Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Some recent favourites: products I use every day

Being both a) a beauty blogger and b) incredibly fickle, I receive (and purchase) a lot of products which are nice enough but don't really stick to my day-to-day routine.  There are the odd few products, though, which become indispensible, something I gravitate towards on a daily or weekly basis .  Here's a run down of my current can't-live-withouts.

Kiko Cosmetics is a perpetual favourite thanks to their high performing, low price products - and my absolute favourite from their extensive line has to be these Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadows.  The shade on the right, Golden Brown, is my lazy eyeshadow favourite - slick on, smudge with finger, done.  They last brilliantly, too, and cost a mere £6.90 each.

Clarins Everlasting Foundation+ is a newer discovery, and I wear it four or five times a week, which is a sure sign it's a good 'un.  At £27.50, it's a bit on the expensive side, but the light, glowing finish and budge-proof wear makes it totally worth it, particularly if, like me, you put your makeup on at 7am and expect it to still look good at 7pm.

I'm amazed that I'm still using this teeny tiny tube of Amazing Concealer.  Pigment wise, it's stunning - I just touch the top of the tube and pat the tiny amount of concealer over dark circles, spots and other blemishes for great coverage which wears really well.  I don't use it every day, just when I'm a bit spotty or a bit overly tired looking, and my 6ml tube is still going strong 7 months later, making it totally worth the £19.50 cost.

My hair may be more red/pink than bright pink, but I'm still using Revlon's Pink lip liner on my brows, and I still buy a tube or two every time I see them in Boots.  People still compliment me on my perfectly matched brows.  I can see this being a love affair that lasts a long, long time.

Finally, a product I reviewed almost three years ago, which is still a regular part of my beauty routine.  The Red Carpet Manicure Pro kit includes everything you need to get a shiny gel manicure in around forty minutes, with the results lasting a good two weeks before the gaps between the polish and the cuticles becomes too big.  Previously I used it before every holiday or business trip away - now I use it nearly continuously, as I don't really have time in the evenings to paint my nails.  I still love the kit - it's still going strong with plenty of base and top coat, and I've amassed a small collection of colours I'm happy to wear for two weeks straight.

What are your long term favourites?  Let me know in the comments!

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

Sunday, 29 March 2015

BUY THIS NOW: Max Factor Creme Puff Blush in Nude Mauve and Lavish Mauve

Nude Mauve, Lavish Mauve
Nude Mauve, Lavish Mauve
Lavish Mauve
Two things you need to know about Max Factor's new Creme Puff Blush - one, there's nothing creamy nor puffy about them, and two, they're some of the most natural-skin-finish blushes I've ever tried.

Nude Mauve and Lavish Mauve are both cool toned shades with mauve undertones - Nude Mauve has a more tawny tone to it, and Lavish Mauve is more pinky-mauve.  Both suit my cool toned pale skin very well.  Even better, the texture of these blushes is so soft that the finish on the skin is incredibly natural - they contain a smattering of super fine shimmer which leaves a naturally glowing finish.

I've long been a fan of baked blushes - some of my favourite ever blushes are Laura Geller's baked blushes - but typically they've been the domain of higher-end brands, coming with a price tag to match.  These Creme Puff blushes are a great example of a high-performance high street baked option, and they cost a mere £8.99, making them a brilliant purchase for anyone looking for soft, super natural colour with a subtle glow.  Which is everyone, really.  Hence why you should immediately go out and buy at least one now.  I've got my eye on Gorgeous Berries for the next time I pass a Boots.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Friday, 27 March 2015

Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet - New Spring Shades Beau Brun, Don't Pink Of It,So and So Hap'pink

Left to right:  Beau Brun, Don't Pink Of It, So Hap'pink

Beau Brun

Don't Pink Of It

So Hap'pink

Bourjois have added three new shades to their already comprehensive Rouge Edition Velvet lineup for spring.  Beau Brun is a surprisingly deep brown shade with red tones (which handily prevent it from being too 1990s), Don't Pink Of It is a soft, pale, neutral pink which I imagine will be paired with smoky eyes up and down the land, and So Hap'pink is a bright, neutral toned pink shade with a slightly beige undertone, putting it firmly halfway between a bright lip and a my-lips-but-better shade.

So Hap'pink is my favourite of the three - it's a bright, fresh pop of colour which isn't too bright, and it works brilliantly with the matte finish.  Don't Pink Of It, conversely, looks a little bit chalky with that matte finish, and is my least favourite.

As always, Rouge Edition Velvet costs a reasonable £8.99 from Boots and all the regular high street stockists.

Disclosure: PR samples

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

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara

Can a mascara ever be better than sex?  I dunno, I guess it depends on how much quality sex you've had in your life.  The packaging makes some (presumably) sly and ironic claims - 1,944% more volume is a bit of a long shot for anything, but Too Faced's cheekily named mascara is definitely good, sex comparisons aside.  It combines a slightly thick, inky black formula with a traditional bristle brush to give excellent length and volume, with good lift too.

The brush is a strange beast - made of traditional bristles rather than the more modern spiky plastic we've come to know and love, it's shaped a bit like a dog bone - it tapers in the middle (apparently mimicking the shape of a woman's body).  It seems a bit counter intuitive, but actually it works rather well, with the tapering supporting the curve of the lashline and allowing you to wiggle the brush from the very roots of the lashes.

I find I have to work fast - this stuff can clump if you don't actively wiggle and stroke before it dries - but a little bit of work gives full, lush lashes which don't smudge or flake.  A major benefit of the lack of spiky plastic is that I find I poke myself much less with this brush than I do, say, Benefit's They're Real.

Is it better than sex?  No.  But it's still a rather nice mascara, particularly if you're a fan of volume and curl.  Find it now at BeautyBay, where it costs a spendy but not exorbitant £19.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Monday, 23 March 2015

Urban Decay Moondust Eyeshadow in Cosmic, Ether, Solstice and Scorpio

Urban Decay have added four new shades to their Moondust Eyeshadow range for spring, and very pretty they are too.  Although, not very spring like, because they're not a) pastel b) soft and shimmery c) polished neutrals.

Packaged in Urban Decay's statement New York subway token compacts, they're at once sturdy and lightweight.

Clockwise from top left:  Scorpio, Ether, Solstice and Cosmic

Clockwise from top left:  Scorpio, Ether, Solstice and Cosmic

The shadows themselves are, as ever, ultra sparkly, with a glitter finish which isn't at all chunky, rather using fine particles for what Urban Decay describe as a 3D finish.  Obviously, no-one has 2D eyelids, so take that with a pinch of salt.

Left to right:  Scorpio, Ether, Cosmic, Solstice
Scorpio is a matte black with gold sparkle, and it makes for a great smoky eye with a twist.  Ether is a gorgeous plum-purple base with purple, lilac and pewter sparkle - just the kind of shade that makes the green in my eyes pop.  Cosmic is the least exciting of the four - it's a shimmering white with white-gold and silver sparkle.  Wearable enough, but nowhere near the statement that the other shades are.

Of these four shades, Solstice is the one that calls to me - it's a lovely, reddish pinky brown base with a stunning light green shimmer which flips from barely there to POW GREEN as you move around.  This red/green duochrome shift is nothing new - I have a few nail polishes with this exact shift - but this is one of the better eyeshadow versions I've seen.

It's also surprisingly wearable, being essentially a warm brownish base, with added interest from the green sparkle.  It catches the light delicately and pairs well with neutral blusher and pink lipstick for a polished but not boring look.

The formula of Moondust Eyeshadow means that you'll get fall out regardless of whether you apply with a brush or your fingers, and if you look carefully at the photo above you'll see I've got a smattering of greenish glitter under my eyes.  It's not awful, though, and I've found that using a firm bristled brush and dabbing rather than blending the colour makes for less fall out.  You can also slightly dampen the brush for a slightly more intense finish, and even less fall out.

All in all, these shadows are glorious if you love a bit of sparkle - Solstice is my pick for unique, wearable glitter which plays nicely with stronger lip shades.  At £14 each, these shadows are expensive, but for the beauty and uniqueness of the finish, I think they're worth it, particularly for shades like Solstice and Ether.  Find them now at the Urban Decay website.

Disclosure:  PR samples

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

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Ole Henriksen Fresh Start Eye Creme

I bought this little tub of goodness in Sephora, having arrived in the States for a work trip only to discover that my eye cream had separated and gone weird during the flight.  I asked one of the skincare specialists to recommend a simple hydrating eye cream which wouldn't be too heavy, and I was pointed firmly towards Ole Henriksen's Fresh Start, specifically because it's super hydrating whilst being lightweight, and because the 28ml pot gives you a lot of cream for your money.  I paid $38, a cost similar to a 15ml pot of eye cream from the likes of Clinique or Estee Lauder.

I'm so, so glad I happened upon this cream.  Often I find that eye products can overload the delicate skin around my eyes, leaving them a little too slick or product-y, requiring powder atop my concealer.  This cream, though, is the most lightweight thing I've ever applied - the texture may be a medium thickness cream, but once applied under the eyes, it sinks in immediately and leaves no residue, just well hydrated, soft skin.

Honestly, I can't see a massive difference in terms of lines or dark circles, but if you're looking for a good, simple cream to hydrate your eye area, this one can't be beat.  Find it at BeautyBay, where it costs a rather disproportionate-to-the-dollar-price £31.

Disclosure:  Purchased by me.

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

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Bourjois Colorband 2-in-1 Eyeshadow & Liner

I've been using these Bourjois Colorband sticks for a couple of weeks new and I just can't make my mind up about them.  The have reasonable colour payoff, are good and smudgy, and set down to an unbudgable finish - even on my oily eyelids they remain true for six hours without primer, which is pretty damn impressive.  With primer, they hold all day without fading a bit.

I think the thing I'm less fond of is how they look and feel on the eye - finish and skin texture wise, rather than colour payoff.  The 24 hour hold claim is made possible by a finish which is pretty dry and almost a bit solid - once set, my eyelid feels a bit tight and very much like it has product all over it.  Add my hooded lids into the mix and the result is a little bit uncomfortable.

Luckily, this is pretty easily avoided by not using the sticks as eyeshadow, but as mega-chunky liners instead.  The black is fabulous for this - if you like a smudgy, smoky rock chick eye, this is an easy way of getting that look, and having it last.  The silver is also tremendously flattering and a little less intense all around the eye.

Overall, then, I think these sticks lose a little in terms of comfortable wear thanks to their supreme wear time - fine if you're using it as a liner, less so if you're using it as a shadow.  I can only imagine that that discomfort is more noticeable on drier eyelids, too.  For an easy, chunky and cheap eyeliner though, the silver and black shades are brilliant.  Find them now at Boots, where the cost a thoroughly reasonable £5.99.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Bite Beauty BB for Lips in Dolce

Here's another thing I really didn't need but bought anyway at Sephora whilst in the States on a work trip.  Starting to sound a bit familiar?  I just can't help myself when I'm away for work - I try to lighten up the long hours by buying unnecessary makeup, and this one, whilst unnecessary, is still very lovely and quite unlike anything else I have in my lipstick drawer.

Bite Beauty's BB for Lips is a super hydrating, creamy lipstick with a bit of a tint.  Well, a bit more of a tint, Dolce (which looks dark purple in the tube) gives a not-too-sheer, juicy plum tint which is actually a little bit vampy without being all out goth.  The texture is my favourite part of it - soft, buttery, creamy, a little bit waxy at the same time - it's a texture more usual in lipstick than treatment tints.  Most of my other tinted balms are, well, balmy.

It's pretty, super hydrating, and wears well, sticking around for a couple of hours before fading evenly away.  For a treatment product, I'm very impressed - it's up there with Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments as a lip treatment product which doesn't compromise on colour.

Now for the sad news.  Bite Beauty is pretty impossible to get hold of in the UK.  Thankfully Sephora now ship to the UK, so this'll cost you £17.17 (including import duties) - expensive, but rather worth it in my opinion.

Disclosure:  Purchased by me.

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

Monday, 16 March 2015

Clinique Aromatics in White

Clinique have released a new take on their iconic fragrance, Aromatics Elixir.  Aromatics Elixir is a bit polarising some people (like me) love its heavy, aromatic, spicy scent, and others find it entirely too overpowering.  Aromatics in White is a different beast altogether - it opens up with a burst of white flowers and pepper, then dries down to a soft, almost powdery amber fragrance which has a gentle waft of spicy aromatics, but mellowed with musk and vanilla.  All in all, it's a warm, comforting fragrance with a distinct air of mellow mystery, and far less of a smack about the nose than Aromatics Elixir is.  Aromatics in White costs £55 for 50ml - not cheap, but not awfully expensive either, particularly for something more complex and unusual than your average high street fragrance.

To celebrate it's launch, Clinique has also launched Long Last Glosswear lip gloss in Crystallized (a sheer, shimmering gold) and a limited edition, rather gorgeous eyeshadow palette.  The palette is an absolute triumph for anyone who hankers after warm neutrals - shades of copper play beautifully with toasty neutrals and golden khakis.  Gorgeous.  £30, but six shadows - still gorgeous.

Disclosure: PR sample
This post originated at www.londonbeautyreview.com. If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

GOSH Forever Lip Shine in Fluffy Feeling, Spring Fling, and My Valentine

Oh look!  A crayon style lipstick!  How original.

Original or not, GOSH's Forever Lip Shines are a great budget crayon option - and they pack more of a punch, pigment wise, than you'd think.  They're also a little slimmer than the Crayon That Inspired A Hundred Launches, taking up a little less space in your handbag, but feeling a tiny bit less substantial as a result.

Fluffy Feeling, Spring Fling, My Valentine
Fluffy Feeling
Spring Fling

My Valentine
The three shades I tried out are Fluffy Feeling, an adorably named nude/pink, Spring Fling, a glorious pink/coral, and My Valentine, a classic blue toned red.  Fluffy Feeling is a lovely nude shade - I like my nudes with a hint of pink to avoid washing my pale skin out, and it's just perfect.  The biggest surprise of the bunch was My Valentine - talk about pigment!  The swatch above is with a good single pass over the lips, and the coverage is that of a lipstick rather than a glossy crayon.

Wear wise, Forever Lip Shine is impressive - I get five or so hours of colour before it fades away entirely, with the glossy finish disappearing between one and two hours after application.  The textures are somewhere between balmy and waxy - there's enough substance to make them feel a bit weighty on the lip, but they're in no way uincomfortable.

At just £6.99 each, these little sticks are a great budget lip alternative - and they're currently buy-one-get-one-half-price at Superdrug, making it all the more appealing to pick up a handful.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Saturday, 14 March 2015

MUA Spring Break Palette

Makeup Academy, or Mooooo-uh, as I like to call them, are a brilliant brand to turn to if you're looking to experiment with new colours on the cheap.  Their latest spring collection contains one of their gloriously cheap and surprisingly well pigmented palettes - this latest one is called Spring Break.  It avoids the usual matte pastels, which most brands seem to turn to for spring, rather going for soft, flattering neutrals paired with equally soft and flattering pops of gentle colour.

MUA also sent me one of the new Spring lipstick shades, Barely There, which is a very pale beige which made me look like a corpse.  So we'll gloss over that.

Texture wise, these shadows are surprisingly soft and blendable for a palette which costs a mere £4.  Some of the shades are a little on the powdery, crumbly side, and you'll definitely need a primer to get them to stay in place all day.  Of the twelve shades, most are shimmer finish, with a couple of matte and sheen shades thrown in.

The top row boasts plenty of fresh neutral shades, with a lovely matte pink-brown on the left and a surprisingly soft golden copper in the middle.  Second from the end is a lovely icing pink with a dusty, beige base, which is absolutely perfect for that polished, subtle look.

The bottom row has a little more colour to it, but I was pleased to find that the pale green, khaki and purple shades on the right hand side were soft rather than full on - they're a very wearable take on colour.  That khaki shade in particular will be incredibly flattering on brown and blue eyes.

Granted, the packaging is cheap - there's no mirror, the plastic is thin and brittle rather than chunky and heavy - but this palette really delivers if you're looking for a soft spring look which isn't pastel.  Particularly for a mere £4!  Find it now at the MUA website.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Friday, 13 March 2015

Kiko Cool Touch Eyeshadow in Innovative Pink

This eyeshadow from Kiko is a weird one.  The texture is cool, silky like a cream, almost watery-silky, and yet it's also a powder.  HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?  Science.  Pretty, pretty science.  So science-y is this product that it has an inner cap inside the casing to stop the eyeshadow's unique water based texture from drying out.

Science aside, Cool Touch eyeshadow is an absolute pleasure to apply - either with a fingertip or a firmly bristled synthetic brush - it blends smoothly and evenly across the eyelid, with a delightfully cooling texture.

The shade I have here, Innovative Pink, isn't all that innovative at all - it's a bright, light pink which reads as very white/silver on my cool pale skin.  Luckily there are seven other shades available, including the very pretty looking Ingenious Taupe.

If you'd like to try something a bit different, you'll find Cool Touch eyeshadows at the Kiko website, where they cost a very reasonable £8.90.  I'll be picking up Ingenious Taupe and hoarding it for summer, when I expect the cooling texture will be glorious on a warm summer's morning.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

BUY THIS NOW: Urban Decay Sheer Revolution Lipstick

Urban Decay are doing a very un-Urban Decay like thing for Spring 2015 - releasing sheer lipsticks.  Luckily for us, these aren't sheer lipsticks in the usual vein of light on pigment, basically a tinted balm - they're just sheer versions of UD's insanely pigmented Revolution line.

The metallic ludicrously-shiny-and-fingerprint-magnet packaging is the same as the original Revolution lipsticks, albeit with a light lilac tone rather than the moody gunmetal of the full pigment version.  They're still a bugger to photograph, they still stand out amongst the anonymous black/gold/silver tubes in my lipstick bag, and they're still seriously pretty and weighty in the hand.

Left to right: Sheer Ladyflower, Sheer Streak, Sheer F-Bomb, Sheer Shame, Sheer Walk of Shame,
Sheer Liar, Sheer Anarchy, Sheer Obsessed
I still think that the bullet shape is too large to be easy to apply - even on my full lips, I have to contort my hand a bit to make sure I don't go over the edges of my lips.

Shade wise, there are 10 in the lineup overall, compared to 20 in the full-pigment Revolution line.  Some of the shades are muted versions of those in the Revolution lineup, and some are entirely new, so if you already have a favourite you might find that there's a muted version to match - true for one of my favourites, Shame.

Sheer Ladyflower
Sheer Streak
Sheer F-Bomb
Sheer Shame
Sheer Walk of Shame
Sheer Liar
Sheer Anarchy
Sheer Obsessed
Looking at these swatches, I can put my finger on exactly what I love about these lipsticks - they're not actually all that sheer.  They're medium pigment, easy-wearing colour - they'd probably count as a full pigment lipstick for some other brands, but for UD they're soft and sheer, compared as they are to the quite frankly insanely pigmented Revolution lipsticks - If you compare my original swatches of Revolution in Shame, you can see the difference.

They feel substantial on the lips, slightly waxy but still buttery and comfortable with a lovely glossy finish which lasts for a couple of hours before it softens down and fades away.  The colour itself sticks to the lips for much longer, but if you want to maintain a strong, glossy finish, you'll need to top up every couple of hours.  I particularly like that my lips feel pretty good after application - they're not particularly dry, nor do they feel like they've been wearing lip balm.

For me, the standout shades are F-Bomb, Shame, Ladyflower and Liar - a good mix of lovely neutrals and deeper shades, all of which give a good smack of colour without being overbearing, and which don't require the level of maintenance Revolution does.  Find them now at Urban Decay counters, and online at the Urban Decay website.

Disclosure: PR samples

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