Tuesday, 29 September 2015

BUY THIS NOW: Garnier Skin Naturals Micellar Cleansing Water

Love Bioderma?  Yes?  Of course, we all do.  Find it a bit hard to get hold of?  Well, yes, particularly if you're not one of those folks who plans to buy stuff well in advance of actually running out.  Ahem.  I'm not one of those folks.

And thus, I found myself in Boots looking for a new micellar water when my trusty bottle of Bioderma ran out.  Turns out that Boots only stock Bioderma online (boo), and given my less-than-fabulous experience with REN Micellar Water, I decided to try something cheap just in case it didn't match up to my Bioderma-shaped expectations.  So I bought this very huge (400ml) and very cheap (£4.99) bottle of Garnier micellar water.

It claims to mattify combination skin, and I can't really attest to that, as I usually use it as part of a multi-step routine at night, and I don't monitor my skin for oil at night (in fact, I usually apply oil at night).  But WOW, you guys.  It's just as good as Bioderma, leaving skin feeling fresh and clean immediately, and loosening even tough long wearing makeup.

Did I mention it's also HUGE (400ml) and CHEAP (£4.99)?

Even better than Bioderma then, because it saves precious pennies I can then spend on yet another red lipstick.  GO BUY NOW!

Disclosure:  Bought by me.

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

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Introducing Bagsy: Wow Lips in Cocktail Hour and Lip Velvet in Spinning Plates

Bagsy is a new British makeup brand that focuses on making handbag essentials - products which are easy to use and small enough to be slipped into your handbag every day.  The range itself feels a little confused - there are three lip products, a bronzer, a concealer/highlighter stick, a blush, a kabuki brush, an eyeshadow stick, a hand cream and a dry shampoo.  This feels like a bit of an eclectic mix - not quite enough makeup to run the full face regime (although that in itself isn't bad) with a few bits thrown in for good measure.  Add to that packaging which is pretty enough but varies significantly across the range and you have a brand that seems like it's a little way off making sense as a whole.

Anyway, enough on the whole range - today we'll be examining two of the lip products from the range - Wow Lips Full Colour Chubby Stick and Lip Velvet Soft Matte Lip Colour, both £12.

Wow Lips Full Colour Chubby Stick does pretty much what it says on the prettily packaged tube - it's a high pigment, glossy finish stick lip colour.  Yes, it's pretty much a Clinique Chubby Stick Intense copy, but Chubby Stick has become as generic as Hoover nowadays.

The texture is creamy, the colour glides off the stick onto the lip, and lasting power is reasonable at around 4 hours before it fades completely.  This shade, Cocktail Hour, is a slightly coral toned red which isn't too POW IN YOUR FACE but still packs plenty of punch.

At £12, though, I can't help but feel that the product itself within the tube looks a little cheap.  The original Chubby Sticks cost £17 each, just £5 more, and feel a whole lot more luxurious.

However, I can't make the same complaint about Lip Velvet Soft Matte Lip Colour - the packaging is very similar to Hourglass Cosmetics' much more spendy Opaque Rouge liquid lipstick, which costs £23.  The differences end at the packaging though; where Opaque Rouge is intensely pigmented, Lip Velvet is much more of a sheer tint.  This shade, Spinning Plates, is a lovely cool toned mauve rose, which gives a very pretty my-lips-but-better effect on me.  Lasting power certainly doesn't compare to Opaque Rouge - Lip Velvet lasts a couple of hours tops before needing a top up.

Overall, then, I have mixed feelings about Bagsy and their lip products.  I'm disappointed in the luxe factor of Wow Lips, but impressed with Lip Velvet.  I'm a bit confused by how the range hangs together, including as it does a somewhat random smattering of beauty essentials.  Still, I'm always keen to see home grown, niche brands thrive in a sea of internationally-owned conglomerate brands, so here's hoping Bagsy brings us more products like Lip Velvet from here.

Disclosure:  PR samples

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

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Clarins Joli Rouge Lipsticks in Orange Fizz, Papaya, Hot Pink, Royal Plum, Cherry Red, Pink Praline, Tender Nude, Bubble Gum Pink & Pink Ginger

Clarins have released a new range of lipsticks - Joli Rouge.  You might remember various Joli Rouge formulas being available in the past, most recently in sheer formulas - these are different.  The new Joli Rouge range is full of rich, creamy pigment, but still has the candy-sweet scent and soft, moist texture.

They're packaged in the usual sleek, classy Clarins gold, with simple undecorated tubes with the tiniest of Cs on the lid.  I like that the bullets are slightly concave - the shaping helps the lipstick to hug your lips as you apply, which isn't really a necessity, but adds to the luxurious feel of the lipstick.

Most luxurious is the texture - it's buttery, creamy, full of hydration and it feels very, very lightweight on the lip.  Despite putting on and removing nine of 'em, my lips remained soft and hydrated during my epic swatching session, which really proves the plushness of the texture.

Anyway, on to some colours!

Orange Fizz is an intense, saturated orange with subtle gold shimmer running through it.  It's a pretty cool toned orange, very juicy, and clashes terribly with my pink hair.  I did take a picture, but it's too bad even for comedy purposes.

Papaya is a slightly more muted orange, with a cream finish and a slightly less true orange tone - there's a little bit of beige in there, which makes it a bit more wearable.  I found this shade to be a little bit more solid, and a little less pigmented than the other shades I've tried.

Hot Pink is a glorious fuchsia pink with blue undertones and a sprinkling of tiny silvery shimmer.  It's cool toned, matches my hair, and is pigmented as anything with one swipe needed straight out of the tube.

Royal Plum is VAMPY.  It's a deep, brown based plum, and it's a little too brown for my liking - I can imagine it working a treat as a vampy shade on medium skin tones, and as a gorgeous subtle berry on darker skintones.

Cherry Red isn't really cherry red, for my money, but rather a slightly orange based red.  This one is also intensely pigmented, looks very juicy on the lip, and has a creamy finish.

Pink Praline is an almost 90s shell pink, with a tiny bit of pink/silver shimmer.  It's saved from being horribly retro 90s by the lack of frostiness.  I can see this being a great my-lips-but-better shade for pale skinned cool toned ladies.

Tender Nude is a slightly more golden, beige toned nude, with enough pink in it to avoid dead-lips.  It too has a touch of shimmer, luckily no more than a touch.

Bubble Gum Pink, like Papaya, is a slightly more muted cream finish lipstick, and also has a slightly less pigmented finish.  I was expecting it to be lighter and brighter from the name, but it's actually a nice mid-toned pink with fuchsia tones.

And finally, Pink Ginger, sitting nicely between pink, coral and brown with a not-a-nude-nude effect going on.  It's pretty richly pigmented and has a creamy, satin-y finish.  I think my Mum will like this one.

There you have it.  All the Joli Rouge shades I've tried have lovely, buttery textures and varying levels of pigment - but there's nothing you'd really call a sheer lipstick in here.  Clarins claim a 6 hour hold on these, and I can't really say I'd agree - they stay true to colour and lusciously moist on the lip for around two hours, with a further hour of slightly drier colour, which is still pretty reasonable - especially given how hydrated the lips feel after use.

Overall then, a pretty damn fine lipstick range for those who value comfort and texture over wear, with lovely packaging, at a good mid-range price - £19.50.  Find Joli Rouge at Clarins counters, or online, now - you'll note that the range has a staggering 25 shades in it, meaning there should be something for everyone.

Disclosure:  PR samples

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

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Surprisingly Good: L'Oreal Elvive Rich Nourishing Leave-In Cream

I took Elvive's Extraordinary Oil-in-Cream Rich Nourishing Leave-In Cream (phew) to the USA with me a few weeks back, risking that it'd be a good enough multi-tasker to be a leave in styling product on wet hair and an emergency frizz-tamer on dry hair.

I was pleasantly surprised - despite being a thick, slippy cream, it's light enough that you can apply a dab to dry hair and smooth down flyaways or serious frizz, with the hair looking well hydrated and sleek rather than fuzzy afterwards.  I also tried a squidge distributed through the midlengths and ends just after washing and conditioning, and rather fabulously, my hair dried into soft waves and curls with a lot less fuzz than usual.

Beware - using too much will leave your hair looking a bit overladen, but starting with a small dab and working up will help control frizz, add moisture and generally leave your hair looking much smoother.  Despite using it pretty constantly for two weeks, I didn't get any build up, either - it washes away nicely even with sulphate-free shampoo.  All this for only £6.99!  Bargain, particularly given that the product I used to use for between-wash moisturising, Phyto 7, costs £15.50 for a tube a third of the size.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Monday, 21 September 2015

Royal Massage at Thai Square Spa, Covent Garden

A few weeks back I nipped down to Thai Square Spa in Covent Garden.  Tucked down Shelton Street near Pineapple dance studios and the shopping mecca of Seven Dials, I'd visited it before for a post-work treat, and this time I was visiting to try out a Royal Massage, which incorporates the new oils from Thai Square's skincare line, iMantara (yes, weird name, no idea why).

I was surprised to find the spa somewhat quiet and almost empty at 7pm on a weeknight, but the quietness made sure I waited virtually no time at all, skipping from the changing room (which sports dark wood lockers with ornate old fashioned keys) to the softly lit treatment room, which sported bronze accents and carved wood.

I've had many a massage before, and I've never had one where the therapist stays in the room when you get changed and hoist yourself onto the table - but she did, and I did, and it was fine, if a little awkward on my side.  Once I was settled, I was treated to a massage with some very, very firm pressure as I'd requested - a Thai massage isn't a Thai massage unless it gets deep into the most achey of muscles.

The massage was a full body experience, although as usual most of the time was spent on the back, and my therapist moved from strong pressure to loosen any kinks to a softer, more relaxing pressure when I, as usual, fell asleep.  Luckily this time I didn't drool all over the table, and I awoke in time to be turned over for a finishing spot of head massage and some gentle compression on my legs and feet.

I really enjoyed the massage, and left Thai Square feeling much more relaxed, with much less tension in my shoulders.  Strangely, for a massage involving new oils, I didn't really notice any particular aroma as the massage took place - I guess the massage was so good that the more subtle scent escaped my nose.  Either that or I was asleep when I was best placed to smell it.

Royal Massage lasts an hour, and costs £75 - not the cheapest of massages, but not the most expensive given the location, either.  You can find out more about Thai Square (who are shortly on the move) and about iMantara on the Thai Square website.

Disclosure:  Massage received free of charge for review purposes.

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

Sunday, 20 September 2015

New hair - Bettie Bangs!

I've been toying with the idea of getting Bettie Bangs - or, a blunt cut, u-shaped, short fringe a la famous pinup Bettie Page - for a while, but I've had a fringe before and found the maintenance to be off-putting.  I decided to just go for it, live for the moment, maintenance be damned, and here I am with a freshly cut short fringe - I love it!

I'm using a small round brush and a hairdryer to keep its shape, as I want it to be curved and voluminous at the top rather than straight - but if you have any more fringe maintenance tips, please comment below with 'em!  I'm determined to keep this fringe for as long as I can.

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

Friday, 18 September 2015

Zoeva Luxe Color Blush in He Loves Me... Maybe

I love a good cool pink matte blush, and my previous favourite, Cargo's Tonga, has almost run out.  Naturally, I bought a new one - and I decided to try Zoeva, a relatively new brand which has inexpensive eyeshadow and blushes in a whole heap of colours and a great value range of brushes to boot.

Luxe Color Blush in He Loves Me... Maybe, £6.95, is one of those cool pink matte blushes, and it's housed in a simple but stylish black case with a good big mirror.  I particularly like the embossing Zoeva have placed on the blush itself - it definitely makes the product look far more luxe than it costs.  Texture wise, the blush is soft and silky - there's no chalkiness, and the pigmentation is good enough that a gentle sweep gives a soft flush with ease.

My only criticism would be that Luxe Color Blush doesn't wear quite as long as my old Cargo blush - it makeS it to about six hours before fading away.  Applying over the top of a cream blush makes it last a bit longer, though.

Disclosure:  Bought by me.

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

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

No 7 Early Defence Skincare

No 7 recently stepped away from the high-power anti-aging ingredients and brought out a range for "young skin".  They deliberately avoid specifying just what age range they're targeting, but the gist of it is that Early Defence is for skin which is concerned about aging, but not currently experiencing lines or wrinkles which require stronger ingredients to tackle.

I've been using the Early Defence Day Cream, £19.50; Night Cream, also £19.50; and Eye Cream, £13.50, for a couple of months now, and whilst I've not noticed any particular change in my skin, I am impressed by the Night Cream in particular - it's got a lighter texture than many night creams I've tried in the past, and absorbs quickly, too.  In the morning my skin feels well hydrated and velvety, and has noticeably less oily residue than it does when I use a heavier cream.  For those looking for a skin-quenching, lightweight night cream, I'd definitely recommend giving this one a try.

The Day Cream and Eye Cream are less impressive - whilst the day cream has SPF 15 and a light feeling texture to its favour, it's a little on the heavy side throughout the day - I find my combination, not very oily skin gets shiny by lunch time if I've used the Day Cream in the morning.  Nothing that can't be fixed with a spot of powder, but I've found better day creams which hydrate the skin without making it oily.  The Eye Cream is okay - it feels pretty basic, with a melting hydrating formula which didn't really have any effect on the fine lines around my eyes other than keeping the area moist.

Overall, then, if you're looking for a simple moisturising regime which doesn't skimp on hydration and doesn't wage war on wrinkles with strong ingredients, Early Defence might be worth a try.  Particularly the Night Cream, which I'm continuing to use on top of facial oil for an extra hydrating treat.

Disclosure:  PR samples

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

Monday, 14 September 2015

Clinique Pretty Easy Eyelining Pen

This new eyeliner from Clinique does exactly what it says on the packaging:  it makes liquid eyeliner pretty easy.  Not completely, foolproof-ly easy, but pretty damn easy.

The genius thing about it is the nib of the pen.  Whilst it looks like a felt tip, it's actually a very fine brush, with hairs which provide plenty of flex without wiggling all over the place.  You just place the tip on the lashline and paint a line smoothly - the brush glides over the lashline, leaving a deep, black, fine line.  You can also press a little harder to get the brush to fan out a little for a thicker line.

If you're a little underconfident with felt tip or truly bendy brush liners, then Pretty Easy Eyelining Pen is a good product to try.  Mine has become a core part of my makeup bag since it arrived a month ago, and I'm particularly impressed by how smooth the liner remains inside the brush tip after a month of use - there's no evidence of drying up or clogging, and the brush itself remains just the right level of flexible.  Pretty good, for £19.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Sunday, 13 September 2015

I'm back... and I might have been shopping

Another two week trip to the US, and I managed to schedule less stuff than I'd hoped... but I'm back now, I've been shopping, and I've acquired some rather lovely new things - most notably that Becca highlighter in Champagne Pop, and a whole heap of goodies from Colour Pop.  Reviews to come soon!

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

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Sephora + NARS Birthday Gift: Cruella Velvet Matte Lip Pencil & Rikugien Satin Lip Pencil


Ah, Sephora, why haven't you come back to our shores?!  A recent (okay, not so recent, but hey) trip to the States saw me being presented with this adorable little set - two mini versions of Nars' popular lip pencils, in popular shades Cruella (Velvet Matte) and Rikugien (Satin).  I love that the box says 'One Year Bolder'.  So uncompromising.

Anyway - I've long lusted after Cruella from afar, and it is indeed exactly My Kinda Thing, being blood red, matte as anything, and very long wearing.  I was more surprised by how much I like Rikugien - it's a lovely beigey pink with the slightest shimmer to the finish, and it's a lovely neutral for people who hate beige lips.  Texture wise, Rikugien is much silkier than Cruella, and unsurprisingly doesn't last quite as long either.

Once I hit the end of Rikugien, I may well purchase a full size - now, if only there were a Sephora I could purchase from in London....

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