Thursday, 17 December 2015

So Intense: Colourpop Blush in Cheerio & Prenup, Colourpop Highlighter in Spoon

Cheerio, Spoon, Prenup

Just one last post about Colourpop and then I'll shut up, I promise (until I go to the US again and buy more, muahaha).  I recently invested in a few new shades of Colourpop's creamily blendable bouncy blush and highlighters, this time challenging myself a little with a bright shade, Cheerio, and treating myself to the kind of dusty soft pink I love, Prenup.

Cheerio is an amazing blush, and one which many people (me included) would be a little scared of.  It's RED.  It's INTENSE.  It's also slightly SHIMMERY.  So much room to go wrong.  But if you go right - and you can do, by applying starting with the apples of your cheeks with a teeny tiny swipe of product - it's lovely.  A really fresh, winter flush which makes you look like you've been twirling round a park in the snow, laughing gleefully, with a terribly cute pompom hat on.

Prenup is, unsurprisingly, a great everyday blush - it's matte, it's soft, it's pink - and it's a particularly great shade if you're super pale, as I am in winter.  I find I can (and do) apply this one much more heavily than Cheerio, for obvious reasons.

Spoon, now... Spoon and I have a love/hate relationship. On one side, Spoon is a lovely icy highlighter, perfect if you dislike gold.  On the other side, Spoon is, well, glittery.  And not everyone wants a glittery highlighter.  I've worn it a couple of times to parties recently, but I think it's just a little too glittery for day to day wear, unless of course you enjoy rocking glitter in the day.

As always, these little cheek pots are a mere $8 each, making them a bit of a steal.  Even if it is a glittery steal.  Find them and more at the Colourpop website, and keep hoping they'll start shipping to the UK soon.

Disclosure:  Bought by me.

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

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Last Minute Christmas Gifts from Kiko

I do love a Christmas set from Kiko - their prices are already pretty damn good for the quality of the products, and their Christmas gifts make things even better value by adding in truly lovely festive packaging.  This year is no exception - the Cosmic Starlets collection features a huge selection of gift boxes, each packaged in glowing red with constellation and star motifs.

The Magnetic Gaze Eye Pochette is a bit utilitarian - I've never really seen mascara as an exciting gift - but it's great value for money.  £18.90 gets you a black volumising mascara, a double ended black kajal eyeliner / golden highlighter, and a red satin makeup bag.  I love the word pochette, by the way.  It means 'small bag', but sounds so much more elegant.

The Twin Stars Nail Lacquer and Lipstick set is much more my thing.  A matte lipstick (Kiko make great lipsticks, and this one is no exception) and a nail lacquer with a gel-shine finish.  This shade is Radiant Mauve, and it features cool, mauve toned pinks - there are also nude, coral and red variations available.  At £10.50 it's a bit of a steal - and it's also presented in a cute box with a ribbon, so you can hang it on a tree if you so wish.

Finally, the Innocent Dreams Lipgloss Set is my pick of the sets I've tried - it contains a very cute red satin case with a popper to keep it closed, and three mini twist up lipsticks (mini lipsticks are the BEST).  Kiko call these lipgloss, but I call them sheer, glossy lipsticks - either way, the colour selection is neutral toned and sheer, making it a good match for most skin tones.  At £15.90, it's also a good deal - just over a fiver per shade, which isn't bad for something which such a lovely, balm like texture.

And here's a swatch of the Radiant Mauve lipstick (left) and the three glossy lipsticks.  Lovely, eh?

If you want to see the full range of Cosmic Starlets gifts, you'll find a giant list on the Kiko website.  If you want to buy me something, I'm quite smitten with the very cute and excellent value Angel Kiss set - a sugar scrub and tinted balm, which'll set you back a mere £11.90.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Sunday, 13 December 2015

No 7 Colour Your Way - Stay Perfect Eyeshadow Quad in Purple Haze & Stay Perfect Eyeshadow Trio in Tea Party

Purple Haze, Tea Party

Purple Haze

Purple Haze

Tea Party

Tea Party

Since I started colouring my hair really, really bright, I've made a move from colourful eyeshadow towards taupe.  I still wear bright lipstick, usually to coordinate with my hair, but I've been scared off contrasting colour on my eyes - I live in fear of accidentally looking like a pink haired clown.  No 7's recent Colour Your Way campaign caught my eye - it's intended to break some of the stereotypes of particular colours when we consider wearing them as makeup - such as the red lip being an eye catching statement - and empower women to experiment more with colour.

The No 7 PR team sent me some more colourful eyeshadow recently - and I've cautiously dipped my toe back into the rainbow coloured eyeshadow lake (err, yes).  Purple Haze, £10.50, is a quad of eyeshadows in true purple shades - there are two bright jewel tones with shimmer, complemented by two dustier, deeper mattes which make for a great cut crease.  I'm still a little afraid of wearing either of the bright shades full on, but a soft wash of either with the darkest purple on the lashline makes for a pop of colour which isn't too intense.

Tea Party, £9.50, has gone immediately into my day to day makeup bag, and I suspect will remain there for a long, long time.  It's got a lovely mauve grey, a cool toned rose, and a deep grey toned plum, and the three together make for a pretty look with a hint of colour which is still very wearable (and a million miles away from clownish).

Both eyeshadow palettes sport good, medium pigmentation which can be easily built up if you want a more intense look, and blendable, soft textures.  The mattes are the tiniest bit chalky, and will need a bit of dab-and-pat action to build up on the lids.  Still, both palettes are reasonably priced, and I would forgive Tea Party many sins.  So there you go:  colour, both a little more intense, and a little more subtle, and neither anywhere near as terrifying at UD's Electric Palette.

Disclosure:  PR samples

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

Friday, 11 December 2015

Instagram Pretty: Milani Rose Powder Blush in Romantic Rose

I bought this Milani blush in a five minute dash around a Walgreens, and it's undoubtedly one of the prettiest blushes I own.  Sculpted to look like a rose, it's got so much detail for something that cost a mere $7.50.

The blush itself I'm a little less impressed with - it's a matte formula, and the powder is pretty silky once you get it onto the skin, but it's lacking a little in pigment - you'll need to apply a good couple of layers for a noticeable flush - perhaps not a bad thing if you're very pale, or terrified of going overboard on blush.  Still, Romantic Rose is a lovely colour - a neutral tawny pink which I find looks good with most eye makeup I choose to put on, very similar to my favourite blush of all time, Cargo Tonga.

And it turns out you can buy a few shades of Rose Powder Blush on Amazon in the UK!  They're a little more expensive than I paid in the States, but still reasonable - Tea Rose, which looks to be a slightly more pink shade, is £5.99.

Disclosure:  Bought by me

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

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Expensive but lovely: Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser

Ah, Murad, how I wish your products were a little more affordably priced!  This new cleanser, AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser, is a stonking £34 for 200ml - more than I'd normally spend on something which is on my face for a few moments before being washed away down the sink.

Now we've got the price out of the way, we can talk about the product.  It's good.  Really, really good.  It contains three gentle acids to give you a gentle chemical exfoliation, and it also contains tiny jojoba beads to provide a bit of manual exfoliation too.  Despite the four different exfoliating ingredients, it's not too harsh - partially because it's a cleanser, you use it on wet skin, and it's on for a short period of time; and partially because those exfoliating ingredients are suspended in a cooling, hydrating gel-like base.

I've been using AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser for a couple of weeks now, and I can safely say that thanks to a combination of this gentle exfoliation every day, and the more intense exfoliation that comes with using Alpha H Liquid Gold every three to four days, my skin is smoother than it's been in a long while.  If you're looking to maximise the smoothness of your skin, and you like to exfoliate frequently, this product is well worth a try, despite the cost.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Monday, 7 December 2015

Cheap & Cheerful: L'Oreal True Match Foundation in 1.5N Linen

Left: bare face; right: with True Match in 1.5N Linen
It's been a while since I fell in love with a high street foundation - I've been wearing MUFE Ultra HD Foundation and Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue pretty solidly for the past few months, both of which cost more than £25 a pop.  Enter L'Oreal True Match Foundation - which costs a mere £9.99 and comes in 21 shades.

First off, the texture of this foundation is surprisingly refined for such a well priced foundation - it's silky, almost as silky as Armani's Maestro Foundation, and spreads very easily over the face.  I found that a whole pump is far too much - a half pump, or a little more if you really like to buff it into the face with a brush, will do just fine.  Once applied, the finish is very natural and velvety - it's not a true matte foundation, but it isn't dewy or shimmery either.  It wears well, too - I need a bit of powder on my t-zone after three hours, but otherwise it holds well for a full day.

Lovely, eh?  This is a foundation which definitely packs a punch bigger than its price tag.  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.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Quick Pick: Ojon Rare Blend Moisture Therapy Conditioner

I've somehow been through a number of tubes of Ojon's Rare Blend Moisture Therapy conditioner without writing about it - a mistake, as it's one of my favourite intensive conditioners.  A thick, almost clay-like cream, it distributes easily through wet hair and helps to detangle immediately.  Left on for two minutes, hair is left feeling very smooth and silky - you know that feeling when you rinse out a really good conditioner, and your hair feels so silky smooth as the water runs through it, that it's almost like you're in a shampoo commercial?  Yeah, that.

Combined with Ojon's Rare Blend Cleansing Conditioner, this stuff makes for incredibly silky, well hydrated hair - a treat if your hair is dry, coloured, or in need of a bit of TLC.  I sometimes leave it on for fifteen minutes for an extra shot of hydration, and sometimes I mix a bit of it in with my Directions hair colour to guarantee amazingly shiny results.  Sometimes I also use a tiny bit as a leave-in conditioner after washing, too, which works beautifully so long as I don't use too much.

Overall, then, a lovely product for dry hair - and a pretty adaptable one at that.  At £23 for 150ml, it's not cheap, but thanks to the thickness of the product you don't need a lot, and you can easily stretch out the tube for a few months if you're careful.  Find it now at Boots.

Disclosure:  The one photographed is a PR sample, but the one currently in my bathroom was bought by me.

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

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Shea Moisture lands in the UK

I've tried Shea Moisture products before - usually by buying them in the US and bringing them back home, then using the tiniest amount possible to make sure I don't run out.  But now the range has landed in the UK, and in Boots no less - so all my fellow dry haired folks can easily try out this incredibly moisturising range.

I was sent the Extra Moisture Retention shampoo, Restorative Conditioner, and Curl & Shine Style Milk to try, and my general impression continues to be that this range is for hair which struggles to get proper moisturisation from other ranges.

The Extra Moisture Retention shampoo is thick and luxurious, lathering up well despite the lack of sulphates, and leaves my hair feeling very well hydrated and smooth.  The Restorative Conditioner, £10.99, is the richest conditioner I've ever tried, bar none - the first time I tried it, I pumped out a good handful - cursing the stingy pump for only giving me a tiny squirt at a time - and applied it to my hair.  After I dried my hair, I immediately re-washed it - it was so well lubricated that it lost any texture.  My fault.  Now I use a few small pumps and leave it to the driest, most straw-like bits of my hair - the ends - to avoid weighing my hair down.  I also use a single pump as a leave in conditioner, or half a pump to tame the ends between washes.  If your hair is very, very dry, you NEED this conditioner in your life.

The Curl & Shine Milk, £10.99, is a product I'm getting on less well with - it's also very hydrating, so unless your hair is very dry and rebellious, using all three products is a bit too much.  It does provide some curl definition, but it doesn't really enhance my curls - they form loose, smooth s-curls and ringlets, but don't spring up at all.  I prefer curl products which tighten my curls, and this one definitely doesn't.

I'm so glad Shea Moisture has made it to Boots - I'll definitely be trying out other products from the range, particularly the Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Shampoo.  You'll find all the Shea Moisture goodies on, and a selection in-store now.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Colourpop Super Shock Shadows in Mixed Tape, Nillionaire, Cricket, Friskie, 3 & Lala

Top row: Mixed Tape, Nillionaire, Cricket
Bottom row: Friskie, 3, Lala

Top row: Mixed Tape, Nillionaire, Cricket
Bottom row: Friskie, 3, Lala

Mixed Tape, Nillionaire, Cricket

Friskie, 3, Lala

I really need to stop buying Colourpop Super Shock Shadows.  I now have over thirteen of them, and I keep wanting to buy more simply because they're the most multi-dimensional shimmer shadows I've tried, and they aren't half as messy as the loose pigments which give a similar effect.

I ordered another six to arrive at the office during my most recent visit to the US, and I specifically chose the shimmeriest, most metallic shades I could find in colours I'm pretty sure I'll wear every day.

Mixed Tape is from Colourpop's latest 90s themed collection, and it's a lovely dirty greyed violet which goes nicely with my hazel eyes.  It doesn't have sparkle, but it has a lovely semi-metallic finish.  Nillionaire is a super sparkly brown - the glitter is brown, gold, silver, and even a little bit of dark pewter, and it's a beautifully sparkly take on a very wearable base shade.  Cricket is a metallic mid-plum with silver and purple shimmer.  Friskie was a bit of a risk - black can look too heavy on my hooded lids - but it's gorgeous and easy to wear a little more sheerly.  It's also packed with teal, blue and silver glitter.  3 is another take on a wearable brown, this time with silver and icy blue glitter.  Lala is an insanely metallic coppery gold shade, which to me looks exactly like a penny in the swatch.  On the eye you can wear it this intense, or blend it for a more subtle look.

I really love these shadows (did I mention I like the glitter?), not least because they're very easy to apply - I've tried them with a synthetic brush and with my ring finger, and I think they apply best using fingers.  The slightly bouncy, cream to powder texture makes the shadow very blendable: I usually apply and blend one layer in a sheer wash, then apply a second layer wherever I want more intensity - usually in the centre of the lid.  Gorgeous.  Particularly for a mere $5 each.

Find them at the Colourpop website, and then find a friend to mule you some from the States, STAT.

Disclosure:  Bought by me.

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

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Last minute Black Friday picks

Thanks to Black Friday being somewhat of a recent invention in the UK, there's still time to take advantage of this weekend's discounts to get ahead on your Christmas shopping, or to treat yourself a little!  Here are a few of my favourites.

ASOS are offering 20% off the entire site until 8am on Tuesday morning with the code CYBER.  As well as a great selection of Christmas jumpers and party dresses, you can also get 20% off beauty - including this Stila In The Light palette, normally £25, and this NARS Dual Intensity eyeshadow palette, normally £45.

Clinique are offering a free High Impact mascara with every order over £40 with the code BLACKFRIDAY until midnight tonight.

Liz Earle are offering special prices on many products from their extensive skincare range, such as the limited edition Jasmine and Osmanthus Cleanse & Polish, which comes with two muslin cloths and costs £14 rather than £20.

Feel Unique are offering 15% off everything with the code BLACKFRIDAY15, and have some flash deals throughout the weekend too.  My picks are Naked Smoky (obvs) and this rather lovely looking theBalm matte eyeshadow palette.

GHD are offering £20 off a subset of their range of straighteners and stylers.

Origins are offering a free Checks & Balances Frothy Face Wash, normally £18, with the purchase of any two products.

Ciate are offering 30% off everything on their site, with free delivery on orders over £50.

Nails Inc are offering money off their sets this weekend - including this set of 7 shimmering effect polishes for just £12.

As for me, I'm off to buy that NARS Dual Intensity palette...

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

Friday, 27 November 2015

Quick Pick: Clinique Skinny Meets Chubby Christmas Set

Ample Amber & Skinny Jeans / Lavish Lilac & Petite Plum / Bountiful Beige & Slim Sable
This is the cutest little set from Clinique for Christmas - three mini Chubby Sticks for Eyes, and three mini Skinny Stick eyeliners to go with them.  The shades included are broadly appealing and wearable, with a pop of colour coming from the mid-blue Skinny Jeans eyeliner, and the slightly muted silvery purple of Lavish Lilac.  I've long enjoyed using Chubby Sticks on my eyes for a quick slick of colour; the new Skinny Stick eyeliners are firmly textured but smudgable for a quick bit of definition.  Together, they make for a great low-effort eye.

At £28 from the Clinique website (£2 more expensive at Boots!), it's a great present for a Chubby Stick fan.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Colourpop Matte Lippie Stix - Dazed, I ♥ This, Contempo

Dazed (matte)
I ♥ This (matte)

Contempo (matte)
I've been to the US again.  It was a whirlwind trip, 5 days, staying in a big house with some colleagues, so I didn't even have time to go to Sephora.  So sad.  I did order a big box o'Colourpop before I left though, so I didn't come back empty handed.  Last time I tried Colourpop's Lippie Stix, it was as a part of the Strobing I set I bought - I found the colours too brown for my liking, and never really tried them for longer than a few minutes.  So, of course, I had to buy a few individual shades to try them out properly... and man, I'm hooked.

Dazed is a gloriously vampy deep berry red; I ♥ This is a bright, clean pink toned red; Contempo is a cool toned, slightly greyish mauve pink.  I chose these shades because I was pretty sure they'd work on my skin:  given that you're buying from an online only store, checking out swatches is essential to avoid mistakes.  Luckily, Colorpop have good swatches on their website, and there are plenty online.  And if you do make a mistake, they're only $5 each, so it's not a costly mistake.

Texture wise, they start off a little waxy, but after a couple of applications they're merely a little stiff - no bad thing when each swipe gives you a ton of pigmented colour.  Once on the lip, they feel surprisingly lightweight - there's no sensation of weight or stickiness.  And wow, do they last - I've been applying a single layer in the morning at 7.30am, and finding myself still wearing a slightly softened stain version of the colour at around 3pm.  I reapply to keep the colour vibrant and strong, but if you're happy to have your lips wear from bold to a flush over the course of a day, you don't really need to.

All this at a price of just $5 - I'll definitely be buying more shades.  I'm keen to try the Creme and Sheer varieties next - although there are a fair few more glorious mattes with my name on them...

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Monday, 23 November 2015

Quick Pick: got2b Oil-licious Dry Oil Mist

I've never actually tried any of Schwarzkopf sub-brand got2b's hair products - I'm ashamed to admit I go straight to the more expensive salon brands when I'm looking for a new styling product.  When my hairdresser used it as a finishing product the other day, though, I knew I had to investigate further.

Oil-licious Dry Oil Mist promises to tame flyaways and add shine.  Over the past few weeks I've been using it as a finishing spray to tame my slightly fuzzy ends, and to smooth down frizz, as I'd normally use a regular hair oil.  Instead of distributing a few drops of hair oil through the ends of my hair with my hands, I've been giving my hair a quick spritz with Oil-licious Dry Oil Mist instead.  It works - my hair's left soft, very shiny and a little smoother, and I think it's helping my ends to stay smoother for longer.

What I particularly like is that the mist format is much less error prone than using a neat hair oil.  I sometimes go a bit overboard on oil, ending up having to wash my hair much sooner than usual, but the fine mist format of this product makes it much harder to overload the hair, particularly if you apply it in short bursts.  It's easier to avoid roots, too.  Just bear in mind that despite the claims of argan oil on the packaging, it uses a lot of silicone to give you that smooth, silky feeling.

At just £4.19, it's a cheap and cheerful and very effective way to finish your style.  Find it at Boots.

Disclosure:  Bought by me.

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

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Jolly Good: Clinique Moisture Surge Melting Mask Balm

Clinique have introduced a new skincare format with their new Moisture Surge Melting Mask Balm - I predict solid, portable oils will be a Thing in 2016 as a result.  Billed as a balm, it can be used on dry patches throughout the day, as a ten minute moisture boosting mask, or overnight as an intensive moisturising treatment.

I don't really suffer from specific dry patches all that often, so I've been using it mostly as an overnight treatment.  I'm very, very fond of using oils overnight - I love the smooth, plump, hydrated skin I wake up to in the morning, but I do find them messy - a couple of drops on my fingertips usually ends up mostly on my face, but also on my hands and sometimes on the carpet too.  Melting Mask Balm eliminates all the messiness of oil - I scrape a little bit off the top of the product with my fingernail, warm it on my fingertips, and massage it onto my face - no mess, no drips.  The next morning my skin feels smooth, soft and very well hydrated.

The major benefit of this product is that it turns the humble oil into a portable, easy to use, mess free balm.  I've also been sneakily using it to add a bit of definition to the ends of my hair in a pinch whilst travelling with little hair product - it works pretty damn well.  This little pot is coming with me on every trip abroad from now on.  Find it at Clinique now, where it costs £26.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Thursday, 19 November 2015

L'Oreal Paris Exclusive Pinks Collection - Blake, Helen and Eva's Pink

Left to right:  Blake, Helen, Eva
A couple of years ago, L'Oreal launched a collection of nude lipsticks inspired by eight spokeswomen with differing skintones, and last year they did it with red - this year, they're doing it again, but this time with pink.  On the surface, pink is a less tricky shade to nail than nude - but still, if you're looking for a foolproof option, choosing the spokeswoman who's most similar to you in colouring is an easy thing to do.

I've tried three of the five shades - Eva, which is a peachy mid pink which looks pretty good on my cool toned skin, but is designed to make warm toned skin look brighter; Helen, a super-sheer opalescent pink for a barely there pink effect; and Blake, a bright, orange toned pink for a pop of colour.  All three are nice enough, and I find myself most drawn to Eva, which is odd given that it's meant for warmer skin tones; Helen, I think, is more obviously meant for my colouring, but I find it a little too subtle, verging on insipid.

The lipsticks themselves are lovely - a little waxy and cold on the lip initially, they soon warm up and glide onto the lip with a little resistance, imparting medium pigmentation as they go.  The colour is buildable, and the formula light and hydrating enough to look and feel good for a few hours before they become too dry.

At £6.99, these lipsticks are reasonably priced and offer a quick way to choose a new pink - but they're not quite as revolutionary as I found the nude range.  Find them now at Boots.

Disclosure:  PR samples

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