Friday, 30 May 2014

Clarins Hydraquench Tinted Moisturiser in 01 Sand and 05 Gold

In the summer, a tinted moisturiser is a much better bet than a full on foundation, particularly if it's got an SPF as well as light coverage and a hydrating base.  Clarins Hydraquench has all three of these things - it's SPF15, it provides a soft veil of cover, and it's light yet rich texture means the skin will remain hydrated all day long.

01 Sand, 05 Gold
01 Sand, 05 Gold
Unfortunately neither of the shades I was sent quite matched my skintone - there's a lighter shade available, 00 Porcelain, which may just about match, but given the shade difference between my skin and 01 Sand, I wonder if it'll actually be pale enough.  For those of you who have deeper skintones, the shade range runs to a fairly deep bronze, and even if you're pale, you might find a match if your skin catches the sun a bit in summer.

I tried 01 Sand on in the name of research, purely to test the texture and coverage rather than the shade match.  As you can see, it's a bit warm for me (my face and neck don't really match), but it has given my skin a bit of coverage, more for the purposes of evening out the skintone rather than anything else - you can see some spots on the left side of my face which haven't quite been covered up.  The texture is very, very light, absorbs quickly into the skin, and feels weightless whilst leaving the skin feeling hydrated and plump.

Overall, Hydraquench Tinted Moisturiser is a nice compromise between a moisturiser and a light foundation, and I like that it has a glowy matte finish - some tinted moisturisers leave me looking shiny, which is a bad look for summer (or, in fact, anytime).  At £30, it's expensive, but a little dab goes a long way, and because it's Clarins you know it has good skincare benefits as well as light coverage.  Find it now at the Clarins website.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Genius: Bourjois Magic Nail Polish Remover for Hands and Feet

Bourjois released a magic nail polish remover last year - it's sponge filled, slotted interior removed nail polish super quickly with no scrubbing required.  Now they've released a new version which takes care of toes, too, thanks to a sponge attached to the lid.  Simply turn the pot upside down (with the lid on, obvs), unscrew, hold the sponge on top of your toenail, and the polish will lift off easily.

I've been using both the slotted interior and the toe-sponge to loosen heavy glitter polishes - much easier than the tin foil method - which doesn't quite remove all the polish, but does make removal much, much easier.  For normal cream or shimmer polishes, the nail is clean within moments, and thanks to the almond oil and red fruit fragrance, fingers are left soft, not dried out, and delicately scented rather than stinking to high heaven.  Brilliant.

Find it at ASOS and BeautyMart, where it costs £6.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Guerlain Cils d'Enfer Maxi Lash Mascara in Violet

Guerlain's latest mascara is a very, very classy looking affair.  The faceted golden tube is a little bit art deco, a little bit heavy, and a lot luxe.  Inside the tube is a volumising formula which promises 'maxi lash in a blink'.  Available in three shades, I have the Violet version to show you.

The brush is a pretty simple affair - straight wand, traditional bristles, densely packed.  You can see that the mascara is a deep violet in colour - no risk of 80s lashes here.

On the eye, I think I get more curl and length than volume.  This is two coats, and whilst there definitely is volume, it's not unusual - the length and curl, though, are better than I usually get.  The colour is lovely - it's just violet enough to subtly flatter my eye colour, whilst still being dark enough to make my light and wispy eyelashes stand out.

One thing I absolutely love about this mascara is the scent.  Most mascaras smell of nothing in particular, but this one smells of rose petals.  It doesn't make a difference to the application or formula at all, but it is rather lovely to get a whiff of rose petals whilst you're applying your mascara.  I also like the way that Cils d'Enfer leaves the lashes soft and flexible.

At £23, it's an expensive choice, but for a flattering colour option with great layerability, and a good mix of length, volume and curl, I think it's worth the cash.  Find Cils d'Enfer at House of Fraser online now.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Lanolips Rose Balm Everyday for Dry Hands and Nails

Lanolips Rose Balm is a delicately scented, richly moisturising cream which claims to be 'extremely' moisturising, created for everyday use for dry hands and nails.  With that kind of description, I was expecting a heavy cream which leaves the hands soft, but with a residue to ensure plenty of moisturisation.  I was partially right - this isn't the sort of hand cream which absorbs quickly.  A good squirt quickly turns whiteish and heavy as you rub it into the skin, and it does take a fair bit of effort to work it into the skin.

After thirty seconds of rubbing your hands together, a strange thing happens - the cream goes from sticky and heavy to not there at all.  It's almost as if the act of massaging it in primes the skin to suddenly suck it all up, so quick is the transition.  Anyway, once it has absorbed, the skin is left feeling super soft and very well hydrated - the soft, powdery rose scent isn't really discernible unless you put your nose directly on your hand and sniff hard.

At £10.20, this stuff is an excellent option for dry hands, and the moisture provided by a small dab means that the tube will last you a good long time.  Find it now at Boots.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Monday, 26 May 2014

YSL Kiss & Blush in Rose Libre and Rouge Libertine

YSL's latest new product is Kiss & Blush, a creamy, semi-opaque product designed to 'kiss your cheeks and blush your lips'.  It promises a luminous matte finish thanks to the light, air whipped formula, and it comes in a myriad of colours from soft neutrals to daring brights.

One of the product's selling points is the 'hidden pearl' applicator, which stores up enough colour to allow you to quickly dot and blend onto the cheeks, or smooth onto the lips.  Which is necessary, really, as this stuff sets down pretty quickly, and if you want a well blended application on the cheeks, you'll need to blend fast.

Rouge Libertine, Rose Libre
The colours are reasonably opaque swatched, but translate a little more sheerly on the lip and on the cheek.  The bright red, Rouge Libertine, is pretty high voltage, though - colours this strong require a soft touch on the cheeks to avoid the Aunt Sally look.

Rouge Libertine
Rouge Libertine
Rouge Libertine is a classic cool toned red on the lips, with a slight translucence which stops it being too formal.  On the cheeks, it blends out to a soft, rosy flush - this was a conservative few dots, blended quickly, and it looks close to my natural flush.

Rose Libre
Rose Libre
Rose Libre is a safer, more neutral pink, which on me is a great my-lips-but-better pink, as it's fairly neutral in tone - I find many soft pinks to be way too warm for my skin.  On the cheek, it gives a very delicate flush which can be built up a little, but remains soft and pretty.

Overall, I like these new Kiss & Blush products, although I think I'm more likely to use the pale pink as a blush than the red.  I've been carrying Rose Libre around in my lipstick bag for a couple of weeks now, and I like the fact that I can touch up my blush on the go without carrying blush compacts and brushes.  At £27, they're scarily expensive - if you get a colour you're keen on for both lips and cheeks, and which you'll carry around for top ups, though, you're getting a very portable, versatile product for your hard earned cash.  Find them on YSL counters, and at the YSL beauty website.

Disclosure: PR samples

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

Sunday, 25 May 2014

NOTD: Renunail Graphite

Dr Lewinn's are expanding their popular Renunail strengthener range into nail colour.  Whilst I didn't get on very well with the strengthener (it's better for soft nails rather than peeling nails), the nail colour is actually rather nice.  I applied three coats of Graphite - although I really could have managed with two - and the results are shiny, mid-grey nails.  The photo above shows the polish without topcoat - it's pretty shiny on it's own, and a bit of topcoat makes it very, very glossy indeed.  Application is also good, with the polish spreading smoothly.

The formula contains bamboo, keratin and calcium, which Dr Lewinns claim helps to strengthen the nails as you wear the colour.  Whilst I'm sure they do have some effect, it's unlikely to make a significant difference unless you wear the Renunail polish very regularly - certainly compared to wearing a strengthener under your polish.

Finally, whilst I like the polish consistency, colour and finish, I'm not entirely convinced by the packaging.  At £14 a bottle, these polishes are pretty expensive - £4.50 cheaper than a YSL La Lacque Couture, and £2 more expensive than OPI.  The packaging isn't anywhere near as luxe as it could be for the price - if I'm spending £14 on a polish, I want it to look a bit special.

Anyway, the Renunail colour range launches in mid-June with an initial range of 5 shades, costing £14 each.  You'll find them on the Dr Lewinn's website when they launch.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Friday, 23 May 2014

Clarins Colours of Brazil Eyeshadow Quartet and Liner Palette

Clarins' Colours of Brazil summer collection includes this beautiful eyeshadow and liner palette - the gorgeously intricate compact has the same embossed-in-glowing-red-plastic detailing Clarins used for last year's bronzing compact.

Shame it's a bugger to photograph.  Just take my word for it - it's lovely, and makes the palette feel very special.

Inside the palette, you get four eyeshadows and a creamy liner.  The eyeshadows are relatively neutral, with matte and shimmer finishes, and the liner... well, it's a bold, beautiful, royal blue.  As usual, each element is prettily embossed.

The colours are all vibrant when applied dry, but if you want a more opaque, intense finish they can be applied damp too.  That blue liner is intense but very smudgy in texture, which stops it from being a bit too 80s.

Applied, the eyeshadows give great neutral definition and depth, with the shimmery peachy orange shade adding brightness and a bit of summer heat.  The blue liner adds a pop of unexpected colour, and thanks to the creamy texture, is blendable enough to look smudgy and eye-colour-enhancing rather than just BLUE.  The four eyeshadows alone are perfect to take you right through the summer - the blue is an added extra for days when you want a bit more impact.

At £32, this palette isn't cheap, but it's reasonable for four eyeshadows, a liner, and a super-pretty compact you'll be proud to pull out of your makeup bag.  Find it now at the Clarins website.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

NOTD: Formula X for Sephora in Legend

I picked up this rather lovely polish in the States recently.  I don't know much about Formula X, but their stand of polishes at Sephora was gigantic - literally hundreds of shades.  Being a magpie, I chose one of the Shifter shades, a set of 5 duochrome finish polishes.  This one, Legend, is described as maroon and rainbow metallic, which I'm not entirely convinced captures it.  The base colour flashes from navy to purple to deep red, and it's brought alive by pink, purple, red and blue glass flecks.  It's dazzling, but very, very difficult to describe!

Not only is it dazzling, it also wears like iron.  Three coats gives solid, multi-dimensional colour, and with a slick of Seche Vite I've had this manicure wear for six days straight with no chips at all.  After that, it's chips a plenty, but by then I'm ready for a change anyway.  At $12.50, the Formula X polishes aren't cheap, but they are rather lovely - next time I'm back in the US I'm definitely taking a look at the metallics.

Disclosure: Bought by me in Sephora, where I showed a remarkable amount of restraint by only buying one nail polish.

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

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream Compact SPF25 in Very Light

Clinique have released a new format of their Moisture Surge CC Cream - it's called, rather verbosely, Moisture Surge CC Cream Compact SPF25.  That's a lot of Cs right there.  I was only mildly impressed with the liquid version - I didn't think it added a lot over the BB cream, and I didn't quite understand the Moisture Surge moniker when it actually wasn't very hydrating.

This new compact version promises little above the liquid version, albeit offering a more portable format.  Inside the compact, you get a large, clear mirror and a small white sponge.  These sponges make me sad.  They're so white and pristine, and then immediately they become dirty and a bit beige.

I found that the compact format allowed for easier blending than the liquid - the act of using a sponge to dab and blend a little at a time proved much easier than trying to blend in the liquid, which seems drier and less velvety than the compact.  It's a cream to powder formula, with the final finish being a soft, glowing matte - I need a little powder to set down my T-zone, but otherwise it remains pretty matte throughout the day, which is odd for a moisturising product.

Left: before; right: after
The coverage is sheer to medium, and it works best for evening skintone out and adding luminosity.  I also found that it was very effective at toning down the redness of spots (I definitely had some corkers the first time I tried it) and, layered up slightly, works well as an undereye and blemish concealer.

Is it massively hydrating?  I don't think so.  It doesn't dry my skin out, but I didn't notice that my skin felt better hydrated throughout the course of the day compared to normal foundation.  Does it give a lovely finish?  Yes.  For that reason, I like it - much more than I liked the liquid version.

Now, on to a major bugbear - this foundation is £30 (that's not the bugbear).  It's a bit expensive, but not too awful compared to some of the foundations in my collection.  However, if your best shade match is Deep, the darkest of the six shades, this foundation is £35:

What's up with that, Clinique?  Why does a darker skintone justify a £5 price hike?  Answers on a post card...

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Monday, 19 May 2014

Clarins Lip Balm Crayons in 02 Creamy Pink, 04 Sweet Cherry, and 06 Soft Coffee

So, Clarins have entered the Chubby Stick arena with... Lip Balm Crayons.  They promise soft sheer colour, a hydrating texture, and a shiny, plump finish.  Available in six shades, I have three to show you today.

02 Creamy Pink, 04 Sweet Cherry, 06 Soft Coffee
The packaging is remarkably similar to the iconic Chubby Stick, with a noteable exception - where Chubby Sticks are uniformly chubby from end to tip, the Lip Balm Crayons have a narrower barrel towards the tip.  The difference isn't massive, but the narrow end makes it slightly easier to grip.

02 Creamy Pink, 04 Sweet Cherry, 06 Soft Coffee
02 Creamy Pink, 04 Sweet Cherry, 06 Soft Coffee
The colours are soft and sheer, much like the original Chubbies, but the difference is in the finish - Creamy Pink and Soft Coffee are a little bit milky.  I like milky finishes for lips, particularly with neutral shades - they give a little more interest than a flat sheer colour.

02 Creamy Pink
04 Sweet Cherry
06 Soft Coffee
Texture wise, they're less slippy than Clinique's Chubby Sticks - think creamier, more buttery, with just as much hydrating goodness.  Because they're sheer, soft and shiny, they do need topping up every couple of hours to keep the colour fresh and the sheen shiny.

Interestingly, Clarins have included a pH-sensitive shade a la Smashbox O-Glow - shade 01, My Pink, promises a custom shade of pink.  As well as My Pink and the three shades above, there's a coral pink, Tender Coral, and a berry shade, Delicious Plum, making the range a compact six shades.  At £18, they're expensive but worth it for the quality, and the fact that they'll be certain to last a good long while.  Find them now on counter and at Clarins' website.

Disclosure: PR samples

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

Friday, 16 May 2014

Avoid: Makeup Revolution Salvation Velvet Lip Lacquer in What I Believe

Everyone and their dog is busy making a velvety matte lip product this year.  Bourjois have done a bloody brilliant one, Topshop have done a slightly terrifying one, and now newcomer Makeup Revolution have done a very reasonably priced one.  At just £3, it's the cheapest matte lip lacquer I've tried this year, and given how much I liked the eyeshadow palette I tried recently, I had high hopes.

The format's pretty standard - doe foot applicator, richly pigmented cream product which sets down to a matte finish.  The packaging is absolutely awful - cheap typography, really weird product naming, downright ugly cardboard sleeve.  But hey, if I'm buying a budget product I'd rather the development costs be spent on the product, not the packaging.

Unfortunately, though, I think the only money spent on the product development was to fund some Tippex for texture comparisons.  Yes, the cream is richly pigmented, and applies easily to the lips.  Sadly, though, it dries down super-super-matte, and proceeds to flake off the lips very quickly.  This photo was taken about 3 minutes after application, and you can see the patchiness caused by flaking.  I tried reapplying several times, with lip balm, without lip balm, and the result was always the same - slightly sticky, flaky lips.  Which felt very, very dry.  Not a winner, then.

Just to illustrate the flaky nature of this product further, here's the cotton pad I used to remove it (with a bit of Bioderma).  It rolled off my lips in little flakes.  Bleh.

So, in this case, if you're after a matte lip lacquer, it's well worth spending a little more cash and going for the Bourjois one, which is the polar opposite in texture and comfort.  If you want to try Salvation for yourself, though, you'll find it on the Makeup Revolution website - don't say I didn't warn you!

Disclosure:  Bought with my own money.  Good thing it was only £3 or I'd be very pissed off.

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

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Kiko Cosmetics Life in Rio Exotic Shine Lipsticks in 01 Hearty Rose and 06 Voluptuous Pink

I've shown you the eye and face products from Kiko's latest limited edition collection, Life in Rio, and now I've got two lipsticks to show you.  Encased in shiny, shiny, fingerprint-attracting gold packaging, they're called Exotic Shine lipstick, and they promise intense colour and an extra shiny finish.

The colours I have here are 01 Hearty Rose, and 06 Voluptuous Pink.  Hearty Rose is a cool toned rose pink with a violet/mauve cast to it, and Voluptuous Pink is a slightly coral toned mid-pink.

Hearty Rose
Voluptuous Pink
Unfortunately these aren't a hit with me.  The pigmentation is pretty decent, but I wouldn't call it intense - it took a couple of passes over the lips to get the pigmentation shown above, and I found that the formula fought me with every pass.  It's a bit solid, a bit waxy, and dragged a fair bit on application until it warmed up.  It also felt heavy on my lips, which in a world of feather light textures was a bit of a shock.  And where's the super shiny finish?!

If you prefer more of a traditional waxy lipstick finish, and you're not looking for super shine, Kiko's Exotic Shine lipsticks might be a better fit for you - for me, though, they're almost exactly the opposite of what I want in a lipstick nowadays.  Find them at the Kiko website where they cost £8.50.

Disclosure: PR sample

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