Monday, 30 June 2014

Makeup Revolution Salvation Intense Lip Lacquer in No Ordinary Love

After my last, utterly dire experience with a Makeup Revolution lip product, I wanted to see if any of the other lip products in the range were any good at all.  So I picked up the Salvation Intense Lip Lacquer in No Ordinary Love as part of a recent order.  It's described as giving 'the most colour intense lips', which unfortunately is complete rubbish - it's semi sheer rather than opaque, and is really a medium-tinted lipgloss rather than a lacquer.

Ignoring the pigmentation problem, it's actually a really nice product.  The texture is moisturising, plush and silky on the lips, and the overall effect is juicy and shiny with a lovely raspberry pink tint.  It's very flattering, and very comfortable to wear.  If you can look past the lack of pigmentation and treat this as a gloss, it's a pretty good deal for a mere £3.  Find it at the Makeup Revolution website.

Disclosure: Purchased by me.

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

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Rituals Lotus Secret Candle

I'm not usually one for candles, but this Rituals Lotus Secret candle is rather lovely.  The fragrance of the summer scent Rituals have created is light, fresh and green with plenty of creamy white flowers - it's not the most obvious fruity sweet summer scent, but instead is more grown up and sophisticated.  I'll admit, it was the beautiful packaging which piqued my interest in this candle - when you remove the top part of the box, you find that the candle is nestling within a beautifully folded printed cardboard sleeve, which folds outwards like a lotus flower to reveal the candle within.

In it's sleek white jar, this candle is pretty enough to adorn anyone's bedroom or living room, and it's earned pride of place in front of my fireplace this summer.  It burns cleanly and gives off a subtle scent, enough to add a whiff to the air but not so much that the room is overpoweringly fragranced.

At £19.50, it's expensive, but not quite in the eye-wateringly expensive category (*cough* Diptyque *cough*).  Given the soft scent and the beautiful packaging, it'd make a lovely gift as well as a nice treat for yourself.  Find it now at the Rituals website.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Friday, 20 June 2014

Clinique Long Last Soft Matte Lipstick in Matte Beauty, Matte Crimson, Matte Petal

Clinique have a new lipstick out, and like many other lipsticks being launched at the moment, they're all about matte.  They're called Long Last Soft Matte, and promise a full coverage, velvety soft matte finish, with a long lasting just-applied look.  They come in very pretty ribbed silver tubes which have a definite retro appeal, and the wearable matte finish just cries out for a 50s swing dress and heels for summer...

Matte Beauty
Matte Beauty
Matte Beauty is a tawny pinky-beige, the kind which goes with most complexions and looks flattering and neutral without being too strong (or too wishy-washy).

Matte Crimson

Matte Crimson
Matte Crimson is a classic red with blue tones and a very even finish.  It's teeth-brightening, instant glam, retro cool in a tube.

Matte Petal
Matte Petal
Matte Petal is a soft pink, which surprised me by having a relatively cool base to it - I often find soft, pale pinks unwearable, but this one is actually okay.

The texture of these lipsticks is lovely - they glide onto the lip, feel soft and buttery, and remain soft on the lip even once they've set down.  Wear time is indeed good - four hours or so before the colour starts to fade - I don't think I agree that they maintain a just-applied look for long.  They fade with dignity and absolutely no ring-of-doom but they do fade.  The colour remains soft and comfortable throughout the wear time.

Long Last Soft Matte Lipstick is available in eight shades, from neutral to red to a particularly sunny looking orange, and they cost a spendy but not too spendy £18 each.  All in all, a lovely, comfortable, muted way to wear matte this summer.  Find them at the Clinique website now.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Rituals Energy Bubbles

The online description of this bath foam is a bit misleading- it calls the product a cream bath, where actually it's a clear bath foam.  It is, however, a rather lovely bath foam - softly scented with Indian Rose and Himalayan Honey, it gently perfumes the air, then fades away leaving no scent on the skin at all.  As you'd expect from a foam with a SLS base, it's an effective cleanser, but doesn't do much to condition the skin.  It produces plenty of fluffy, long lasting bubbles, perfect if you like a long bath like I do.

The bottle is gigantic - you get 500ml of bath foam, enough to give you plenty of bathing action this summer - and being Rituals, it's beautifully designed, adding a bit of colourful class to any bathroom.  Find it now at Rituals stores and online, where it costs £13.50.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Big Brands and You: #YSLEyeStyle and Clarins' The Beauty Society

The beauty landscape has changed significantly thanks to the rise of the internet.  Consumers are more savvy about products they might buy from counters, beauty blogs abound, and social media can promote or sink a product incredibly fast.  Brands have slowly been embracing the internet as a way to interact with their consumers; via blogs, or via their own Twitter/Instagram accounts, which encourage a level of interaction far more personal than anything we've seen before.

Now, some of the biggest brands are taking a leap forward and establishing their own social hubs.  YSL have just launched the #YSLEyeStyle microsite in conjunction with the launch of their newest eyeshadow palettes - it cleverly combines a very quotable hashtag alongside a one-stop destination for eye makeup, offering tutorials and opportunities to have your own eye makeup showcased alongside that of professional artists.  It's interesting in that the eye looks submitted by regular consumers don't have to be made up with YSL products.

In a similar vein, Clarins have launched The Beauty Society, a forum-style site to allow consumers to chat about beauty in general - not just Clarins products.  Discussion is themed around different topics, and there are regular competitions which encourage users to share tips and tricks.

What do you think of the new social sites launched by YSL and Clarins?  Will you be sharing your eye looks and opinions?  What's the next step as the beauty brands get ever closer to their consumers?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

YSL Couture Palette in 03 Afrique

YSL have some new eyeshadow palettes out, and they're rather gorgeous!  Five shades of eyeshadow with a super soft, almost crumbling texture, with a glimmering finish, they're available in ten different colourways, from acid brights to soft neutrals.  This is 03, Afrique, a blend of shimmering golden peachy browns, with an accent of golden plum.

Swatched, you can see the really pretty range of finishes in the palette - the bold peach and bronze are both almost metallic, with a high shine finish, the golden plum has a subtle sheen to it, and the pale gold and pale pink have a slight sparkle.  Both of the pale shades are perfect for highlighting the inner corner and the browbone, and the three stronger shades are perfect for layering up for a golden, shimmering smoky eye which flatters my green eyes and looks very summer appropriate.  Use a light hand, though - the texture is so soft that heavyhanded wielding of a brush will result in lots of fallout from the palette, and a waste of precious shadow.

The cost of this gorgeousness is unsurprisingly rather high - £39.50 to be precise.  Compared, though, to the standard Pure Chromatic palettes, they're not too bad - a mere 50p more gets you five shades instead of four.  Find them at the YSL website now.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Mixed Feelings: Michael Van Clark 3 More Inches Haircare System

Michael Van Clark's 3 More Inches haircare range has been around for a while.  I recently met Mr Van Clark himself at his London salon, and heard him speak about the product range.  Unfortunately he spent half his time criticising other products, which always makes me suspicious, and there was a slightly dubious demo which claimed that because silicone products don't mix with water in a jar, they can't help the hair retain moisture.  Anyway, slightly dodgy PR techniques aside, I've been trying out the haircare system for the past two weeks and thought I'd share my thoughts so far.

First off, the 3 More Inches name is a bit misleading - this isn't a system to encourage growth, but a system to care for the hair so it doesn't break and snap, and thus can grow longer.  This introductory set costs £24.50, and contains three products - 100ml of the pre-wash treatment, 75ml of the shampoo and conditioner each.  To use the system, you're supposed to saturate the hair with the treatment every other wash, leaving it on for at least an hour, but preferably overnight.  You then wash and condition your hair, and voila, super soft, 'youthful' hair.

I used about half of the 100ml tube on my thick, shoulder length hair and managed to saturate only the ends - I think it'd take the entire tube to completely saturate my hair.  As a result I've only used the pre-wash treatment once, whilst I've used the shampoo and conditioner twice or three times.  My experiences so far have been that this system does indeed give you soft, healthy feeling hair - the hair doesn't have that overly silky feeling it can have from more silicone-based products.

Ultimately, I've not been blown away by the shampoo and conditioner, nor have I been blown away by the pre-wash treatment as a pre-wash treatment.  Instead, I've been using a little dab of the pre-wash treatment as a leave in conditioner, and it helps to define and shape my curls whilst leaving them feeling very soft and hydrated.  If you have dry, thick, curly hair I'd definitely recommend the pre-wash treatment as a leave in conditioner.  As for the shampoo and conditioner.. I'm not convinced that they add much to the mix for the £17 cost of the full size bottles.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Monday, 16 June 2014

Accessorize 3D Glitter Polish in Dream

I realised the other day that I had a glitter polish in my stash that I'd never even worn - so naturally, I slapped it straight on my nails.  Accessorize's 3D Glitter Polish comes in two shades - Dream, a cobalt blue micro-glitter with larger purple glitters, and Magic, a purple glitter of varying sizes and shades.  I'm wearing Dream here - the finish is a bit rough and ready, but it does catch the light beautifully.  Application is a bit difficult, with the polish being a bit globby, but two coats gets you a comprehensively sparkly finish.  It costs £4 at Superdrug and the Accessorize website.

Disclosure: Purchased by me.

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

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Makeup Revolution Vivid Blush Lacquer in Desire

My last foray into Makeup Revolution didn't go so well.  I'm pleased to report that this product is much, much better - meet Vivid Blush Lacquer, a high intensity fluid blush, dispensed in a pump.  It's quite similar to Makeup Forever's HD Blush, but costs a fraction of the price at just £3.

Swatched, you can really see how well pigmented this blush is.  It's also got a very blendable, creamy formula which melts into the skin and leaves a very natural finish.

Because of the intensity of the pigment, you need only a tiny dot to get a pretty flush.  I've found that I need to be a bit careful when I blend, as the cream spreads easily and if you're not careful, you can end up blending it upwards into the eye area - I've found that the best application technique involves patting it onto the apples of the cheeks and then blending upwards across the cheekbones.

For £3, I'm really impressed - the tube will last me ages, the product does exactly what it claims to, and it comes in six shades from baby pink to sunny peach.  What's not to like?  Find it at the Makeup Revolution store now.

Disclosure: Purchased by me.  Glad I did.  

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

Friday, 13 June 2014

NOTD: Topshop Boy Next Door + Models Own Microdots

Models Own's latest nail art effect polish is like polka dot nail art for lazy people.  The Microdots polish, £5, contains small hexagonal matte glitter particles in bright colours, and it makes a great topcoat on a creamy base colour, like this lovely china blue, which is from Topshop, called Boy Next Door, also £5.  Perfectly summery, very cute, and most importantly, very easy to achieve.  Better yet, Microdots isn't as hard to remove as a more opaque finish glitter.  I'm calling that a win all round.

Disclosure:  Models Own Microdots is a press sample.

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

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Illamasqua Matte Effect Summer 2014 - Matte Lip Liquid in Surrender and Forbidden, Velvet Blush in Flirtation

Illamasqua's latest collection is all about matte textures.  Like everyone else and their dog, they've developed a matte liquid lip product, and their already-popular Velvet Blush has been treated to a new, coral-tastic shade for summer.

The Matte Lip Liquid product comes with a flexible brush and has a surprisingly fluid texture; it's silky and slick, and you paint it on almost like a watercolour.

Velvet Blush has a lovely emollient texture, without any trace of greasiness - it turns to a powder finish when blended into the skin, giving a matte finish rather than the slightly shiny look so common with cream blush.

Left to right:  Matte Lip Liquid in Surrender and Forbidden; Velvet Blush in Flirtation
Swatched, you can really see the colour intensity in the Matte Lip Liquids.  Dabbed onto the skin, they dry super-super-matte, with even pigmentation and intense colour.  On the lip, though, you have to work really hard to get the same even application - the brush leaves brushstrokes behind, and you'll have to quickly apply two very thin layers to avoid patchiness.

Matte Lip Liquid in Surrender
Matte Lip Liquid in Forbidden
Neither colour suits my pale, pink-toned skintone and both look pretty weird next to my hair, which is currently pink.  I also found the application to be a bit of a chore - two layers to avoid streaks and patches, a matte finish which emphasises every flaw in the lip... it all adds up to a lip look which takes quite a bit of work to get right.  Which isn't what I want to be doing in summer.  I also found the texture to be a bit sticky, even when fully set.  If you can bear the application time and the stickiness, though, you'll get a very long lasting lip - I struggled to remove my swatches without a fair bit of oil cleanser.

Velvet Blush in Flirtation
The Velvet Blush is a much safer bet for me - the colour is a slightly coral/orange toned nude, and it warms up the skin without being too bright or in-your-face, although you can layer it if you like a stronger pop of colour.  I really like the non-greasy, non-shiny matte finish, too.

Overall, the collection is a bit of a mixed bag for me.  I really hoped that Illamasqua would nail the matte liquid lip thing, give us some amazing colours, but the Matte Lip Liquid is a bit too fussy, and the colours aren't going to be flattering on everyone (none of them are flattering on me!).  The blush, though, is a keeper, and I can see myself using it quite a bit this summer.

You'll find the Matte Lip Liquids, £18.50, and Velvet Blush, £21.50, online at Illamasqua's website, or at one of their stores and counters.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Bourjois Volume 1 Seconde Mascara

Bourjois have a new mascara out, and it's borrowing from their popular 1 Seconde sub range to give you full, voluminous lashes in a flash.  Encased in a shiny, mirrored, fingerprint attracting tube, it claims to give 360 degree volume around each lash.

The power of this mascara is in it's special brush, inspired by professional hairbrushes.  It has 'spherical bristles', apparently - I'm not really sure what that means, particularly since the bristles look normal and spiky to me.

Spherical bristles or not, the effects are pretty damn good - lots of length, good definition, no clumping, and plenty of volume.  The only part I'm not quite convinced by is the 1 Seconde part - to get this kind of effect you'll need to put some work into wiggling the brush from root to tip, and apply two coats, which definitely takes longer than a second.

As usual for Bourjois, this mascara is reasonably priced - £9.99 normally, currently on offer for £6.99 - making it a high performing high street option.  Find it at Boots now.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

NOTD: Orly Color Blast Aqua 3D Glitter

Orly has a new range of colour out - it's called Color Blast, and there are a whopping 50 shades available at Boots now.  With a new, curvy bottle, and the usual super grippy Orly cap, an 11ml bottle will cost you £9.50 - OPI prices, then, and thankfully with performance to match.

This lovely, sparkling shade is called Aqua 3D Glitter, and it's a corker.  It's made up of teeny tiny glitter particles in a bright aqua shade, mixed with larger silver dots - the result is a multi-dimensional glitter with a sand-like, slightly gritty finish.  This shade is a topcoat eater - if you want to smooth the grit you'll need two thick coats of topcoat.

Yes, removal is a pain.  But application is surprisingly smooth for such a dense glitter - you'll only need two coats, and the glitter disperses very evenly indeed.  Dry time is very quick - only a couple of minutes to set rock solid without topcoat - and wear is excellent, too.  I managed six days before chips started to set in.

All in all, a very nice glitter polish - I have high hopes for the rest of the range.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Monday, 9 June 2014

Elemis Pro Collagen Hydra-Gel Eye Masks

Elemis, high end skincare purveyors extraordinaire, have released a new product which falls into a category I've never, ever tried before.  Meet Pro Collagen Hydra-Gel Eye Masks (mouthful!), which are serum soaked, hydra gel patches you stick to your undereye area.  They promise to smooth, hydrate and firm the eye area, with the effect lasting up to six hours.  You get six sachets, each containing two eye patches (yarr), in each box.

To apply, remove from sachet, separate from backing, stick to face.  Excuse the moody expression here, I was trying very, very hard not to move my face at all.  Which isn't actually necessary, as these masks stick themselves on pretty well by themselves.

Before and after
Twenty minutes later, my undereye area felt much, much firmer, and very well hydrated.  If you make this before/after comparison photo very large, you can probably see that whilst the effects aren't significant, my fine lines are smoother, and in general my eye area looks brighter and less, well, dehydrated.

At £46 a box, this product is very, very expensive, particularly given that it's a quick fix product which doesn't produce a long lasting effect, making them less of an everyday product and more of a special occasion prep product.  I could totally see myself using these in the run up to a big day - brides, take note - to make sure that I look my absolute best in important photos.  Find them now at Time to Spa.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Quick Pick: Color Wow Shampoo, Conditioner and Styling Cream

I've been trialling a few of Color Wow's products for the past few weeks, and you can colour me impressed (tee hee).  The Color Security Shampoo lathers up well for something free from sulphates, has a lovely fresh scent and cleans the hair effectively.  I've noticed less colour fading since I started using it, and the amount of foam I rinse away after shampooing has been a paler pink than usual.  The Color Security Conditioner for Normal to Thick Hair is surprisingly light for such a rich, thirsty-hair-quenching conditioner, and you need only a small squirt to distribute throughout the hair - a little goes a long way.  At £16.50 for 250ml tubes, the shampoo and conditioner are undoubtedly expensive - particularly compared to L'Oreal's rather excellent Ever Strong/Smooth/Pure/etc range, which performs just as well, and costs a much more wallet-friendly £6.20 for 250ml.

The product I've been most impressed by is the One Minute Transformation Styling Cream.  It costs £16.50 for 120ml, but the product inside the tube does amazing things to my hair which makes it more than worth the money.  Most styling creams are applied pre-blow dry, to wet hair, but this one is applied to dry hair.  It instantly smooths and hydrates the ends, making the hair look less frizzy and more polished, and if you want to reshape the hair, you can use a quick blast of heat to restyle.  I've tried many products which claim to revitalise hair when it's dry, but few have made such a lasting difference as this one - a dab smoothed through the ends in the morning gives me smoothness that lasts all day.  Brilliant.

Disclosure: PR samples

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

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Quick Pick: Radox Passionfruit Splash and Mango Mayhem Shower Gels

Radox have extended their Fresh & Fruity shower gel range to include two new tropical scents - Passionfruit Splash and Mango Mayhem.  Like the original coconut, cherry and berry versions, these are bursting with fresh, zesty fragrance which smells sweet and invigorating, but without that artificial saccharine note fruity shower gels often have.  The Mango Mayhem is my favourite of the two - it's bright and juicy and puts me in the right mindset for summer.  Even better, they only cost £2.15 each.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

BUY THIS NOW: Kiko Unlimited Stylo Lipstick in 3 Hibiscus Red and 6 Poppy Red

Do you like richly pigmented, long lasting lipstick?  Yes?  Well, then, you need to hot foot it down to Kiko's website (or one of their stores) and buy yourself a few of their new Ultimate Stylo lipsticks.  They are, quite undeniably, bloody brilliant.  Apart from the packaging, which is so shiny you can't possibly hope to keep it fingerprint free, but hey, let's focus on the product.

3 Hibiscus Red / 6 Poppy Red
Here I have two of the four red shades in the comprehensive fourteen-strong range.  Hibiscus Red is a pink toned red, and Poppy Red is a more classic blue toned red.  

3 Hibiscus Red
6 Poppy Red
Both shades apply incredibly smoothly, with a soft, melting texture which is emollient and rich on the lips for a minute or so, before it sets down.  Once it's set, there's a slight stickiness if you regularly press your lips together, but nothing too annoying.  The pigmentation is fantastic - a single pass over the lips gives rich, opaque colour.  And I love the finish - Kiko say it's a semi-matte finish, but I say it's proper matte.

As for longevity - I've never met a lipstick which stays on as well as this stuff.  Kiko say it's been tested up to eight hours, and they're right - it remains rich and strong and still comfortable on the lip for the full eight hours.  I've actually pushed it further and worn it for 12 hours a few times in the past week.  It gets a little muted and a little dry after ten hours, but compared to other long wear lipsticks, it's barely dry at all.

In short - I love this stuff.  If you like a matte lip and you like it to last, try one.  I bet you won't be disappointed.  Particularly at the utterly bargain-tastic price of £6.90.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

YSL Summer Look 2014: La Lacque Couture in Bleu Cyclades & Glossy Stain in 111

YSL's summer look for 2014 is called Bleus Lumiere, and it contains some killer blues which evoke swimming pools, the ocean, and, um, dodgy blue cocktails to get you ready for the sun.

La Lacque Couture is available in two shades - a pale blue cream, and this stunningly rich blue shimmer, Bleu Cyclades, £18.50.  It glimmers in the sunshine with a magnificently sparkling blue depth, although it's worth mentioning that after a few days it does dull down a bit, losing some of the depth of sparkle.  Application is, as always with La Lacque Couture, smooth as a marble statue's arse.

I'm very, very fond of Glossy Stain, £25 - it's a hybrid lipstick/lipgloss/lipstain which sticks to the lips and looks very plush indeed.  The new shade for summer, 111, is a bit understated, which is unsurprising given that it's paired with a bright blue eye in the promo shots - it's a soft, muted coral blush which adds just enough colour without being a bright lip in its own right.

Disclosure: PR samples

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