Sunday, 31 May 2015

Clinique Turnaround Revitalising Skincare

Clinique recently revamped their Turnaround range, adding new products and improving old ones, to provide a complete system for radiant, revitalised skin.  I've been trialling all five products in the range for the part six weeks, and I'm impressed - very impressed.  No other skincare range has caused such a complete change in the texture of my skin - it's peachy soft and so incredibly smooth that I've been using half the foundation I normally use.  Here's the low down on each product in the range.

The range has two moisturisers - one for day, and one for night.  The day cream, £30, has an added benefit of a very subtle pearly glow to it, making it a moisturiser and glowing primer in one.  It comes in two shades - Rosy Glow for cool skin tones, and Golden Glow for warmer tones - I've been using Rosy Glow, which definitely boosts radiance in a subtle way, alone or under foundation.  The texture is light and easily absorbed, and despite the ultra-silky texture, I've not found it to be a problem with silicone based foundations.

The night cream, £36, boasts a thicker, more velvety texture, and sits on the surface of the skin a little longer.  I wish it came in different packaging - I've grown accustomed to having my skincare protected from bacteria, and a pot format just won't do that - but otherwise it's a perfectly serviceable night cream, leaving skin looking bright and feeling soft in the morning.

Ah, the power products - the serum, £37, has been around for a fair while, and I've tried and loved it before.  This thin liquid absorbs super fast, leaving the skin feeling incredibly smooth and velvety - it makes for a great base for makeup.  For something with such hydrating properties, it's also surprisingly good at keeping the skin matte during the day - despite layering both the serum and the moisturiser, I found that I didn't get oily around the forehead and nose at all.

The treatment oil, £30, is a new product, and it suffers from bloody awful packaging.  The top screws off to reveal an open necked bottle and a pipette style dropper - pretty, yes, science-y, yes, but also a nightmare for clumsy people - I'm terrified I'm going to knock it over mid-use and waste all that product.  Packaging woes aside, it's a lovely oil - more of a dry oil than a heavy seed oil - which feels very silky and absorbs much more quickly than other oils I've tried in the past.

And finally, the occasional treat - Instant Facial, £35, is a five-minute mask which boosts the skin, exfoliating and hydrating for a temporary burst of brightness and smoothness.  It's got a relatively gritty texture thanks to the tiny scrubby granules within it, and it definitely makes my skin much more smooth in one use - you do have to be careful with it though, it's easy to overexfoliate if you're too vigorous massaging it into the skin as you rinse off.  It's more of a special-occasion-prep product than it is an everyday skincare product.

So there you have it, the complete Turnaround range.  Each piece is mid-priced for a premium skincare line - £30ish, on average - which isn't bad, but adds up to a lot of cash if you're interested in the whole range.  My picks, then, are the serum - past and recent experience tells me this is the texture-changing powerhouse of the bunch - and the day cream, for it's multi-purpose glow-giving and lack of oiliness even when combined with the serum.  The oil is also a good pick if you find traditional facial oils too heavy, but it loses points for that terrible packaging.  You'll find more info on the whole Turnaround line at the Clinique website.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Friday, 29 May 2015

Max Factor Colour Intensifying Lip Balm in Luscious Red, Charming Coral & Sumptuous Candy

Luscious Red
Charming Coral
Sumptuous Candy
Max Factor have a new lip product in town, and it's another play on the ever popular tinted balm format we see every summer.  The twist with these is that they're not just a tinted lip balm - they boast a light texture and buildable pigment so they can be worn as a tinted balm or as a balmy full pigment lipstick.

The swatches above show a couple of passes over the lips, meaning that the intensity is probably about medium - more pigmentation than a single swipe of balm, and less than going over your lips multiple times to build up the pigment.  You can see that they're pretty intense anyway for a balm product, with Luscious Red in particular already shaping up to be a stunningly strong and glossy red.  In fact, that's the real benefit of this product - the buildable colour is nice, the balm texture comfortable, but the finish is absolutely lovely - a soft, glossy-but-not-too-obvious finish which makes the lips look full and lush.

The downsides?  The pigmentation is such that if your lips aren't in great condition when you apply, you'll end up with patchiness where the pigment clings to drier spots on the lips.  Nothing that can't be solved with a bit of lip scrub, though.  Wear is decent enough, at around three to four hours before the colour dries down into a stain - the lips feel moisturised at this stage, but not as much as if they'd been wearing Clarins Instant Light Lip Balm, for example.

At £8.99 each, these balms are a great way to get comfortable, buildable colour with a healthy full finish this summer.  Find them now at Boots.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Illamasqua To Be Alive Collection - Iridesce Shine Lipgloss

Illamasqua's latest collection, To Be Alive, isn't really my cup of tea at all - it's based entirely around blue, which is a colour I rarely wear as makeup (perhaps because it's a bit much with my hair).  One piece, though, is a surprisingly subtle take on blue - Iridesce Shine Lipgloss, which is a clear gloss with a subtle sprinkling of blue particles, which makes the gloss glow with a gentle blue iridescence.

Trying to photograph that blue iridescence was a bit of a bugger, which proves how subtle an effect it is.  A macro shot of the lips shows the icy blue particles, but in person it's hard to spot - the overall effect is a blue flash which is only visible when the sun hits it just right.  Alone, it's pretty, but over a blue toned red lip, it's stunning, albeit high maintenance.

This is the first time I've tried Illamasqua's Shine Lipgloss, and for a generally-gloss-disapproving person I'm pretty impressed.  The shine level is good, and the texture is wonderfully slippy, not at all tacky.  The downside is that it dries down in just over an hour, but hey, that's the price you pay for a glossy pout.

Shine Lipgloss in Iridesce costs £16.50, and is a limited edition with the To Be Alive collection, so run to the Illamasqua website if you're after a blue flash for your lips this summer.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Monday, 25 May 2015

Crabtree & Evelyn Black Absinthe Eau de Cologne

Okay, first off - this is a men's scent.  Second off, I really don't care - it's one of those deep yet fresh, nose tinglingly crisp scents with a warm heart which I absolutely adore, and I won't let the fact that it's been designed for a man put me off wearing it.  Yeah.

Packaged in an appropriately green bottle, Black Absinthe is a little bit Art Deco in it's design, putting you very much in the mind of French bohemian soirees with the green fairy.  As this is a cologne, the bottle has an open neck - I've been applying it by putting my finger across the opening, turning the bottle upside down, and dabbing gently behind the ears and on my neck.  It's a heady fragrance, so applying slowly and building up is a good thing, unless you want to overpower people.

The scent itself is fresh more than anything, opening with a cacophony of green and spicy notes, including absinthe and cardamom, before mellowing to something a bit more floral and creamy, with orange blossom and artemisia.  There's a distinctly warm and buttery heart to this fragrance, incorporating tonka bean (one of my favourites), vetivier sandalwood, but interestingly once the fragrance has fully dried down it doesn't become totally warm - once developed, it's a curious blend of greenness backed by warmth which is beautifully balanced.

Overall, then, it's a gorgeous scent, for men and for women, mixing as it does the crispness of modern fragrances with a warmer, more old fashioned core.  Find it at Crabtree and Evelyn, where it costs £45 for 100ml.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Friday, 22 May 2015

How to live with brightly coloured hair

I've had bright hair for years now, but recently started bleaching it to get it ultra, ultra bright.  It's been neon pink, it's been red, and it's now a slightly blue toned cerise which I haven't yet photographed... but it's fairly likely it'll continue to be somewhere between red and pink, and very bright.  I'm often asked questions about it, so I thought I'd write about what it's like to have bright hair: the maintenance cost, and the affect it has on your life.

Topping up the colour is essential.  Everyone loves that just-coloured look you get when you walk out of the salon, and unlike more natural colours, bright colours fade very, very fast.  I make colour masks out of Directions hair colour and a squirt of conditioner and leave on for an hour every single week.  That's why my hair always looks freshly coloured.

Sulphate-free shampoo is your friend.  Nothing strips colour more quickly than shampoos with lots of SLS in them (apart from anti-dandruff shampoo).  Wash with sulphate free shampoo, such as L'Oreal's Hair Expertise range - their EverSleek is one of my favourite ranges, and it doesn't strip colour as fast as normal high street shampoo.

Dry shampoo is also your friend.  Washing infrequently helps prevent fading.  I wash my hair three times a week at an absolute maximum, normally more like two.  I keep plenty of Batiste handy to make sure my hair doesn't look like it hasn't been washed in days.

Avoid pale clothes.  Bright colour often transfers a bit onto your clothes as you wear them.  Anything white, or with a pale collar, is guaranteed to be slightly pink after I've worn it.  

Beware of light nail polishes.  Washing bright hair whilst wearing pale nail polish will lead to stained nails, which look very weird.  I usually wear darker red/pink/purple shades as a result, or if I have to wear something stainable, I wash my hair whilst wearing latex gloves.

Embrace black bed linen and dark towels.  Bright hair will turn stain pretty pale bed linen.  Wet bright hair will trash white or pale towels.  My bed linen is black, and my towels are dark jewel tones.  Which leads me to...

Be prepared when you travel.  When travelling to stay at a friend's house, take a black pillowcase - no-one likes a guest whose hair destroys their linen.  Also, take plenty of dry shampoo to avoid having to wash your hair in someone else's bathroom.  When I travel for work, I sometimes pay for a wash and blow dry rather than washing my hair in a posh hotel bathroom, particularly if my hair is freshly coloured or the bathroom has obviously porous surfaces.

Abandon all hope of maintaining your hair on holiday.  Swimming, bright sunlight, chlorine, salt water - all of these will pull colour from your hair.  When I go on holiday, I resign myself to coming back with a weird reverse ombre, with blonde ends and pinky roots.  I make sure I have enough time to dye it back to normality before I go back to work.

Stock up on colour-removal products for your hair and for your house.  I have a couple of bottles of salon-strength colour removers for colour transfer onto my skin, and plenty of bleach at home for those times when the shower ends up with a distinctly rosy hue.  Oh, and a big drum of Vanish for my clothes.

Avoid sweating at all costs.   Sweat+bright hair = pink sweat running down my face in summer.  BAD.  I carry baby wipes to clean up on the go, and in summer let my hair get a little more faded to avoid being damp and pink.

So there it is:  bright hair actually affects much more than your hair itself, particularly if you choose the kind of hue with bleeds, transfers or stains a lot.  I think it's totally worth it though!  Do you have any bright hair life tips?  Share them in the comments below!

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

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Kiko Cosmetics Dusk til Dawn Volume Mascara and Graphic Ritual Kajal Eyeliner in Talisman Gold

I've long been impressed by Kiko's lipsticks and eye shadow products, and long been a bit disappointed in their mascaras - a recent try led me to write my shortest ever review.  So when I received the new Dusk til Dawn Volume Mascara from the brand, part of their Modern Tribes summer collection, I was prepared for it to be a bit rubbish.  Actually, its quite nice - it promises volume, and it gives a sort of medium- volume fluttery look, which isn't the most voluminous thing I've ever seen, but is pretty for daytime, and easily buildable for night.  It's also a mere £8.90, making it a bit of an everyday bargain.

With it, I'm wearing Graphic Ritual Kajal Eyeliner in Talisman Gold, which can be used on the inner rims of the eyes as well as on the lashline.  I've applied it along the upper and lower lashlines for a bright, wide eyed look.  The texture is very creamy and soft, applying with decent pigmentation and smudging easily.  Wear time is impressive too - I found it didn't migrate into my undereye bags during the day as some liners can do.  Not bad for just £5.90!

Disclosure: PR samples

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

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Burberry Kisses Lipstick in Claret Pink and Poppy Red

Claret Pink, Poppy Red
Burberry's latest Kisses lipstick release promises a weightless, hydrating texture and a buildable level of pigment which makes for multiple looks from one bullet.  Being a lipstick addict, I had to try them out.

The packaging is identical to Burberry's other Lip Mist and Lip Cover products, which makes for a pleasing symmetry on the dressing table and a bit of a scrabble through your makeup bag if you're carrying multiple types of Burberry lipstick.  It's weighty, solid, and has a satisfyingly strong magnet to keep the lid firmly attached to the base.

Claret Pink, Poppy Red
The lipsticks are embossed with an intricate pattern, as are the others in the range, and the bullets are gently shaped.  

Claret Pink
Claret Pink is a sheer coral pink - this is one swipe from the bullet.  It's possible to build it up stronger with additional swipes, but I quite like the subtlety and juiciness of a single swipe.

Poppy Red
Poppy Red is much more pigmented - a single swipe gives rich, full opacity, although it can also be built up for even more intense redness.

Texture wise, these lipsticks are everything that Burberry promises:  weightless on the lip once set, comfortable and hydrating to wear, and very easy to apply evenly.  Wear time is pretty reasonable:  four hours before the colour and the hydration fades away, leaving the lips slightly stained.

Overall, then, these lipsticks are a lovely addition into any lipstick addict's makeup bag - but they don't really offer anything new in a world where lipstick formulas are universally comfortable and well pigmented.  Still, if you like a touch of Burberry, you'll find them at Debenhams, where they cost £25 each.

Disclosure: Purchased by me.

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

Friday, 15 May 2015

BUY THIS NOW: Bleach London Reincarnation Mask

As you've probably noticed, I have brightly coloured hair.  It's been red, flourescent pink, deeper pink, and is now a wonderful shade which looks like a raspberry red until the sun hits it, whereupon it glows fuschia.  My hair has been bleached quite a bit, and I regularly have my roots bleached to keep up the brightness - which results in dull, tired hair, and worst still, has left me with incredibly porous hair where it's been bleached over a couple of times.

I tried Reincarnation Mask because Kellie, a fellow lover of bleach, recommended it, and I'm very very glad I did.  It's a rich, thick mask best left on for a long old while, and it leaves my hair feeling remarkably soft and supple.  It's also a bloody good base for a colour conditioner - I often mix up some of this with some Directions pink hair colour and leave it on for an hour to inject both moisture and colour into my hair.

If your hair is super dry, or you're a bit of a slave to the bleach, I'd highly recommend trying this.  Try to look past the very shower unfriendly packaging, though, as screwing that little cap back on is a bitch when your hands are slippery with conditioner.  Find it now at Boots, where it costs a very reasonable £6.

Disclosure:  Purchased by me.  Twice, actually.  That's how good it is.

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

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Too Faced Sugar Pop Eyeshadow Palette

Look at this.  An eyeshadow palette with macarons on it.  Worth buying already, right?

Inside, the macaron theme continues - distinctly sugary shades which put me in the mind of cake.

As usual, for Too Faced, this palette is nicely laid out into three eyeshadow looks - Sweet & Spicy, the most neutral, least colourful variety; Sugar Plums, a mix of very pretty purple toned shadows; and Candy Coated, a somewhat bold combination of some very bright colours.

Rock Candy, Macaron, Malted Milk Ball

Did you know that Malted Milk Balls are actually just American for Malteser?  Anyway, of the Sweet & Spicy mix, Rock Candy is a pale matte cream base shade; Macaron is an interesting orangey peach with gold shimmer; Malted Milk Ball is a shimmering metallic mid-brown.

Sugar Plums: Strawberry Ice, Sugared Violet, Blackberry
The Sugar Plums combo contains Strawberry Ice, a frosty pale lavender toned pink; Sugared Violet is an amazing stormy violet with a metallic finish; Blackberry is a matte purplish brown berry.  

Candy Coated: Peach Fuzz, Bubblegum, Blue Raspberry
And the crazier Candy Coated combo: Peach Fuzz is a soft matte peach sprinkled with gold glitter; Bubblegum is a shimmery mid-pink; Blue Raspberry is a frosty aqua turquoise.

Being most scared of the Candy Coated combo, I tried it out - and found that thanks to the soft, blendable textures, I could recreate a slightly more subtle version of the very brightly coloured look illustrated in the foldout look book in the palette.  It's still pretty bright, but not eye poppingly bright.
At £32, this is a lovely little palette, with some interesting and unusual colour combinations in it, perfect for spring/summer.  It makes a nice change from the neutral palettes Too Faced are known for, and it's a great example of a wearably colourful palette.  Find it at Debenhams and all the usual Too Faced stockists soon.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Monday, 11 May 2015

Kiko Sahara Glow Highlighter

I LOVE little pearls of stuff in a pot.  I don't know why they're so appealing - perhaps because they're tiny and shimmery, perhaps because they just look delicate - but I just love any product which comes in this kind of format.  This product, Kiko's Sahara Glow Highlighter, is no exception - pearls in shades of gold, bronze and tawny pink, which give a gentle glowing warmth when swirled together.

This product is part of Kiko's latest Modern Tribes collection, which has a distinctly golden summery feel to it, with an unexpected graphic twist and lovely wooden accents in the packaging.  Sahara Glow Highlighter, £14.90, is all summer, and it's best paired with this gloriously sculpted Face Brush, also £14.90, perfect for swirling in the pearls and applying the resulting powder to the cheekbones.

The effect is pretty subtle when used sparingly, as you can see from the above before-and-after photo - the difference is a little bit of warmth, and a little bit more dimension and glow.  You can layer it up for a more obvious golden shimmer, but I like it subtle.  Granted, it's not a particularly unique effect - any shimmering pink/bronze compact will give you a similar effect - but the dressing table friendly format and that cheekbone hugging brush are the real reasons to buy.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Meh - Dove Oxygen Moisture Root Lift Spray

I like a bit of volume, particularly when it's been a few days since I washed my hair.  I usually turn to Batiste for combined oil-banishing and volume-giving action, but there's a new product in town - Dove Oxygen Moisture Root Lift Spray, £3.99.  It's part of the bigger Dove Oxygen Moisture range, which is targeted at fine hair, and adds moisture without weighing the hair down.

The before and after photo shows the effect on hair which is a day or so after washing - I spritzed a bit onto my roots throughout the hair, give it a very haphazard rub in with my fingertips, and voila.  Um, sort of.  There's a bit of lift, but not really much - nothing compared to the 80s heights Batiste can take you to.  It might work a bit better on hair which is actually fine (mine definitely isn't), and a universal major benefit is that it absolutely doesn't leave your hair feeling like it's full of slightly weird feeling stuff like Batiste does.  Still, for me (and my relatively thick hair), it's not as impressive as Batiste.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Friday, 8 May 2015

Clarins Ombre Iridescente Cream-to-Powder Eyeshadow in Aquatic Rose and Aquatic Grey

These cute little pots of shadow are part of Clarins' spring/summer Aquatic Treasures makeup collection, and they're actually a new take on an existing product.  Ombre Matte was launched last year, and boasted a matte finish and a silky cream texture which sets into a powder finish once applied to the lids - Ombre Iridescente is the same thing, just with a more sparkly finish.

And oh, what a sparkly finish - as you can see from the swatches, at full opacity these creams are incredibly sparkly, almost metallic.  I find I have to build up a couple of layers to get to this level of intensity on the eye - a single layer is a much more subtle wash, which still twinkles prettily.

The texture is one of those weirdly bouncy, slightly pliable things, which smooth onto the lid easily and set down into a powdery yet solid finish.  I found it equally easy to apply with a firm bristled synthetic brush as I did with my fingers, although if you're looking for the intensity in the finish, a brush will help you get there much more quickly (and less messily, too).

The only downside is that I've found that I need a really good thick layer of primer to help these shadows last on my eyelids - and even then, I find that they crease after 10 hours.  Certainly not bad, but not ideal if you, like me, have oily lids.  For those without oily lids, and looking for an adaptable bit of shimmer this spring, they're lovely.  Find them now at the Clarins website, where they cost £19 each.

Disclosure: PR samples

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

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

BUY THIS NOW: Pur Minerals Pout Pen in Fuzzy Navel & Cosmo

Fuzzy Navel

I remember when Cover Girl launched their Outlast Lipstains - chunky markers full of lip stain, sadly not available in the UK, but brought back from the States by many a beauty addict for friends and family alike.  They were pretty popular for a while, until we realised that they were actually pretty drying, and kinda hard to apply, and went back to traditional lipsticks and glosses.

Pur Minerals are bringing back that trend with their Pout Pens, £14 - they feature a lipstain saturated marker (albeit with a much finer tip) at one end, and a chunk of slightly tinted balm at the other.  The premise is that you colour in your lips with the stain, and then apply the balm on top to keep the lips moist.  Nothing particularly new, but it is nice to have both products in the same packaging, and the addition of a slightly tinted balm means you can use it alone too.

The major appeal here is the lasting power - and wow, does this stuff last.  I've been wearing Cosmo a fair bit recently (I'll never turn down a good red), and so long as I apply the initial stain evenly and precisely, I can get through the entire day with perfect red lips which don't fade or smear or budge or anything.  And then when I get home, I have to fight to remove the stuff, ending up with lips which are still stained a subtle red.

THAT'S lasting power, people.  If you have to fight your makeup to get it off, it's a good 'un.

There are exceptions, of course - if you eat a super oily meal, it'll loosen a bit, although you'll still end up with a stained pout, if not a full intensity pout.  And if you try to layer it up too much, it'll be both incredibly uncomfortable and look a bit patchy.  But still, get the application right and you're set for the whole day.  If you love a good strong lip, you're lazy about reapplying, but can be bothered to smush on a bit of lip balm, this stuff is definitely worth a try.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Monday, 4 May 2015

New Shades! Bourjois Color Boost Lip Crayons in Proudly Naked, Sweet Macchiato, Pinking Of It

Proudly Naked, Sweet Macchiato, Pinking Of It

Bourjois' biggest, shiniest release for spring/summer may have been the Aqua Laque lipglosses, but there were also a few new shades in one of Bourjois' often underlooked Color Boost Lip Crayons. These crayons are pretty much a dead dupe for Clinique's groundbreaking Chubby Sticks, although they typically offer a touch more colour.

Anyway, the three shades are Proudly Naked, a slightly beige toned pink which is a glorious my-lips-but-better shade on me; Sweet Macchiato, a rich brown based red which is surprisingly subtle despite being such a strong colour; and Pinking Of It, a fuschia toned pink which just screams summer.

At just £7.99 each, these little crayons are a bargain - they're pretty long lasting, keep lips hydrated, and offer a great balance between pigment and juiciness in the finish.  Find them now at Boots.

Disclosure:  PR samples

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