Saturday, 28 February 2015

Diptyque Florabellio

Diptyque, purveyors of gloriously scented and wildly expensive candles (and other things), will release a new fragrance in May.  It's called Florabellio, and it's absolutely perfect for spring.  The initial spritz bursts with blossom, tempered with a sharp, invigorating, ocean-salty freshness.   Once it dries down on the skin, the heart of the fragrance is revealed - apple blossom, not strong enough to shout APPLES, but soft and calm and tranquil, like walking though an orchard in the spring.  Amongst the freshness, there's a slightly warmer note - coffee and sesame seeds, according to the scent notes, although I don't read it as coffee as much as I read it as a vague rich, roasted warmth sitting beneath the blossom.

As someone who's a confirmed lover of heavy spicy, oriental scents, I'm surprised to find that I really like Florabellio.  It's not a traditional floral perfume - there's nothing sweet or overpoweringly floral about it, it's more of a soft caress of flowers with a bit of apple and salty ocean air mixed in.  Weird, yes, but very definitely different, and enough to make even the most strident floral hater pause for a moment.

If I had to be critical, I'd bemoan the staying power of Florabellio - it's detectable and delectable for a couple of hours and then disappears, which is a shame, although perhaps not unexpected of a light eau de toilette.  At £75 for 100ml, or £58 for 50ml, it's not a cheap scent, but for something so original, so perfectly spring without all the usual citrus, it's a price many fragrance lovers will be prepared to pay.  Find it in May at the usual Diptyque stockists.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Models Own Academy Nude Palette

Apologies for the bloody awful light in these photos: what can I say, it's winter.  This cute little palette is from Models Own, whose makeup range actually extends further than I thought it did - although until now they've not really had a lot of eyeshadow.

The Nude palette is unsurprisingly filled with nude shades - although, they're more variations on brown than they are nude.  That sparkly copper, for example, definitely isn't nude, it's a gloriously sparkly copper, and that taupe brown on the end is actually pretty dramatic and not at all nude.  The first three shades are pretty nude though - the palette's only matte shade is a creamy bone good for use as a base or for highlighting, sitting next to a fairly standard white shimmer and a pretty beige-y champagne shimmer.

The textures are pretty good for a palette which costs a mere £5.99 - soft, verging on crumbly, easy to blend provided you have the right fluffy brush.  And it's small, tiny enough to fit in the palm of your hand, making it perfect for travel, or for carting about in your handbag if you do the day-to-night thing.  If you're looking for a small, cheap, perfectly usable no-frills nude palette, this one is great.  Find it now at ASOS.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Nine Word Review: Kiko Wild Lashes Mascara

Interesting brush, but... smudge smudge smudge SMUDGE.  Disappointing.  Avoid.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Quick Pick: Pur Minerals Chateau Cheeks Cream Blush in Flirt

Pur Minerals is one of those brands I think is really underrated - they do some lovely mineral makeup which isn't a massive faff to use, and which doesn't compromise pigmentation.  This Chateau Cheeks cream blush is exactly that - an easy to use, creamy blush which blends beautifully and leaves a lovely soft sheen on the cheeks.  The sheen is great for an extra-easy highlighted effect, but does mean that the texture is quite emollient, making it a better option for dry skin types rather than those with oily skin.

Flirt is a lovely rosy pink which isn't too warm or too golden, meaning it goes well with my cool skin - it's neutral enough that I think it'd work well on those with warm or cool skintones.  A single swipe gives a soft flush, and it's easily buildable if you like a stronger pop of colour on the cheeks.

I suspect Pur Minerals would do a whole lot better if it were priced a little more competitively - this blush is £19.50, placing it firmly in the same price range as Bare Minerals, who splash a lot more on marketing and promotions than Pur do.  Still, performance wise it's just as natural and mineral based, and a whole lot more portable, particularly for those looking for a blush which gives a bit of a glow.  Find it now at Marks and Spencer.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Friday, 20 February 2015

Utterly Weird: Murad Instant Radiance Eye Cream

This is probably the weirdest eye cream I've ever tried.  Mostly, because whilst it claims to be a cream, it's not actually a cream.  It's a bouncy spongy thing masquerading as a cream.  It has a similar texture to those eyeshadows which were so popular a couple of years ago - yielding, slightly bouncy, a bit like a cushion - and to those foundations which are about to become so popular this year.

Bounciness aside, it has that ultra-velvety-slick feeling which usually indicates a ton of silicone.  And yes, there is a lot of silicone in there - but somehow, it's proved itself compatible with every moisturiser, foundation, concealer and powder I've thrown at it, refusing to form those weird little strands and roll off my face, which is often an unfortunate side effect of silicone.

Once you put it on your undereye area, it smoothes across the skin beautifully - I find I only need a tiny amount - and somehow does magically make my eyes look less tired within half an hour of application.  I've not really observed any long term effects, so I'm tempted to think of this more as an undereye primer than an eye cream - it makes the area wonderfully smooth, perfect for dabbing concealer onto, and brightens undereye circles up wonderfully.

How it does it, I don't know.  But I like it anyway.

At £49.50, it's an incredibly expensive weird thing, and given the lack of observed longer term effects, it may be too much cash for a silky eye primer.  I'm going to use the entire tub up anyway, and enjoy every bouncy cushiony weird moment of it.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Thursday, 19 February 2015

BUY THIS NOW: Kiko Cosmetics Mosaic Highlighter in 01 Future Light

This beautiful Kiko powder is part of their futuristic Generation Next collection, and it's a dead dupe for Guerlain's iconic Meteorites.  It contains gold, green, white and purple tones to even out and illuminate the skintone (like Meteorites) and gives an oh-so-subtle light reflecting glow - so much so that you'll need to enlarge the swatch above and squint to see it.  The effect on the face is subtle - not glittery, not shimmery, just pretty and glowing (like Meteorites).  Better yet, it costs a mere £14.90, compared to £37.50 for a tub of Meteorites pearls. Oh, and it's more portable.  Buy it now, immediately, from one of Kiko's stores or online at their website.  Seriously.  If you like glowing skin, you won't regret it.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Benefit Rollerlash - gamechanger or meh?

When I was invited to the launch of Benefit's Rollerlash, I was all like "but they just released They're Real, why are they adding another mascara so soon?".  And then someone told me that They're Real was actually released in 2011, so it's actually almost 4 years old.  I was surprised.

Anyway, Rollerlash is to curling what They're Real was to length - it aims to give lashes a lift for a bright, wide-eyed look.  The brush is much smaller than the They're Real brush - a good thing because I keep poking myself in the eye with the They're Real brush - and the plastic bristles are arranged to push the lashes upwards from the root.

My major problem with this mascara is that the formula is surprisingly clumpy, and I have to work really hard to make sure I don't get five mega triangle lashes which are made of all my other lashes stuck together.  I've even had to make use of the clean spoolie I keep in my makeup bag for brushing out clumps a couple of times, which is really odd given that They're Real, and indeed this kind of brush, is meant to eliminate clumping.  The effects are definitely wide eyed and beautifully curled, but at 6.45am when I'm putting my mascara on, I can't be bothered with the care it requires to get a cleanly defined, non-clumpy look.  I'll be sticking with They're Real.

If you'd like to try Rollerlash, you'll find it at the usual stockists for £19.50 - the same as They're Real.  Or, you can run to your nearest newsagent (do those even exist any more?) and pick up a free sample with the March edition of Elle magazine.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Meh: Smashbox Be Legendary Long Wear Lip Lacquer in Orange Crush, Off Duty, Coral and Lilac

Orange Crush, Off Duty, Coral, Lilac
Smashbox recently added some new lip products to their lineup - Be Legendary Long Wear Lip Lacquer promises intense pigmentation, a glossy shine, and intensely comfortable wear.  Which lasts a long while.  A big promise, right?

The packaging is pretty simple, but the slightly hourglass shaped applicator is a nice touch - it manages to line and fill in the lips easily, with the indent in the middle hanging on to a glob of product so you can spread it over your lips.

Orange Crush

Off Duty


Orange Crush is an incredibly bright, juicy orange with a subtle shimmer to it.  Off Duty is a neutral colour which runs a bit too brown for my liking, and as for Lilac, well, I can't imagine who this would look good on.  Maybe darker skintones for the contrast?  It's got a nice milkiness to it, but it sits in the lines on the lips and is very, very 80s.  Nice if you like that kind of thing.  I definitely don't.  Coral is my favourite of the four - a polished, peachy toned neutral, it still brightens up the face whilst being very unshouty.

The formula is indeed very comfortable to wear - think silky lip-balm-gloss hybrid - and the pigmentation may be variable across the shades but it's definitely more high powered than your average gloss.  As for staying power, I'm on the fence.  They wear down over four hours or so to a soft stain, but it's a muted, not quite as intense stain, like a very washed out version of the colour you put on your lips.  The shine wears off after an hour or so, and they do remain comfortable, but not as squishy-lip-smushing comfortable as they feel just after application.  Certainly not as dry as some lacquers I've tried, though.

Nice enough, then, but there's nothing innovative or new about this product.  At £19, they're expensive - not quite as luxe as YSL's Glossy Stains, which cost £25, and not quite as affordably brilliant as Revlon's Colourstay Moisture Stains, which cost a mere £7.99 each.  If you own either of those two, you really don't need Be Legendary Long Wear Lip Lacquer.  If you don't, well.. I'd suggest you buy the cheaper Revlon product.  Be Legendary Long Wear Lip Lacquer is slightly more hydrating, but not £11 extra worth of hydrating.  Find them now at Smashbox counters or at the Smashbox website.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Friday, 13 February 2015

Clinique Chubby Contouring: Hefty Highlight & Curvy Contour

Another day, another variation on the Chubby Stick.  These two are part of Clinique's latest Hello Cheekbones collection - unsurprisingly it's about subtle contouring to make the cheekbones pop, and also includes some rather lovely sculpting powder blushes.  If you prefer your contouring creamy and quick, though, these two products are great - Hefty Highlight is an icy, silvery white and Curvy Contour is a deep, warm brown.  Delivered in the same blunt-nosed format as the blush Chubby Sticks, they slick on in a creamy line, and are easily blended with the fingers for a sculpted result.

Unfortunately, Curvy Contour is too warm and brown based for my pale, cool toned skin.  The swatch makes it look very, very brown, and indeed, if you apply with anything but the lightest hand you may find your cheekbones look muddy rather than sculpted.  The good news is that the intensity and depth of colour means that Curvy Contour works on a wide variety of skintones, so long as you're careful about how much you apply.  Hefty Highlight is lovely - a soft, silvery shimmer which blends beautifully into the skin.  It also works well on brow bones and the Cupid's Bow (that indented bit on your top lip).  Use sparingly on darker skintones to avoid shiny-robot-face.

At £19 each, I can't help but feel that these Chubby Sticks are an expensive way to get your contour on.  A little does go a long way, but compared to the Smashbox Contour Kit I wrote about earlier this week, you get two shades of Chubbies for £38, whereas you get three powders and a brush with the Smashbox version for £35.  If Clinique were to offer them as a pair for £25ish, they'd be much better value.

If you're not a die-hard Chubby lover, or if you're looking for a complete contouring solution, you can probably find better value contouring products elsewhere.  If you just love the Chubbies, want a single contour or highlight shade, or want something portable, these might be right up your street.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Thursday, 12 February 2015

BUY THIS NOW: GOSH Xtreme Liquid Gel Eye Liner

These are the best coloured liquid eyeliners I've tried in a long time!  Meet GOSH's latest eyeliner addition, Xtreme Liquid Gel Eye Liner.  Boasting intense pigmentation, a shiny/metallic finish, and a super-smooth application, they perform way beyond their £5.99 pricetag.

Left to right, the shades are Black, Black Night, Gun Metal, Silver, Bronze, Plum, Lavender, Royal Blue and Turquoise.  I can't tell the difference between Black and Black Night by eye, and I've found that both Royal Blue and Turquoise are slightly less pigmented and intense than the other shades.  Gun Metal, Bronze and Plum are my favourites - intensely pigmented and almost metallic in their finish, they're absolutely beautiful.

If the colours weren't enough reason to purchase a few, the finish is long wearing, fast drying, and waterproof.  When you remove them, they flake off rather than dissolving, and they only remove with a bit of scrubbing.  The applicator is bendy and flexible, and hugs the lashline to give a thin or thick line of gloriously rich colour.

All in all, xtremely impressive (see what I did there?) for a £5.99 liner.  Find them at your local Superdrug store - they're not quite online yet.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Too Faced Melted Lipstick Spring Shades: Melted Candy & Melted Berry

Last year Too Faced brought out new liquid lipsticks with a creamy, high pigmented formula, and named them Melted Liquidified Long Wear Lipstick.  They were gorgeous - lasting all day with bright, intense colour before fading into softer stains on the lip without being too drying.

This spring, Too Faced have added two more shades - Melted Candy, a bright creamy pink, and Melted Berry, a rich ruby-toned berry shade.  Melted Candy is a great spring shade - bright and neutral toned, for a pop of colour with pared-down cheeks and eyes.  Melted Berry wouldn't go amiss in a winter collection, with its jewel-toned berry richness.  I've been wearing Melted Berry a lot since I received it - it's a strong yet wearable shade and it goes really well with lots of black mascara, black liner and a soft pink cheek.

Find them now at Debenhams, where a tube will set you back £19 - expensive, yes, but a little goes a long way, and a tube will last a long time.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Easy Peasy: Smashbox Step-by-Step Contour Kit

I know contouring was a big thing in 2014, and shows every sign of continuing to be a big thing in 2015.  But... I've never really become excited about it.  Possibly because I'm a bit lazy, possibly because I'm pale, possibly because I really, really don't want to look like Kim Kardashian, all sculpted face and unreal looking, and that seems to be the contouring ideal.  So when I received this Smashbox Step-by-Step Contour Kit, I put it to one side.  I then found the images on my camera and decided I really should try it out, even if I was pretty sure it wasn't a product for me.  Turns out I was a bit wrong - it definitely is a product for me.  Maybe for you too.

The kit focuses on more than just providing some product - the case also features step by step instructions, which I found very helpful to make sure I didn't just plonk colour on my cheeks and end up looking a bit muddy.  If you mislay the cardboard casing, the same instructions are repeated in a more condensed manner on the mirror in the compact.  Which makes the mirror about half as useful as it should be, but hey.  Good for those of us who need instructions and don't keep cardboard packaging.

Inside the sleek black compact, you get three matte powders - a slightly grey-toned contour shade, which thankfully isn't too brown; a warmer brown bronzer; a creamy ivory highlight shade.  It's unusual to find a contour kit which contains not a glimmer of shimmer, even in the highlighter, but it does make for an even more natural finish.  And means shiny-robot-face is definitely off the cards.  No-one likes a shiny robot face.  Oh, and you get that brush too - it's small, tapered, and good for applying colour precisely, even if it's not the best brush ever for blending.

Here's a comparison: one side of my face is au naturel, and one side is contoured.  I've concentrated my efforts on my cheekbones and my jawline, as quite frankly I can't be bothered trying to sculpt my nose.  But look!  Cheekbones!  Pretty natural looking ones too!  The jawline treatment makes for a bit more definition, but the cheekbones are definitely where it's at.  Even though I don't look it in these photos, I'm very very happy with these newly sharp cheekbones.

So, this palette gives you everything you need - including a brush, instructions, and matte powders - to contour easily and with a natural finish.  What's the catch?  Firstly, the price - it's £35, which is fairly expensive for three powders and a small brush.  Particularly when the compact itself is quite small - there's under 12g of powder in there, and the pans are more the size of small blushers than they are the size of bronzers.  Also - I can't help but wonder if one-shade-fits-all is a good thing - the powders are well pigmented, so I just used the tiniest amount possible for my skin, but if your skin is deeper than medium you may find the shades too light.

A mixed review, then - Smashbox have really created an easy peasy contouring kit, but points off for stingily sized pans and a lack of shade range to suit all skintones.  If you're keen to try it for yourself, you'll find it at Smashbox counters, or online at their website.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Friday, 6 February 2015

Clarins Instant Light Lip Balm Perfector in Coral, Red and Rosewood

Coral, Red, Rosewood

Clarins' Instant Light range has been a bit of a favourite for those looking for a soft tint, a subtle bit of gloss, and a whole heap of moisturising action, with the original tubes giving way to both an oil and these lovely stick versions with their latest spring 2015 collection.  Like the tube versions, these stick balms give a soft wash of colour, albeit without the milkiness, and like the oil, they're mega hydrating.

Of the three products, these are my favourites - for two reasons.  Firstly, the tube format is easy to use - twist up, smush onto the lips, done.  The colour is subtle enough that I even feel comfortable applying them without a mirror, Secondly, they last really well - I get a couple of hours of soft, slippy feeling lips before the balm eventually absorbs completely and disappears.  After use, my lips definitely feel softer and more hydrated.  Bonus points for being a bit more glossy than the original tube version, and less high-shine than the oil.

Rosewood is my favourite colour - it's a soft, tawny-pink which gives a subtle my-lips-but-better effect.  Red is a good gateway red for those looking for something softer than a full on red, and Coral adds a little bit of brightness - I suspect I'll be using it a lot more in summer.

At £18, they're expensive, yes - but if you're looking to splash out on a lip product you'll use all the time, they're worth it.  And they're still miles cheaper than By Terry's tinted lip balms, after all, so you definitely could be more indulgent if you wanted to.  Find them at the Clarins website now.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

No 7 Instant Radiance Bronzing Highlighter

Here's a product which'll see you through summer - Instant Radiance Bronzing Highlighter is a tubby stick (see what I did there?) of golden toned, creamy highlighter which blends into the skin for a soft, golden glow.  No 7 claim that it's bronzing, but I'd say it's not quite, well, bronze enough to be a bronzing product, although it would definitely pair up well with a sweep of matte bronzer.

It's main appeal in my mind is down to the fact that it's not a pale, white, shimmering highlighter.  That kind of highlighter works brilliantly on my pale skin, but can look a bit too robot-lady on those with deeper or warmer skintones.  This golden shade, though, will look far more natural - it's more like Benefit's Sun Beam, where many other highlighters are more Moon Beam.

At £9.95, it's well priced for the size of it - you get a generous 5g of pigmented product, meaning that the tube will go a long way.  It's also a great size to pop in your handbag, should you want to top up your glow during the day.  Find it now at Boots.

Disclosure: PR sample

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