Thursday, 30 April 2015

Models Own Hyperlips Lipglosses and Semi-Matte Lipsticks

I generally equate Models Own with bang on trend cheap nail polish, and while I've tried a couple of their makeup offerings, I hadn't realised quite how big their lip range is.  I've got four shades each of two of their core lip range - Hyperlips Lipgloss and Semi Matte Lipstick.  Both are £4.99 a pop, making them pretty cheap even by high street standards, and both are available in ten shades.

First, let's take a look at the Hyperlips Lipgloss.  I like the simple square tube, and the coloured cap makes it easy to find the right shade if you own a few.  The application is pretty simple - just a standard, firm doe's foot applicator.

Fuchsia Flush
Fuchsia Flush isn't actually all that fuschia - instead, it's a milky, blue toned pink.

Ruby Red
Ruby Red is lovely classic red, leaning a little bit raspberry.  It's fairly pigmented, as you can see from my top lip, where I appear to have applied the gloss rather haphazardly onto my actual face.

Warm Orange
Yes, orange.  Very orange.  Also quite pigmented.

Premier Plum
Premier Plum is actually a my-lips-but-better shade on me, probably because my cool skin and slightly blue tinged lips make any plum shade look like a neutral pink.  Either way, this one is pretty light on pigment too.

Texture wise... these are the stickiest glosses I've ever tried.  Well, maybe apart from MAC Lipglass, when I was having my MAC Obsession (I think everyone has one of those at some point).  Anyway, if you like your glosses plush and smooth and silky, this isn't for you.  If you like your glosses stickier than glue and very long lasting, they're definitely for you.

The Semi-Matte lipsticks are also pretty cute in their tubes, with brightly coloured bottoms and a clear casing which shows you the colour at the base.  Initially, I was very, very put off by the way the lipsticks look in the tube - rather than being glossy and pretty, they look a bit dry and rubbery, and Miami Heat on the right with the yellow cap looks a little sweaty and oily.  Still, I took one for the team and tried them out.

Burgundy Wine
Burgundy Wine is a lovely vampy shade, saved from being overbearing by a good amount of red in what's otherwise a deep plum shade.

Hot Fuchsia
I'm beginning to think Models Own have a very variable idea of what fuchsia looks like - this is much more of a cool mid-rose pink on me.

Flamingo Red
Flamingo Red is a really pretty low key red - it's a bit muted, and leans slightly pink to boot.

Miami Heat
Miami Heat has a more orangey red vibe, and a little more shimmer in the finish than Flamingo Red.

Pigmentation on all of the Semi-Matte lipsticks was surprisingly good - two passes over the lips left them with beautifully opaque colour, and a glorious finish - it's not too matte, and not at all glossy.  The lips are left looking like healthy lips wearing a lovely rich colour, nothing too overblown in the finish at all.  Add a really plush, silky texture to that finish, and we're on to a winner - I've been surprised by how much I've enjoyed wearing these lipsticks, and that's saying something for someone who has a bit of a thing for expensive lipstick.

The only downside is the wear time - I get a good few hours, but after that they're pretty faded and the finish is a little dry and less vibrant.

So, the verdict?  If you like a good lipstick, the Semi-Matte lipsticks are a great budget bet - they definitely punch above their £4.99 pricetag.  I personally hated the glosses because of the stickiness, but if you're prepared to sacrifice your hair, anything you eat, and possibly any kisses from your other half in the name of gloss, they really do last the distance.

Disclosure: PR samples

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

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

DHC Face Wash Powder

DHC, Japanese skincare brand, has launched a new and innovative cleanser - meet Face Wash Powder.  Presented in a cute pale blue bottle, you pour out a fine white powder, mix with water in your hands, and then wash your face with the foamy lather that results.

Powder washes aren't a new thing in Japan - and indeed, I've long been a fan of one of the West's favourite powder products, Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant.  That said, this one is sold as more of a cleanser than an exfoliant, and it gets the skin squeaky clean via the use of enzymes, which do add an exoliating action too.

Overall, I think this stuff is too high powdered (geddit?) to use on my skin every day - I find it hugely refreshing but a little drying, and I'm not a fan of the squeaky clean thing at all.  That said, I've been using it a couple of times a week and my skin has definitely needed less in the way of manual exfoliation since I started using it.

Oh, and major benefit - the powder formula means it's great for travel, since it's not a liquid til you use it.  Unless Customs ask you hard questions about the white powder you're travelling with, of course...

Find it now at the DHC website, where it costs a very reasonable £9.50.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Monday, 27 April 2015

Bourjois La Laque Nail Lacquer in 12 Ni Vernis Bleu

It's been a while since I posted about nail polish using my own nails, mostly because they've been a bit ragged in the cuticle area recently - I'm a bit stressed at work and can't stop nibbling.  So please excuse the cuticles here.  Cuticles aside, this is one of the best new nail polishes I've tried recently - it's got a thick, spreadable texture which gives you a smooth coating of colour quickly, and it wears like iron - I got five days out of this manicure with no wear at all, which is a long time for such a bright, clean turquoise with a cream finish/

The only downside is the shape of the bottle - it's got a lovely curved front with a triangular protrusion at the back, making it look somewhat like a wedge of cheese from the top (mmm, cheese).  It's certainly very stylish and attractive, but I found the cap pretty difficult to get a grip on, particularly given the super shiny, super smooth plastic.

Still, this is a great little polish, and it's launching in May with some really bright, popping summer shades.  And as usual for Bourjois, it's well priced, too - a mere £6.95 a bottle.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster for Body

Last year, Clarins released a genius tanning product - Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster, a self tan concentrate you could mix with your favourite facial moisturiser for a gradual tan effect.  It was so successful, they've launched a body version this year.

It comes in a slightly larger 30ml bottle, and Clarins have helpfully given it a bronze metallic cap and bottom, so it contrasts nicely against the original face version - useful if you own both to avoid accidentally putting the body one on your face (it's a bit stronger).  The premise is the same, though - pop some body cream in your hand, squeeze four to six drops of tanner into it, mix it up, and apply.

The two major benefits are that you can control the amount of self tan that goes into your cream - scaredy cats like me can use two or three drops and be cautious - and also that you can keep using whatever body product works for you.

At £26, it's a bit more expensive than the original £18 face version, but you do get double the amount, so it works out a little cheaper.  And for the customisation potential, it's a totally worthwhile price for me.  Find it now at the Clarins website, and on counter.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Friday, 24 April 2015

Kiko Cream Crush Eyeshadow in Pearly Violet and Pearly Electric Blue

Kiko have released a new line of cream eyeshadows, Cream Crush, which comes in a staggering sixteen shades and claims bold colour and long wear - ten hours of wear, in fact.

Pearly Violet and Pearly Electric Blue certainly look bold in the pot, but looks can be deceiving...

Swatched, they're not actually as insanely pigmented as I'd feared - and indeed, a single application dabbed on with a finger and blended out gives a soft wash of colour.

Being impatient, I applied Pearly Violet over the top of a shimmering neutral shadow I was already wearing, and you can see that Pearly Violet isn't actually all that shimmery - it's got a slightly glowing finish, but blended out it's certainly not sparkly.

You can, of course, build up the colour by applying it in layers, and by using a firm bristled synthetic brush to paint it on, rather than sheering it out with your fingers.  But actually, I quite like the more subtle sheered effect, which makes these colours more wearable, particularly next to pink eyebrows (although that problem might just affect me!).

The creamy, almost mousse-y texture isn't likely to last long on anyone with somewhat oily lids, but luckily primer helps save the day - with primer, I get the promised ten hours and then some.  My only gripe is that the pots are a little on the small side - it's not a problem of being stingy, as there's plenty of product per pot, but it does make it slightly harder to get your finger into the pot to pick up colour, particularly if you have longish nails.  Easily solved with a brush, though.

As usual for Kiko, these little pots of colourful joy are very reasonably priced at a mere £6.90 each.  Perfect for a little colour experimentation for spring.  Find them now at the Kiko website.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Indeed Labs Fillume Moisturiser and Serum

Fillume is the latest launch from Indeed Labs, and it makes some pretty bonkers claims.  It is, apparently, a volumising moisturiser, designed to plump out the skin and improve facial contours, all in a bid to target the appearence of 'subtle facial volume loss'.  I don't really know what 'subtle facial volume loss' actually is - the only loss of volume my face suffers is when I stop talking (usually because I'm eating or drinking wine).  Luckily though, the plumping and hydrating effects sound nice enough.

Anyway, confusion over volume aside, there are two products in the lineup - a moisturiser, packaged in that glorious sealed pump pot thing Indeed are so good at; and a serum, packaged in a simple squeezy tube.  The serum is a very lightweight affair - it spreads easily over the skin and sinks in quickly, leaving no residue behind.  The moisturiser is a little heavier, as you'd expect - it takes a bit of massage for it to sink in fully, and it does leave a bit of residue behind.  Nothing awful, though, and I've actually found it to be a pretty useful residue when I apply a dryish foundation directly on top of it.

I've been using both products for about a month now, and I reckon that you can sod all this volume nonsense, and just look at these two products as extremely effective at moisturising and plumping the skin.  My skin feels lovely and smooth, and remains hydrated thoughout the day - a little too effectively with the serum as well as the moisturiser in fact, as I've found I get a little shiny, so I've been sticking to using the serum at night.

They're also reasonably inexpensive too - £24.99 for the moisturiser, which is worth it for the moisturising effects and the spill and contamination proof packaging, and £29.99 for the serum, which in the grand scheme of things isn't too expensive for a hydrating serum.  If you suffer from dehydrated or dry skin, these are definitely worth a try.

Disclosure:  PR samples

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

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Clarins Aquatic Treasures Summer Bronzing Compact 2015

You know it's nearly summer when Clarins release one of their annual Summer Bronzing Compacts.  This year's offering is absolutely beautiful - a delicately embossed bronzing powder in four shades, entirely matte, packaged in an amber compact with an inlaid pattern which catches the light beautifully.

It's almost, almost too beautiful to use.  And I haven't quite yet brought myself to use it.  But I know that when I do, it'll have a lovely soft texture, the colour will be buildable and not at all orange, and this year it's entirely matte, which is lovely if you don't want that overly shimmery, glowing summer skin which doesn't look quite right on anyone above 30.

At £30, it's an expensive bronzer - but it's utterly beautiful, almost collectible, and will easily take you through the whole season with a subtle, skin-enhancing bronze.  It launches in May, just in time for the warmer weather - I know I'll be using mine all summer long.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Sunday, 19 April 2015

BUY THIS NOW: Illamasqua Gel Colour in Charm

"WHAT IS THAT?" is what my husband said when I pulled Illamasqua's latest release from its post bag.  "Is it face paint?"  And indeed, you would be forgiven for being bloody terrified of this stuff if you casually opened the cap on counter - it's bright, bright orange, and if I didn't know that it had a sheer finish and a very light gel texture, it's the kind of thing I'd immediately put back down again because it's for Braver People Than Me.

The swatch above is pretty heavy, and even so it's a pleasingly sheer, punchy apricot colour - blended into the cheeks it wakes the whole face up, adding brightness and colour without going overboard and without any kind of glitter or shine on the finish.  The gel texture applies beautifully smoothly from the stick, and feels wonderfully cooling, like sticking your face in a sinkful of cool water on a hot day.

I love this product for a couple of reasons - because it's subtle yet buildable, but still somehow natural on the skin despite its orangeness, because it blends beautifully with your fingers (no tools required) and also because it lasts brilliantly well - the whole day, in fact.  Perfect for the warmer weather which is (hopefully) on it's way.

Illamasqua Gel Colour is also available in Fluster, a pink shade, and Silhouette, a brown designed for contouring.  They cost £22 each - spendy, but a tiny bit goes a long, long way.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Friday, 17 April 2015

Kiehl's Precision Lifting & Pore-Tightening Concentrate

This new serum from Kiehl's claims a lifting and tightening effect, going as far as to claim that pores are visibly tightened and reduced after use.  I've been trialling it for a good month now, and whilst I don't see any obvious visual effect on my pores, I have seen an improvement in the smoothness and firmness of my skin overall.

The serum has a light, fluid texture which feels incredibly silky as you smooth it over the skin.  It absorbs very quickly, leaving skin feeling slightly more hydrated and very, very smooth - it feels almost like a part serum, part primer affair, such is the smoothness left behind on the skin.  I've tried it out with a variety of moisturisers on top, and it's worked well with all of them - not a bit of product overload or piling in sight.

If your concern is pores, this is a great way to smooth the skin out before applying foundation - I found that regardless of the moisturiser I put on top of it, this serum left my skin smooth enough that foundation was a breeze to apply, and didn't gather in the pores around my nose like it sometimes does.  The added firmness and suppleness is a bonus.

The only thing I dislike about this product is the packaging - the pump action, brown tinted bottle keeps the product inside safe from contamination, but the lack of a cap means that the pump can get clogged up with dried up product between morning and night, which has led to me accidentally squirting serum at the wall in the evening.  Nothing majorly off-putting, but it does require you to be a little more careful to avoid any pump mishaps.

At £49 for 50ml, Precision Lifting & Pore-Tightening Concentrate is a bit on the spendy side, but luckily two pumps day and night will leave your face feeling fabulous without speeding through the bottle - I've been using mine twice a day for a month, and it's still half full.  Find it at the Kiehl's website now.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Bourjois Rouge Edition Aqua Laque in 01 Appechissant, 08 Babe Idole, 07 Fuchsia Perche & 06 Feeling Reddy

Bourjois have added to their ever popular Rouge Edition range, adding a pigmented, cooling gloss by the name of Aqua Laque.

Packaged in similar square tubes to everyone's favourite matte Rouge Edition Velvet, albeit with a shiny lid, Aqua Laque has a firm doe's foot applicator to help you apply the gloss evenly to the lips.

Texture wise, they're incredibly lightweight - the exact opposite of the traditional heavy, sticky gloss a la MAC Lipglass.  They have a strangely cooling effect when you first apply them, and remain light and slick whilst you wear them.

01 Appechissant
08 Babe Idole

07 Fuchsia Perche

06 Feeling Reddy
Appechissant and Babe Idole are medium opacity glosses, with a good slick of colour without being full on.  Fuchsia Perche and Feeling Reddy are the opposite, providing a massive smack of colour alongside the shiny, wet finish.

Whilst I absolutely love the lightweight, non-sticky, water-cool texture, I think Aqua Laque suffers from two problems.  Firstly, the less pigmented shades like Appechissant and Babe Idole can be a little patchy when first applied, and need a good smush of the lips to get them to even out.  Even then, the colour can sit in the lines of the lips.  Secondly, wear time - granted, these are glosses, lightweight glosses at that - they're never going to stick around forever.  But given that the rest of the Rouge Edition line (both Velvet and the original lipsticks) are so damn good at sticking to your lips like glue, I was disappointed to find that I get barely an hour of full colour and gloss before my lips soften down into a muted, washed out version of what I originally applied.

Overall, then, these are well worth a shot if you're looking for a colourful, glossy, cooling pout this summer - but don't expect them to last an age.  As always, they're very reasonably priced at just £8.99 each.  Find them at now.

Disclosure:  PR samples

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

Monday, 13 April 2015

Surprisingly Wearable: OCC Metallic Lip Tar in Role Play

I've long been a fan of OCC's Lip Tars for their high pigmentation and long lasting powers.  The new metallic versions... well, I've been a bit scared to try them, fearing that OCC's penchant for intensity would make for an extremely metallic finish, more robot lip than I was prepared to wear.

They're actually much more subtle than that - the metallic finish is a richer, deeper tone-on-tone metallic effect than the usual silver or gold foil-y overlay.  I'm wearing Role Play, a metallic red which catches the light prettily and gives a really nice alternative to the usual matte cream reds I usually wear.

As you can see, this formula is still very susceptible to feathering - I'm not wearing lip liner in the above photo, and I really should have done.  Feathering aside, the colour lasts well just as the original Lip Tars do.  As always, the pigmentation means that you need the tiniest dot for full, opaque colour, meaning that one £13 tube of Lip Tar should last you a very, very long time.  Find it now at Cocktail Cosmetics.

Disclosure:  Bought by me at Sephora in Palo Alto.

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

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Erborian CC Creme HD

One of Erborian's better known lines includes their CC and BB creams - Sarah wrote about their BB cream a couple of years back - and today I have their CC cream to show you.  Where the BB cream has a light, almost ashy cool colour to it, the CC Cream is colourless straight out of the tube, promising to adapt to your skintone as you rub it in.

If you look carefully at this photo, you can see flecks of pigment in the predominantly white cream.

As I start to rub it into my hand, the pigment starts to show itself.  And it's looking a little bit dark for my pale skin.

Err, yup.  Fully developed, the colour is too dark and too warm for me - if your skintone is warm, olive-y, and medium toned Caucasian, this might match you.  Otherwise, you're out of luck.

Texture wise, it's very light and feels hydrating, and even the badly matched hand swatch shows a finish which is surprisingly natural - it's not overly matte, nor is it dewy.  Nice, if it matches your skintone.

Costing £36 at Space NK, it's undoubtedly expensive, although given that lovely texture, and that Sali Hughes has recently raved about it, it's sure to sell out.  If you're curious, it's definitely worth popping in to your local Space NK to try it before you buy.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Thursday, 9 April 2015

BUY THIS NOW (if you can): Bourjois Nude Sensation Foundation

When I saw this foundation at the Bourjois launch, I was unimpressed.  Only four shades?  Open pot packaging, inviting germs and nasties?  Slightly passe mousse formula?  Ha.  HA.  (said I).

Yeah, I was totally wrong.

Okay, not entirely wrong, because there are only four shades, and if you're not a pale-to-medium-skinned white person, you won't find a match here.  That's pretty crap.  And the open pot packaging is still a little bit icky, particularly given that the bouncy-mousse formula (definitely more modern than the Maybelline-established mousse trend of yore) invites fingertips, not brushes.

But you know, I'll take all those things for that amazingly lightweight, natural matte but still glowing, soft-focus, surprisingly long lasting finish.  A finger-swipe's worth blends beautifully and silkily across the face (much easier, again, with fingers than with brush), sets down into a velvety matte finish, and stays that way all day.  Which, for a mere £9.99, is very impressive indeed.

If you fit into one of the four available shades (I'm 41, Nude Clair, btw), this stuff is very definitely worth a try.  If not, you should petition Bourjois until they expand the shade range.  Find it now at Feel Unique, who have it exclusively until mid-May, when it'll become available at all the usual stockists.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Clinique Pop Lipstick in Punch Pop, Grape Pop, Cola Pop and Plum Pop

Clinique have a new lipstick out, simply entitled Clinique Pop, and it claims to combine pigmented lipstick with smoothing primer for comfortable all-day colour.  The packaging is a bit of a departure for Clinique, moving away from their instantly recognisable ribbed silver bullet (that sounds dirty, right?) towards a new chic square bullet with a colour coded base.

The lipsticks themselves are indeed high pigment - and in the tube they look almost like plastic, such is the colour intensity, the simple cream finish, and the shine.  On the lips, they look just as good.

Punch Pop
 Punch Pop is a bright, punchy pink with clean, neutral to cool undertones.

Grape Pop
Grape Pop is a very cool toned blue/lilac colour, and whilst I suspect it'd look stunning on darker skin tones, it looks a bit, well, corpse-like on me.

Cola Pop
 The name Cola Pop is a bit misleading - this isn't a true brown, but rather a brown toned brick red.  It's pigmented enough, but not at all overdone - if you want to wear a full pigment red without being all shouty, this one is great.

Plum Pop
Plum Pop, my favourite of the four shades I have, is a lovely neutral lilac-pink which goes straight into my perfect neutral lipstick drawer - I can't stand beige toned nudes, and usually go more for cool pinks to avoid looking washed out.  This is a perfect example of a my-lips-but-better pink.

Texture wise, these lipsticks are buttery as hell, feel lightweight on the lip, and apply very smoothly, giving perfect opaque coverage in one swipe.  They remain smooth and comfortable on the lips for four to five hours, and the colour eventually fades down evenly, although I still had a trace of Plum Pop on my pout a good eight hours after application.

With a staggering 16 shades on offer, a gloriously creamy texture, and good wear, these Clinique Pop lipsticks are a great buy - and at £16, they're not wildly expensive either.  Find them now at Boots, and at the Clinique website and non-Boots Clinique counters from April 17th.

Disclosure: PR samples

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