Monday, 31 August 2015

Clarins 5-Colour Eye Palette in Pretty Day

This Pretty Day palette is a bit of a departure from Clarin's usual golden compacts - instead of the heavy, metallic plastic casing, it sports a cardboard casing which is lightweight in the hand and at once a little more flimsy than I'd like.  The addition of an elastic closure makes it a little more travel suitable, but given a choice, I'd far rather the sturdy packaging of old than this newer version.

Packaging aside, the five shadows within are lovely, just as you'd expect from Clarins.  Pigmentation is medium, giving you the ability to wear the shades as a sheer wash of colour or to build them up, and the finish on all five is lovely - the two matte shades aren't chalky at all, and the shimmer shades have a lovely almost metallic finish to them.

My favourite of the five, unsurprisingly, is the middle shade - a cool beige taupe which goes well with the darkest brown for a shimmering gradient eye (as I'm wearing above).  Although this palette is the day version (there's a Pretty Night available too), the two darker browns can easily smoke a more neutral day look up for the evening.

At £33, Pretty Day is Pretty Expensive - just a fiver more will buy you sturdier packaging, a better brush, and seven more eyeshadows in one of Urban Decay's Naked palettes.  The major difference is in the pigmentation - UD shadows are full on, and these Clarins shadows are more forgiving.  I'm not sure that quite closes the gap, but if it does for you, you'll find these online now.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Friday, 28 August 2015

BUY THIS NOW: KIKO Power Pro Nail Lacquer in 13, 02, 12

Kiko's new nail varnishes are simply stunning!  Power Pro Nail Lacquer is designed to give ultra shiny colour with a long wearing finish - Kiko are claiming up to seven days chip-free wear.  As well as that impressive wear time, they also boast a specially shaped brush and a smooth, easy to apply texture.

Unusually, much of the PR claims are true - the colours are beautifully shiny even without topcoat, the polish glides onto the nail smoothly, helped out by the fan shaped, densely bristled brush, and the wear time is excellent - with topcoat I get about six days before my nails start to chip, impressive given how hard working my hands are.

Alongside all this gloriousness, Power Pro lacquers also have an impressively dense amount of pigment in them - the swatches above are one coat on the red and the bright pink, and two on the pale pink.  The coverage is just brilliant - I can't remember the last time I was so impressed by a nail polish.

All this, and they only cost £4.90, and come in a wide range of 45 shades from brights to pretty neutrals.  I'll definitely be investing in a few more!  Find them at the Kiko website now.

Disclosure:  PR samples

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

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Makeup Forever Aqua Liner in Diamond Turquoise Blue

Makeup Forever are known for their waterproof products - so I was a bit surprised to find that one of their Aqua products is a little lackluster.  Aqua Liner, £16, is a liquid liner with waterproof properties - it has a firm, pointed flocked applicator which allows you to follow the lashline closely to apply a smooth line of colour.

But the line of colour, at least with the Diamond Turquoise Blue variety, is disappointingly sheer.  It's not patchy - a problem often found in this format - but rather just a bit wishy washy.  Layering it up gives it more opacity and a bolder look, but for a brand so known for the quality of their waterproof products, I can't help but be a little disappointed.

That said, once it's on, it's not going anywhere - this swatch took rather a lot of cleansing oil to remove.  I also like that the texture is lighter and less plastic-y than other waterproof liners - it doesn't sit on the skin or peel off in one go.  I've heard that the Diamond shades, which have a slight sparkle to them, are a little less intense than the others, so perhaps this lack of oomph is only a problem for them - but either way, if you're looking for intense colour, go elsewhere.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Monday, 24 August 2015

BUY THIS NOW: Makeup Revolution Iconic Pro 1 Eyeshadow Palette

Ah, Makeup Revolution, creators of very cheap and surprisingly good makeup.  This is one of their latest eyeshadow palettes - I'm not sure what makes it 'iconic' or 'pro' compared to the others, but hey.

Inside the sturdy but lightweight casing, you get sixteen shades - eight matte, eight sparkly - a large and useful mirror, and (dun dun DUUUUUUN) a BRUSH.  An actual double ended brush instead of a foam applicator.  GASP.  It's described as a 'pro' brush, and that's grasping a bit, because it's a bit on the small and stiff side, and pretty much guarantees you have to re-dip the brush and bring it up to your lids multiple times.  But it's not a foam applicator, which makes it infinitely better.  It'll do.

This naming thing has become a bit of a Thing for Makeup Revolution.  I'm not too fond of the plastic sheet which actually names the shadows, because it obscures the lovely makeup within, makes the palette hard to photograph (blogger problem) and when you inevitably lose the insert, how will you name the shade you're raving about to your friends (makeup obsessive problem)?

ANYWAY.  Here are the actual shadows.  I'll label them with their names in the swatches underneath (which go left to right, first row then second row) so you don't have to worry if you lose your plastic insert.  You're welcome.

Ghost, Luna, Must, Enigma
Fade, Drama, Afflicted, Pitch
Need, Dawn, Getter, Breathe
Too Grey, Stage, Addicted, Player
What's surprised me the most is that the matte shades are actually pretty good for such a cheap palette.  I find most cheap matte shadows to be chalky, sheer, and impossible to get a really good result from, and whilst these are still a little sheer, they're not chalky at all - build them up a bit and you'll get a good matte finish and a nice blend.  As you can see in the photo below, where I have applied Luna to the browbone and innner corner, Fade to my lid, Afflicted to the crease, and Pitch to the outer v.

Nice, eh?  It's easy enough to make a good, cheap shimmer shadow, but a well priced and usable matte is a find indeed.

All this costs a mere £6.99, which is one hell of a bargain.  Run, don't walk, to your nearest Superdrug, or buy online from Superdrug or direct from Makeup Revolution.  You'll be impressed, I promise.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Bourjois 1 Seconde Nail Polish in Blue Lagoon, Pink-tude & Palm Peach

These summer colours from Bourjois are perfect for warm weather - their soft, almost-pastel but slightly juicier shades are pretty and bright and probably look great with a tan.  Not that I can really prove that, being incapable of tanning myself.

Anyway, as usual, the 1 Seconde format means very quick application - the brush is wide and fans out to glide colour onto the nail perfectly smoothly in a single stroke.  They dry quickly, and are pretty shiny even without topcoat.  The nail wheel above is sporting two coats, and the colour is perfectly even and opaque.

Find them at Boots, for the usually bargain-tastic price of £5.99.

Disclosure:  PR samples

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

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Surprisingly Bad: REN Rose Centifolia 3-in-1 Micellar Cleansing Water

Since Bioderma reached our shores from France a few years back, everyone and their dog has been formulating micellar waters for us to cleanse our faces with.  REN is no exception, and since my bottle of Bioderma was running low, I thought I'd try their Rose Centifolia micellar water in its place- after all, REN's skincare is generally lovely, and it being from the Rose Centifolia range, it was bound to smell lovely and be a joy to use.

Bad move.  While Bioderma excels at removing stubborn waterproof makeup, the REN micellar struggles to remove it fully, requiring a fairly hard bit of scrubbing as well as multiple applications to fully remove my waterproof mascara, leaving my eyes looking a bit red and raw.  Which is a shame, as I wear waterproof mascara most days.

If you're looking at it as a second cleansing step after an oil cleanse, or a light morning cleanser, then perhaps it's good enough.  But as a lazy person's way of removing makeup, it doesn't have a chance against Bioderma.  It does smell absolutely lovely though.  Find it at FeelUnique, where it costs £13.

Disclosure:  Bought by me.  

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

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

BUY THIS NOW: Clinique Chubby Lash Mascara in Jumbo Jet & Bodacious Black Honey

Jumbo Jet, Bodacious Black Honey
Bodacious Black Honey
I love an aubergine mascara, and the limited edition Bodacious Black Honey version of Clinique's new Chubby Lash mascara ticks all the boxes - looks dark on the lashes, subtly brings out the green in my eyes, and adds tons of volume.  Tick, tick, tick.  Just a shame it's a limited edition, really, as otherwise I'd commit to buying one every few months for the rest of my life - it's that good.

Anyway, looking beyond the sheer wonder of Bodacious Black Honey, Chubby Lash mascara itself is really rather good.  I've found Clinique's existing volumising mascaras to require a good bit of layering before they truly achieve good volume, so I was expecting Chubby Lash to require layering too, but oh no - what you see on my lashes above is a single coat of mascara.  The thick, slightly sticky formula of the mascara works well with the dense, stubby plastic bristles of the brush to add heaps of volume from the first stroke.

The downside is that you need to be a bit careful to avoid stuck-together, clumpy lashes - plenty of wiggling the brush from root to tip will help, as will making sure that the brush is properly wiped off before loading your lashes.

Add good lasting power and a lack of smudging or migrating, and you've got a very good volumising mascara for those who like their lashes as chubby as possible, and who don't mind a bit of brush-wiggling to avoid clumps.  I promise you I'll be using Bodacious Black Honey down to the last possible smidge.  Find Chubby Lash Mascara at Clinique's website, where it costs £17.50 and comes in a few other limited edition shades, including Two Ton Teal, Portly Plum, and Massive Midnight.

Disclosure: PR samples

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

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Deborah Lippmann Earth Angel

Deborah Lippmann's Earth Angel is one of those nail polishes which looks a bit weird in the bottle, but distinctly lovely on the nail, particularly in the sun.  It's described as a dusty rose, but I think the key loveliness here is the cool, brownish beige tinge which makes this a medium pink which actually works beautifully on my pale, cool skin - it's understated without being boring, and there's a tiny hint of coppery shimmer which stops it from being entirely flat.

Because it's a Deborah Lippmann shade, it's expensive - £16!  It does apply beautifully, though, and the opacity is great - this is two coats.  It also lasted pretty well, going about five days on my nails before it started to chip.  Unfortunately it's a Harvey Nichols exclusive in the UK, and they don't seem to have put it online - you'll have to call if you don't live near a Harvey Nichols and you'd like to pick one up.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Winner! Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette

The winner of a brand new Urban Decay Naked Smoky palette is...

Carolyn Montgomery!

Thanks to everyone who entered, and Carolyn, check your email to find out how to get your prize.

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

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Clarins Ombre Matte in Carbon & Heather

Carbon, Heather

It's pretty soon to be talking about autumn makeup ranges, but hey ho, Clarins' autumn range is already live on their site.  It contains two new shades of the Ombre Matte eyeshadows, one of which I have fallen promptly and deeply in love with.

Before I reveal all on my sordid eyeshadow love affair, a quick intro to Ombre Matte - they're the original precursors to the Ombre Iridescente shadows I tried earlier this year, which were cream-to-powder-bouncy-sparkly, and unfortunately creased before the end of a long day.  The key difference, of course, is that Ombre Matte is cream-to-powder-bouncy-matte, and the relatively sheer level of pigmentation (which I found disappointing in the sparkly versions) works to your advantage with the matte shades.  A quick sweep of the ring finger across the surface of the product gives a soft wash of even matte colour, and a couple of sweeps deepens the effect for a smokier look.

The two new shades are Carbon - deep, deep black with teeny silvery sparkles - and Heather - greyish taupe with a distinctly lilac tone.  I've fallen for Heather, with it's beautifully eye defining hue, it's soft smudgy finish, and it's effortless application.  I can see myself wearing it rather a lot this autumn, paired with deep plum or black eyeliner, and a very vampy lip.  Nom.

Anyway.  If you like a bit of matte eyelid action, Ombre Matt is a winner - soft and easy to blend with an even finish, and they last the whole day with a dab of primer underneath them.  Find them now at the Clarins website, where they cost £19.

Disclosure:  PR samples

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

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

More Weirdness from Murad: Invisiblur Perfecting Shield

Invisiblur Perfecting Shield claims to be a 5-in-1 product, with SPF, moisturising properties, skin-blurring effect, "protection" and priming action.  It also claims all this from a very, very light gel texture - in fact, unlike most SPF, it's apparently 100% invisible.

I can definitely confirm the invisibility of Invisiblur - the very slippy, velvety gel texture is completely clear, something very unusual for a product with SPF, particularly with SPF 30.  It smoothes onto the skin exceptionally easily - if you've tried foundation primers with silicone in them before, you'll be familiar with the sensation - but Invisiblur turns it up to 11.  As a result, the skin has a very soft, stroke-ably silky texture after use.  This is either a blessing or a curse - with some foundations, you get that irritating pilling effect where product rolls off your face in little clumps; with other foundations, you get super-smooth application.

Unfortunately, there's a couple of potential deal breakers lurking within that unassuming pump bottle.  Firstly, the scent - the product is very strongly scented and it lingers noticeably on the skin.  The scent in itself isn't unpleasant; it's a bit soapy, a little like Fairy Liquid - but it does hang around for a remarkably long time.  Secondly (you knew this was coming) - the price.  Invisiblur is £55 for 30ml.  And even though you don't need a lot of it, that's very expensive.

So, mixed feelings on this one - I like the lightweight SPF, and I like the silkiness of my skin after I use it - I particularly like it mixed in with foundation.  I dislike the scent, and I suspect that £55 is just too much to pay for a product which is nice enough but not essential.  That said, if your Holy Grail is finding a lightweight SPF that doesn't sit heavy on the skin, maybe you'll be prepared to pay £55 for the pleasure.  Find it at the Murad website now.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Review & Competition: Urban Decay Naked Smoky Eyeshadow Palette

Hard to believe Urban Decay's original Naked Palette was launched FIVE years ago.  Since then we've had a couple more variations on Naked, including blush, lipgloss and highlighter, and now we have (dun dun DUUUUUN) Naked Smoky, a mix of neutral toned smoky shades designed to help you perfect the perpetually popular smoky eye look.

As well as the product itself, you also get a fold out card with some application hints - UD suggest mixing matte, shimmer and metallic shades together for the ultimate depth to your smoky eye, something I can definitely confirm yields some pretty awesome results.

Now, Urban Decay have made palettes for smoky eyes before, albeit with more of a focus on smoky + colour.  Naked Smoky sticks firmly to the brown/grey spectrum, meaning you're going to get a more classically neutral smoky eye than a fun colourful one.

Tones aside, I find myself loving the Naked palette packaging more and more as the line progresses - the original was a bit floppy, but the ones since have graduated to solid plastic casing which protects the shadows inside.  Naked Smoky is no different:  the shadows nestle inside a chunky plastic case which is sort of clear, sort of greyish, and very marbled, thus mimicking smoke.  Bonus points for including a good big mirror, and a double ended brush.

Anyway, the shades!  The first six are High, a metallic bright pink champagne; Dirtysweet, a slightly coppery metallic biscuit beige; Radar, a classic mid brown satin with brown and gold twinkles; Armor, a silverly lilac toned taupe with an almost-metallic finish; Slanted, a shimmering gunmetal silver; and Dagger, a dark pewter silver with a slight glow to it.

High; Dirtysweet; Radar; Armor; Slanted; Dagger

High and Dirtysweet apply like a dream, smoothing easily over the lid and leaving a strong metallic finish behind.  I find I have to work a little harder with Radar - it needs a bit of layering to get to full intensity, and overblending can leave it looking a little muddy.  Armor is probably my favourite shade in the whole palette - it's got a gloriously soft texture, a wonderful almost-metallic finish, and is a perfect lilac taupe.  It does cause fallout over the cheeks, though - I find dabbing it on is easier than swiping.  Slanted and Dagger are a perfect pairing of silver shades - Dagger in particular has a gorgeous depth to it which makes it wonderful for the crease and lashline.

The other six shades are less bling, more matte - Black Market, an intense black with the slightest sheen and depth in the finish; Smolder, a deep grey/black with low level shimmer and the slightest burned plum tone; Password, a creamy mid-grey matte; Whiskey, a mid-brown matte; Combust, a putty-pink matte; and Thirteen, a surprisingly pigmented matte white.

Black Market; Smolder; Password; Whiskey; Combust; Thirteen

The right-hand side of the palette wows me a little less than the left-hand side, mostly because there are four matte shades and I'm seriously excited by metallic finishes rather than mattes.  That said, the four mattes, Password, Whiskey, Combust and Thirteen, work beautifully both together and with the more sparkly shades in the palette, and being Urban Decay mattes, they're unusually creamy and pigmented, without any hint of chalkiness.  Black Market is a welcome change from the usual matte black Blackout included in most palettes - Black Market has more depth, a touch of subtle shimmer, and generally feels more intense than Blackout.  Smolder is another favourite thanks to the deep plum tone which makes it incredibly flattering on greenish eyes and more interesting than a super dark grey.

So: Naked Smoky combines great packaging, a handy included brush, and some seriously deep-and-dirty neutrals into a package which makes smoky eyes a little bit easier.  Do you need it?  Again, as with the other Naked palettes, probably not - particularly if you're already a bit of an eyeshadow fiend.  Do you want it though?  Probably.  There's just something about it that brings together multiple glorious things - blendable textures, well curated shades; easy to use format - which makes Naked Smoky just as desirable as the other Naked palettes.  At £38, it's spendy, but so, so worth it.

It's also, sadly, sold out, as is unfortunately true for new Naked palettes.  Sigh.  BUT HOLD ON!  I have one to give away!  The winner will be announced Saturday 15th August; I'll post you your lovely new palette the following weekend at the latest.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  PR samples

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

Thursday, 6 August 2015

L'Oreal Infallible Mega Gloss in Protest Queen, Sayonara Sunset, For The Ladies, Smoke Me Up & Hold Me Close

L'Oreal have released an incredibly comprehensive range of new lipglosses under the banner of Infallible Mega Gloss.  They're separated into five families with different formulas and finishes - Cream, Neon, Dazzle, Matte, and Xtreme Resist.  I have one from each family to show you today.

But before we go there, let's first take a look at the applicator.  It's somewhat similar to YSL's lipgloss applicator, in that it has a curved shape designed to hold plenty of gloss for application and which hugs the lips as you apply it.  The applicator is flocked and super soft, making application pretty comfortable.

Protest Queen, Sayonara Sunset, For The Ladies, Smoke Me Up & Hold Me Close

Protest Queen
Protest Queen is a Cream family shade, meaning it has a creamy, almost milky finish, with no sparkle at all.  It's lovely - a soft, pale pink with that milkiness which makes it look juicy and soft and nom.  It's also one of the softest, most balm-like in texture from the range - it feels light and plush on the lips, with no stickiness at all.

Sayonara Sunset
Sayonara Sunset is from the Neon family, which gives a pop of sheer neon colour.  I bet it would look great with a tan.  Again, the texture is soft and balm-like, no stickiness at all.

For The Ladies
For The Ladies is from the Dazzle family, and it's a soft pink with a fuckton of silvery pink glitter (metric, not imperial).  As a result, it's a little bit gritty - not as bad as some other glitter glosses I've tried, but it's definitely less soft and lovely than the Cream and Neon glosses.  It's also a teeny bit sticky.

Smoke Me Up
Smoke Me Up is from the Matte family, which is weird, because it's not actually a gloss.  Still, it's hands down my absolute favourite - it's a richly pigmented liquid lipstick, which dries to a natural matte finish, lasts brilliantly, and feels surprisingly lightweight on the lip.  It's a definite competitor for Bourjois' Rouge Edition Velvet in the high street matte lip cream category.

Hold Me Close
Hold Me Close is from the Xtreme Resist family, which means it's extra long lasting.  And thus, it is sticky.  STICKYSTICKYSTICKY.  Also, the colour's a bit wishy-washy - slightly coral, slightly orange, not quite sure what it's trying to be.  Also also, it has a fine smattering of glitter - not enough to be properly sparkly, but there's a bit of twinkle in there.  This is my least favourite, mostly because of the sticky, but also because the colour is a bit weak.

So there you have it.  It's impossible to talk about Infallible Mega Gloss as a single product, because it's actually five products - each family is completely different, and if I were you, I'd look at the Cream, Neon and Matte ones, because they're undoubtedly the nicest to wear.  If you're interested, I'd recommend going into a shop and swatching them before buying - they're not expensive at £6.99 each, but each family performs so differently, if you buy a selection you might be disappointed.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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