a while back that I was finding it difficult to fit everything in - between work life, social life, family life, blog life, there wasn't a lot of time left.

Shortly after I wrote that post, things at work took a turn for the worst and the office I've come to regard as a second home is closing down.  The colleagues I've come to regard as a second family are all dispersing, and I've had to get over my emotional reaction and start looking for a new job.

The past couple of weeks have been spent travelling between interviews, in interviews, and waiting in coffee shops for interviews to begin.  It's paid off though - I now have a few offers to consider, all of which look like an interesting next step.

Anyway, hopefully the coming few weeks will see a more regular posting schedule.  The photo above is my trusty interview FOTD - subtle but still made up, and with a mid-pink lipstick instead of my usual red.  Red can wait for my first day.

Stila Stay All Day Foundation in Fair* (because it lasts ages with grace)
Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Dollface (because it also lasts ages)

Illamasqua Eyebrow Cake in Stark
Urban Decay Primer Potion
Rouge Bunny Rouge eyeshadow in Bohemian Waxwing

Clinique Quickliner Intense in Intense Charcoal*
Benefit They're Real Mascara*

Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited Lipstick in BG 955

* items marked with an asterisk are PR samples

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

Friday, 26 April 2013

Treatment Review: Celgenics Facial with Marian Bourne

A few weeks ago I trundled down to a quiet suburban street in Wimbledon for a Celgenics facial with the founder of the brand, Marian Bourne.  I'll admit I was enticed into sampling the facial by the lure of a Beauty Bible recommendation - the Celgenics Eye Essential was rated very highly by the Anti-Ageing Beauty Bible for having a noticeable effect on the eye area.  I'd assumed that the range was a high science, high tech affair with lots of research and complicated ingredients.

I was completely wrong.  My initial consultation with Marian shattered any such scientific illusions - Marian is a nutritionist, kinesiologist and cranio sacral practitioner and her work falls firmly into the "alternative therapy" bucket.  Given that I'm an engineer by day and remain deeply sceptical of anything claiming to harness non-specific "energy", I started to wonder whether the Celgenics facial would be a good fit for me and my cynical skin.

As it turns out, it absolutely was.  The treatment is a good hour and a half long and surprisingly makes use of few of the Celgenics skincare products (meaning that the upsell is pretty much non-existent: very refreshing).  Instead, it focuses heavily on facial massage.  Marian's strong fingers pinched and rolled my skin centimetre by centimetre, concentrating on the contours of the face and expression lines.  Marian also used a "cold laser" to beam light into the skin.

Despite my cynicism, my skin looked incredible in the days after the facial - I wore barely any foundation and found that my jawline was more strongly defined, and my frown and smile lines were significantly softened.  I suspect that the hour-long facial massage played a major part in the effect.

All in all, I was impressed by the results I saw from my facial, and I'd definitely consider returning in the run up to a special occasion.  You can find out more by calling Marian on 020 8542 7907 or visiting the Celgenics website.

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

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Review & Swatches: Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Suede Lipsticks

Hello, pretty lipsticks.  Revlon's latest lipstick launch is part of the ColorStay range - Ultimate Suede lipstick is supposed to give a long lasting, almost powdery matte finish.  They sort of remind me of some super old Revlon compacts I played with when I was much, much younger - there was a clear balm stuff you put on your lips, and a powder colour you patted on top, for a similar powdery finish.  Anyone else remember them?

Anyway, these lipsticks are much more modern - encased in slim tubes with a flat application surface, they don't scream luxe, but at a mere £9 each, I'd rather the packaging was cheap and all the money went into the product.  They have clear lids and colour coded barrels, meaning that if you have multiple shades in your handbag, finding the right one is a doddle.  Unlike some other brands.  I'm looking at YOU, Clarins Rouge Eclat.

Another thing I love about the packaging is that the first two turns of the barrel twists up the lipstick in two clicky stages.  After that, the lipstick twists up normally.  It's like click click slide.  Very satisfying.

On to the swatches.

Socialite, freshly applied.  There's a slight sheen here.

Socialite, after it's dried down to a suede-y matte finish.  Of the four shades here, this is one of my favourites - it's a lovely neutral pink which runs quite cool.

Womenswear, a stronger pink which appears less matte and powdery as it's actually rather frosty.

Finale, a cool toned ruby red.  Again, not particularly matte, even though this is five minutes or so after application.

Finally, Backstage, a deliciously purplish berry.  It has a tiny bit of silver sparkle, but does appear quite matte on the lips.

So, lovely colours, lovely packaging, equally lovely £9 price point.  What's the catch?  Unfortunately, these lipsticks feel slightly drying on the lips after a couple of hours if the lips aren't in tip top condition - and if you don't keep your lips far away from each other while the lipstick is setting down into its matte finish, it's easy to end up with sticky, tacky lips.

With a bit of effort, these ColorStay Ultimate Suede Lipsticks are perfectly nice.  I have more expensive matte lipsticks which feel and wear better, without stickiness, but they are indeed more expensive.  So if you're looking for a cheap but high maintenance matte lip, these are worth a try.

Find them at Boots now.

Disclosure: PR samples

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

Sunday, 21 April 2013

NOTD: Clinique A Different Nail Enamel in Fizzy

Clinique have released a new addition to their colour line:  A Different Nail Enamel for Sensitive Skins.  Apparently, some people have such sensitive skin that the chemicals in nail polish can aggravate the skin, making existing skin conditions worse.  Clinique have formulated their polish with these people in mind.

This shade, Fizzy, isn't the sort of colour I'd ever really buy for myself - I'm too easily distracted by OOH GLITTER or other brighter, shinier colours.  But having applied it and worn it for almost a week, I really really like it - it's grown up and sophisticated without being boring, and the gentle golden shimmer warms up the soft pink beautifully.  It also looks great with a pink sparkly accent nail.

Application is great - the polish is medium thickness and super smooth.  I needed three coats of this light colour to make sure any visible nail line was eliminated.  Wear time was great, notching up a good four days before chips started appearing.

Clinique's new nail varnishes are launching in May, and will cost you £12 a bottle.  There are 12 shades in the permanent range, and 9 limited edition summer shades.

Disclosure: PR samples

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

Friday, 19 April 2013

Lars Wallin at The Makeup Store

This will be a picture-based post, mainly because I know next to nothing about this makeup that I found in The Makeup Store in Covent Garden this week. Some googling reveals that Lars Wallin is a Swedish designer, and the makeup is called Make It Your Own.

I quizzed the SA in the store but she couldn't tell me much. I can tell you that there are eyeshadows, blushes and lipsticks, all costing £9.50 each and presented in the same format - a mirrored compact within a little snap-closure Paisley print purse housed in a brown cardboard box. Here's a sly smartphone snap of the store display.

The presentation is absolutely wonderful, and there's lovely attention to detail, from the tactile embossed lid of the compact to the stitching on the inside of the purse. It feels much more premium than the £9.50 price tag might suggest.

I chose a lipstick, Cassandra, which is a darkish cool pink. It's pretty... lipsticky. I mean, it's nice, but the formula is not really the point with this brand, I feel.

Have you tried Lars Wallin makeup? Can you fill us in any more on the brand?

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Clinique CC Cream in Very Light

This is Clinique's newest base product - CC cream.  Now the whole world and his civil partner has released a BB cream, we're up a letter and moving from Beauty/Blemish Balms to Correcting Creams.  CC creams are supposed to have the same skincare benefits and SPF as BB creams, but provide colour correcting, skintone evening effects rather than behaving like a foundation.

This Clinique version is sold under the Moisture Surge range - placing it with skincare as opposed to with Clinique's colour collection.  It's billed as a hydrating product, and whilst my skin doesn't feel dry after a day of wearing it, I can't really say I notice that it's particularly hydrating - in fact, it goes onto the skin much the same as Clinique's BB cream, with a pretty dry texture which needs moisturiser underneath it.  You'd expect that a CC cream would simply correct any redness, hyperpigmentation, etc instead of actually acting as an all in one base product - and yet, Clinique's CC cream evens the skintone and adds a light veil of colour.

Excuse the squinting, it was bright outside!
It does give a bright, glowy effect on the skin, though.  I suspect I could have done with a bit more moisturiser on before I applied the CC cream I'm wearing in this photo, but the overall effect is pretty natural, radiant, and perfectly matching to my winter-pale skin.  It's a light to medium finish - if your skin is a little uneven but not overly blemish-y it should give you enough coverage to look even and smooth.

At £28 a tube, it's quite an expensive base product - particularly given the light levels of coverage and the slightly dry texture which makes for a somewhat difficult application.  That said, it does even the skintone and it does add brightness - bit of a mixed bag, then!

Disclosure: PR sample

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Sneak Peek: OPI AW2013 Collection: San Francisco

Yesterday I got the chance to get a sneaky peek at OPI's AW2013 collection.  Themed around San Francisco, there are some predictably autumnal reds and purples, deep blues, three new Liquid Sand shades, and a very, very interesting duochrome.    

This post will be super photo heavy, so click to see more after the first two shades from the 15 strong collection...

Lost on Lombard is an pinkish, raspberry red cream shade.  Embarca-Dare Ya! has a similar raspberry red tone to it, but with lots of silvery glitter.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Quick Pick: Darphin Rose Aromatic Care

At the moment, I'm using three oils regularly at night - Liz Earle's Superskin Concentrate when my skin is feeling dry and in need of lots of hydration, Spa Fabulous' Purifying Serum when my skin is breaking out, and this Darphin Rose Aromatic Care when my skin is behaving itself.  Described as providing "essential care for normal skin", it provides the nourishment and glowy complexion you get from using an oil at night, leaving no residue on the skin whatsoever.

The texture, whilst definitely an oil, is light and relatively easy to spread on the skin.  You might expect that it smells strongly of rose, given that it makes use of rose oil, but in fact it has a fairly neutral smell - certainly compared to the other oils I use on a regular basis.

When I wake up after using this oil, my skin is soft and supple, feels well balanced, and doesn't need a big cleanse before it's ready for makeup.  If your skin is generally normal, and you want an oil which is neither overly rich nor overly astringent, this one strikes a perfect balance.

I do wish that it came with a pump dispenser or something to regulate the flow of oil, though - the top of the little bottle is completely open.

It'll cost you £42 - expensive indeed, but a few drops go a long way on a cleansed face, and the little bottle should last you a fair while.  Find it here.

Disclosure: PR sample

Monday, 15 April 2013

Swatches: Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors

These pretty little candy coloured tubes are new shades of Clarins' Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector.  They may have a long name, but they're quite simple, really - they're moisturising balms which add a soft wash of glossy, milky colours to the lips.

Left to right: Rosewood Shimmer, Candy Shimmer, Petal Shimmer
 The soft squeezy tubes dispense the balm through a sponge tip applicator.  This packaging works well with the sheer colours to make for a product which is easy to use on the go - no need for a mirror, you can apply them directly from the tube to the lips.

If you like your lip products unscented, these probably aren't for you - they have a fairly strong, sweetish fragrance.  It doesn't hang around once applied, luckily.

And now for some swatches.

Rosewood Shimmer

Candy Shimmer

Petal Shimmer
I'm slightly perplexed by the use of "shimmer" in the shade names, as they're actually not shimmery at all.  All three are milky, with Candy Shimmer being the strongest in colour, and even then it's pretty soft.

As you might expect, they're not the longest lasting lip look in the world; the balm is absorbed within an hour or so and the colour disappears with it.

Overall, these are lovely if you like a natural lip - they're all particularly great paired with heavier eye makeup, and are much, much less maintenance than my usual high pigment lipstick.  Perfect for lazy days.  Find them now at the Clarins website where they'll cost you a rather spendy £17 each.

Disclosure: PR samples

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Bargain bin rescue find: Dainty Doll by Nicola Roberts

I found the entire Nicola Roberts Dainty Doll range at 1/3 off in Boots a couple of weeks ago. Bargainous... but also ominous, implying that the range is not long for this world, at least in the branch of Boots I visited. This made me a little sad, because the idea of a makeup range designed just for pale skin is a really good one, and the execution rather lovely too. Remember the documentary about Nicola creating the range?

First released in 2008, Dainty Doll didn't quite set the makeup world alight. But it was given a shot in the arm with a 2010 re-launch, featuring more colours and products, along with an updated version of its sleek black packaging decorated with the eponymous redheaded doll. Both iterations have hinged on the foundation and concealer shades, which come in the palest of pale colours.

In a market still saturated with orange from drugstore stand to high-end counter, it's been nice to have Dainty Doll around, especially for pasty Brits in the winter months.

Here's Wonderbalm, a generously proportioned lip/cuticle/dry-patch salve which smells of honey and is ever so slightly shimmery. The tub is solidly built, with a smooth hinge and high-quality mirror. RRP: £20

And here's Hippy Shake, the palest of the Dainty Doll blushes, so light it borders on highlighter territory. It also has a very subtle shimmer. It comes in a large black compact, also with strong construction and good mirror. RRP £13.50

Have you seen any ominously discounted Dainty Doll lately? And if not, have you tried the range? It's worth checking out, especially as it may not be around forever.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

NOTD: Invogue Parakeet (Nails Inc feather dupe)

Imagine my surprise when I saw yet another high-end polish dupe sitting bold as brass on the shelf in Stratford Superdrug. This is starting to become a real phenomenon.
These "feather" polishes are about as close to Nails Inc's versions as you can get without actually printing Nails Inc branding on the bottle. They don't have the beautiful avian-themed designs on the lids, true, but inside the bottle, the tiny filaments suspended in clear polish are pretty much identical.

There are 4 in the Invogue feather range - Parakeet, with peach, yellow and blue feathers, is the one I picked up first, although I also later snagged a bottle of Jaye Bird (blue and white). You can also (if you're quick, these are popular) get Sunset (peach and white) and On the Money (green and yellow) Invogue feather polishes, each costing £3.49 in Superdrug.

Nails Inc's line-up cost a decidedly-more-pricey £11 a piece, and reiterate the colourways above, with different names obv. Peach, yellow and blue is Chester, peach and white is York, and blue and white is Cornwall. There's also a fifth Nails Inc feather colourway, which is a beautiful peach and pale blue mix called Edinburgh.

Nails Inc also do some very interesting DIY feather "kits", with loose vials of feather filaments, base coat and top-coat. So they still have some exclusive feathery offerings.

Are Invogue being profoundly cheeky to nab Nails Inc's feather idea and sell at a cheaper price? Or is all fair in love and capitalism? The Nails Inc bottles are certainly prettier and more covetable, but even if I had £44 to spend on feather polishes I doubt I'd be persuaded just on packaging. I feel kind of uneasy about how closely Invogue have modelled their colour choices on Nails Inc's, but maybe, as with the rash of magnetic polishes last year, the manufacturer who supplies these polishes only produces a set few mixes.

Who knows.

As for the Invogue polish itself, I can't fault it. The pictures here show 3 coats over a clear base coat, and as you can see there are plenty of filaments packed into the formula. Application is more of a "dab" than a "drag" affair, but even with a relatively casual approach you still get good coverage after the second coat. The finish is bumpy, though not snag-your-tights bumpy like some of the more audacious glitters out there. I added a couple of coats of Mavadry to even things out a bit.

Removal is hellish, and results in a shower of tiny coloured bars all over you, your clothes etc. I strongly recommend the tinfoil method for getting this stuff off without scratching up your nails.

I haven't tried any of the Nails Inc feather polishes. They cost £11 each... and I'm not made of money.

Invogue feather polishes, £3.49 each at Superdrug

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Review: Invati Botanical Hair and Scalp Treatment at the Aveda Institute

A few weeks ago I trundled down to the Aveda Institute in Holborn for an Invati Botanical Hair and Scalp Treatment, which promises to refresh and invigorate the scalp using Aveda's Invati range, designed to target thinning hair and give a fuller, thicker feeling.

Arriving a little early, I plonked myself down in Le Pain Quotidien for a cup of coffee and a quiet half hour of reading my book.  The cafe is situated inside the Aveda Institute, which means it gets the full benefit of the lovely herbal Aveda scents wafting in the air, and after a bit of me-time I just walked through to the main salon.

After donning an oh-so-sexy black hairdressing robe, my treatment started with an application of an invigorating scalp potion and a short massage to work it into my scalp and the roots of my hair.  The sounds of the busy salon faded away as the stylist gave my head a very firm and very relaxing working over.

Scalp massage finished, I was led to the sink where my hair was very thoroughly washed and conditioned with Invati products.  The shampoo is slightly exfoliating, and it was applied twice and massaged in for minutes after it had been lathered up - likewise, the conditioner was applied from root to tip and massaged in some more.

My freshly washed hair and I then took a seat back in the main salon, and after an application of the Invati scalp treatment, I was treated to an absolutely excellent blow dry.  I requested smoothness and volume, and my hair was gloriously smooth, shiny, bouncy and flicky afterwards.  Here's some terrible camera phone photo evidence:

So, the verdict?  I'm not sure I would really count this as a treatment - it's more of a souped up blow dry.  At £50, it's a relatively expensive indulgence, but my hair really did look and feel fabulous, and the blow dry lasted for four days before I needed dry shampoo to prolong it's lifetime - which is virtually unheard of for my hair, which is usually oily after two days.  I'd definitely indulge again for a special occasion.

A final word to the wise - the original PR release for this treatment had it at £60 for 60 minutes, the Aveda spa menu has it at £60 for 75 minutes, and my treatment would have been charged at £50 for 45 minutes.  So if you do decide to indulge in this rather lovely treatment, make sure you confirm the price and duration with reception when you book.

Disclosure: Treatment provided free of charge for review purposes

Monday, 8 April 2013

Review & Swatches: Clarins Splendours Eyeshadow Palette

This Splendours eyeshadow palette is the sister of the Splendors Summer Bronzing Compact - the two together form the centrepiece of the Clarins Summer 2013 collection.

Like the Summer Bronzing Compact, the eye palette has the most gorgeous packaging - a three dimensional, embossed design which is a bugger to photograph and catches the light beautifully.

Inside the beautiful packaging, you'll find four eyeshadows, one creamy eyeliner, and two brushes.  The shadows and liner are also prettily embossed with a design that echoes the outer packaging.

The colours just scream summer:  metallic copper, sparkling gold, warm brown, and shimmering golden peach.  The eyeliner appears to be black in the pan, but is actually a deep smoky aubergine.

 On the eye, the colours are the usual Clarins fare:  well pigmented but still soft and subtle, making for a look which is flattering rather than OMG EYESHADOW.  The shadows are soft and buttery, and they blend beautifully, although you do need to be careful of fallout as they are very, very soft.

You'll find Clarins Splendours eye palette in store and online now, where it'll cost you £31.

Related Posts with Thumbnails