Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Kneipp Devil's Claw Back Comfort

Everyone gets a sore back sometimes, I think.  Mine has been distinctly better since I got a standing desk and stopped hunching over a keyboard every day, but years of bad posture and slouching means that I still ache in my shoulders, particularly when I'm stressed.

Kneipp's range of herbal bath products recently expanded to offer relief for these very symptoms - and the results are good, if a little aesthetically odd.  Devil's Claw Herbal Bath is a thick, syrupy blood red liquid - you chuck a capful into a running bath and swish around.  This is where it gets a bit weird - the water goes a deep red colour, not unlike a bath full of blood (if you're macabre) or Ribena (if you're childish).

Weird looking water aside, Devil's Claw Herbal Bath proves itself to be very effective in a topical manner - the rich, warming aroma encourages relaxation, and the anti-inflammatory properties of the Devil's Claw plant help soothe the back (as well as any other tired muscles).  I've not tried the massage oil, for lack of a compliant other half to do the massaging, but I'd thoroughly recommend the Herbal Bath as a relaxing, soothing way to ease achey backs.  Particularly at the price of £10, which gets you 10 baths.  Bargain.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Sunday, 28 June 2015

My first helix piercing

Long time no posts!  It's been a crazy couple of weeks work wise, but I took time to get something done for myself this weekend - I got a helix piercing.  Since it's cartilage rather than flesh, it hurt a bit more than my existing earlobe piercings, and it's still a bit sore, compared to my lobes, which stopped hurting virtually immediately.

The piece of jewellery is a crescent cluster by a brand called Anatometal, and it's gorgeous - it's very sparkly, comparatively quite feminine compared to other cartilage piercings I've seen, and fits snugly into the shape of my ear.  Despite being seven stones broad, it sits in a single hole, so the effect is much more dramatic than the actual piercing itself!

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

Thursday, 18 June 2015

BUY THIS NOW: Urban Decay Revolution High Colour Lipgloss in Quiver, Assassin & Savage

Urban Decay's ever-expanding Revolution range has expanded again, bringing us a high pigmentation lipgloss which is called Revolution High Colour Lipgloss, unsurprisingly.  The packaging of this new lip product is gorgeous - echoing the original and sheer lipsticks, the tubes feature an undulating tube and cap, with the cap done in a stormy gunmetal grey.

The applicator mixes the best of a bendy silicone with traditional colour-carrying flocking, combined with a pointed arrowhead shape which makes it easy to apply the gloss precisely along the lipline.  From this angle you can also see the shape of the tube itself - remarkably flat, it's designed to fit into a pocket easily, making it perfect for application on the go.  Whilst this isn't a new thing in the beauty industry, it definitely makes these glosses feel more easily portable.

Be still my beating heart!  Quiver is an absolutely gorgeous mid-pink with a creamy, slightly milky finish and pigmentation which is almost fully opaque.  It's cool toned, a tiny bit berry, and very, very juicy-pretty indeed.

Assassin is described as a pink but looks far more red to me, albeit a red with a pinky raspberry tinge and tons of sparkling pink glitter.  The glitter isn't visible on the lip unless you zoom in really close - from a distance it just adds more dimension and depth.  Pigmentation on this shade is a little less intense than with Quiver - a single coat gives semi-opaque cover which is a little patchy until you smush your lips together.

I was expecting to hate Savage, with it's bright, cool, purpley-pink, but it's actually rather nice, thanks to that intensely milky finish.  Pigmentation wise, it's a little sheer, but the milkiness stops it from being too sheer and makes it a very wearable pop of colour.

Texture wise, these glosses are surprising - they're almost a gel, sliding onto the lips smoothly and feeling moist and comfortable.  They are, unfortunately, a bit sticky, but the upside of that stickiness is that the wear time is an amazing 4 hours, which is something I'll gladly trade for a bit of stick.

At £15, these glosses are worth every penny if you find a shade that sings to you - for me, that's Quiver, and I anticipate wearing it all summer long.  The packaging is both functional and pretty, the shades interesting and varied (there are 14 in total), and the longevity surprisingly good for a gloss.  What's not to love?  Find them at the Urban Decay website now.

Disclosure:  PR samples

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

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Clinique Cheek Pop New Shades! Pink Pop & Melon Pop

One of my favourite lauches last year were Clinque's ever-so-pretty Cheek Pops, flower shaped natural-finish blushers in subtle colours.  This year, Clinique have added a few more shades for summer - here are two of the new shades, Pink Pop and Melon Pop.

Pink Pop, Melon Pop
Boasting the same semi-translucent finish as the originals, Pink Pop is a cool toned pink, and Melon Pop is a peachy pink.  Both are matte but with a slightly glowy finish which doesn't come from any discernible shimmer.

Pink Pop
 On my pale, cool toned skin, Pink Pop gives a soft rosy look- I've applied it pretty lightly here, and the result is a very natural flush which goes well with my pink lipgloss.

Melon Pop
Melon Pop is a more neutral shade - I think my skin almost looks bare in this photo.  A light wash of Melon Pop gives a touch of peachy colour which is more about adding warmth and definition than any real contrast to the face.

At £16.50, Cheek Pops aren't cheap, but they are definitely worth the price - I've been using last year's Ginger Pop sample at least once a week for the past year and it's still going strong, although the flower imprint is long gone.  Find them now at the Clinique website.

Disclosure: PR samples

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

Monday, 15 June 2015

A game of two halves: Murad Rapid Collagen Infusion

Murad is a brand I have somewhat mixed feelings about:  on one hand, they make some effective skincare which is pretty innovative (for example the weirdly bouncy eye cream I tried recently), but on the other, their products are pretty expensive and can be hit and miss - a combination which can make for some very expensive mistakes.

Rapid Collagen Infusion is an anti-aging serum designed to plump up and hydrate the skin, smoothing fine lines and wrinkles.  It also claims to promote healthy collagen in the skin, which I suspect is a bit of a long shot for a topical product, but whatever.

Texture wise, it's very interesting - the formula is thick but incredibly silky and velvety, sinking into the skin within moments.  Skin is left feeling incredibly smooth, and a little bit firmer too.  The plumping effect seems good, too, as my frown lines seem a little softer after application too.  Long term, I've not noticed a huge difference in my skin bar a little extra firmness; the main selling point for me is the smoothness and the plumping action.

And here's the rub:  this serum costs £65 a tube, which is a high price to pay, particularly when I feel that the effects are pretty similar to Clinique's Turnaround Serum, which also gives incredibly smooth skin, and costs £37.  Granted, the Clinique product doesn't have that extra-firming punch, but I'm not sure it's worth an extra £28 on the pricetag.

If you're interested in trying Murad Rapid Collagen Infusion, you'll find it on the Murad website, where they're selling a special limited edition in support of the Prince's Trust - £10 of the price goes to the charity.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Color Wow Pop & Lock Crystallite Shellac

I'm genuinely a little bit confused by Color Wow's Pop & Lock Crystallite Shellac.  It's described as a new breed of styling product, and the instructions simply advise you to apply to wet or dry hair and style as usual.  Supposedly, the shellac-like formula seals in colour and moisture and locks out dryness.

My first experiment with it saw me apply it to damp hair and then use my Babyliss Big Hair for a smooth blow dry.  My hair, which is bleached and extremely colour processed, turned out smooth and shiny, but felt a little dry and lacking in moisture in the ends, particularly compared to when I use a blowdry cream like Bumble & Bumble's Blow Dry Straight.

My second experiment involved using a couple of pumps along the mid-lengths and ends of my dry, styled hair as a finishing product.  The results were better - I got great definition, my ends were smooth without a trace of fuzz, and my hair was amazingly shiny.  Crystallite Shellac contains mica for sparkle, which you can see in the bottle and on your hands, but unfortunately (thankfully?) doesn't come across on the hair at all.

Overall, then, I suspect this product may be a better match for someone whose hair is less frazzled from colour than mine is, particularly if you want to use it as a dual purpose wet and dry styler.  If you're looking for a super shiny, definition giving finishing product, it's definitely worth a try, regardless of the condition of your hair - an added bonus is that it feels a lot lighter than an oil or a serum.  Find it at Feel Unique where it costs £14 - not a bad price at all given that a couple of pumps is all I needed on my mid-length, thick hair.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Granite

A few months ago I found myself in the awkward position of having changed my hair colour to a cerise pink with purple undertones, which looks red in some lights, pink in others, and purple sometimes too.  Suddenly, my favourite rose pink lipliner, which was a perfect brow match for my previous hair colour, was all wrong.  Naturally, since I was visiting the US, I went to Sephora and asked for help choosing a new brow colour which didn't match my hair, but was cool toned enough to be a good match.  The makeup artist pointed me towards Anastasia's Brow Wiz and I've been hooked ever since.

Brow Wiz is a dual-ended product, one end containing a very, very fine pencil, and one end containing a mascara spoolie style eyebrow brush.  The pencil end is fine enough, soft enough, and pigmented enough that it easily fills in and shapes brows for a defined look, even where brows are a bit patchy.  After application, you can use the brush to soften the pencil and to tidy up any misaligned hairs.

It doesn't offer anything by way of taming - if your brows are unruly, this product alone won't tame them - it just offers natural looking colour for perfectly defined brows.  It also comes in an impressive range of shades - nine of them to be exact - meaning that you can get a good match regardless of your hair colour and skin tone.  Granite is suggested for those with very dark hair with cool, ashy tones, and despite my hair being bright not dark, it contrasts well, with the coolness of the shade making for a complimentary match.

At £15.50, Brow Wiz is more expensive than high street brow pencils, but worth it if you struggle to find a shade to match, or if you're looking for the most natural way to fill in gaps.  Find it at BeautyBay.

Disclosure:  Bought by me.  I actually bought two, that's how impressed I was.  I'll be buying them in twos from now on.

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

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

BUY THIS NOW: Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue in Opal

Bare Minerals have come a long way since their original powder foundations made mineral makeup a thing.  Their latest release, Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream, is a lightweight tinted moisturiser which promises serious hydration, light/medium buildable coverage, and a natural finish.

The packaging is a simple bronze squeezy tube, which works just fine when it works.  My first sample repeatedly got clogged up, requiring me to poke the bristles of my foundation brush down the nozzle, and finally use a pin to pierce a small hole in the top of the tube to prevent air bubbles forming.  The second sample tube I've tried has been okay, though, so hopefully my tube was a one off.

One slightly incongruous thing about the packaging is that for all the sleek, expensive looking, luminous bronze plastic tube, the shade name is a sticker plonked on the back.  With the product costing a stonking £26 a tube, I'd expect Bare Minerals to spend enough to print the shade names onto the tubes themselves.

Anyway, the product itself is fantastic.  I was afraid that the hydrating/tinted moisturiser style would mean a dewy (shiny) finish, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it slightly luminous and glowing whilst being semi-matte.  Coverage wise, it's pretty buildable - I'm wearing a fairly heavy application above and it's medium coverage, but still natural with it.  If I use a little less, more of my freckles shine through.

My other concern with tinted moisturiser products is that they won't last the whole day - I put my makeup on at 7am, and expect it to still look good when I leave work at 7pm.  Complexion Rescue fares pretty well throughout the day - my skin is a little bit more shiny in the evening, but overall it's still even and smooth and wearing more or less the same amount of foundation as it was when I started the day.  Hydration wise, I can't say I've noticed a huge difference, but my skin hasn't developed any dry patches when wearing it, which is nice.

Overall, then, I've really fallen for this product - it offers lightweight, natural-finish colour and I love the fact I can wear more or less depending on how skin-confident I'm feeling.  Add to that the lasting power and you've got the perfect summer foundation.  Find it now at Boots, where it costs a spendy, but totally worth it, £26.

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

Sunday, 7 June 2015

YSL Full Metal Shadow in 4 Onde Sable & 7 Aquatic Copper

YSL have released a new range of liquid eyeshadows for summer, rather pun-tastically called Full Metal Shadow.  They claim long lasting colour, a cooling effect, a metallic finish, and a specially shaped applicator to help smooth the product over the lids.

The applicator follows a similar angled shape to the one YSL first introduced in their Glossy Stain lip products.  The pointy end allows you to get right into the corner of the eyes, and the large flat bit gives a good sweep of product across the lid.  The material is that of a standard doe's foot applicator -slightly flocked, making sure it absorbs a good amount of product from the tube, useful when the texture of the eyeshadow is so light and fluid.

4 Onde Sable, 7 Aquatic Copper
 I was surprised to find that the pigmentation of these liquid shadows is actually rather sheer when I first swatched them.  Swatched unblended directly onto the skin, they're undeniably sparkly, albeit a little patchy and definitely not the high shine metallic finish I was hoping for.

And here's why swatches can be misleading - this is a good thick coat of Full Metal Shadow in 4 Onde Sable applied with the applicator, and blended round the edges with my ring finger.  The effect on the eyelids is actually far more full-on than the swatch would imply - it's still not a full opacity metallic robot-lid, but it's certainly pretty.  Onde Sable is a glorious everyday colour, too - a soft beige with a slight rosy-goldness too it, it lights up my eye area and makes me look awake, and pairs well with a stronger lip colour.

Overall, then, Full Metal Shadow isn't quite what I thought it would be - but I've found it to be a perfectly lovely wash of summer-appropriate, shimmering, glowing colour.  Oh, and over primer, I've found it easily lasts the whole day - indeed, up to the 16 hours that YSL claim.  Should you buy it?  Yes, if you fancy a treat and you like your shadows unapologetically shimmery (but not full on metallic).  Find Full Metal Shadow now at Boots for a spendy, but normal for YSL, £21.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Too Faced Bronzer in Snow Bunny, Sun Bunny, Milk Chocolate Soleil and Pink Leopard

Too Faced have a staggeringly large selection of bronzers - matte, shimmery, cool toned, warm toned, blush/bronzer hybrid...  Today's post is about my four favourites: Snow Bunny, a luminous bronzer with a cool tone; Sun Bunny, a shimmering bronzer with a slightly warmer tone; Milk Chocolate Soleil, a matte bronzer for pale/medium skin tones; and Pink Leopard, a luminous blushing bronzer.

The packaging is very cute - pale gold, heavyweight solid plastic, with a pretty motif embossed on the lid.  They have decent sized mirrors within, and the pan size is pretty large, meaning you can swirl your biggest, fluffiest brush with ease.  My only criticism is that all the variations have the same packaging, so if you own more than one, you will find yourself turning them over and reading the label on the back - the labels themselves are also the same colour, so there's no at-a-glance differentiation to be had.

Clockwise from top left: Snow Bunny, Sun Bunny, Pink Leopard, Milk Chocolate Soleil

Snow Bunny
Sun Bunny
Milk Chocolate Soleil
Pink Leopard
Left to right: Snow Bunny, Sun Bunny, Milk Chocolate Soleil, Pink Leopard

From the swatches, you can see the differences in tones and finishes - Snow Bunny and Sun Bunny have similar gently shimmering finishes, with Sun Bunny being a little deeper and warmer.  I can only use Sun Bunny when I'm sporting a touch of the sun about my face, and even then only with a light touch.  Snow Bunny, with it's lighter, cooler colour, is more everyday friendly.  Milk Chocolate Soleil is a very light, matte bronzer - perfect for my pale skin, it works for contouring and for all-over bronzing.  It's probably the best pale-skin bronzer I've ever tried.  Pink Leopard is less pink than I'd hoped, but makes a very pretty pinky toned blush/highlighter - it has a fairly frosty finish though, so a light hand is needed to avoid robot-face.

As an aside, the Too Faced Kabuki brush is amazing for blending and buffing into the skin, but unless you like a very bronzed look, be careful when using it to pick up product from the pan - it has relatively dense bristles which pick up and deposit colour with more intensity than I was expecting.

And finally, here I am wearing Milk Chocolate Soleil in the hollows of my cheeks, along my jawline, and lightly brushed either side of my nose, with Pink Leopard blended across my cheekbones.  It's a luminous, highlighted look which sculpts and defines my face, and it goes really, really well with a coppery smoky eye.

I find these bronzers last really well - easily throughout the day, with only a little top up required in the evening - and the textures are soft and easily blendable.  With the exception of Milk Chocolate Soleil, which is slightly sheer, they're all pretty deeply pigmented - so it's best to start light and build up, particularly if you're pale and afraid of bronzer.

Snow BunnySun BunnyMilk Chocolate Soleil and Pink Leopard all cost £25, which is expensive, but not awful given the generous 10g product weight and the pigmentation and lasting power of the product.  If that isn't enough, Milk Chocolate Soleil also smells of chocolate, making it a true pleasure to use.  Nom.  You can find the full range of all eight bronzers at Debenhams.

Disclosure:  PR samples

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

Monday, 1 June 2015

Quick Pick: Aromatherapy Associates Soothing Face Oil

This facial oil is glorious for skin which is feeling a little stressed, a little pink from the sun, or a little in need of some TLC.  Made of a blend of pure plant oils, it's a heavy face oil, giving you plenty of time to massage it into the skin for maximum moisturisation.  It leaves a residue, making it completely unsuitable for use in the daytime, but left on overnight, skin feels soft and calm in the morning.

At £47 for 15ml, it's incredibly expensive - but, as with all Aromatherapy Associates products, you know you're getting a high quality skincare product made with cold pressed oils.  I also find that two tiny pumps go a long way - easily enough to cover face and neck with enough oil for a good massage.  Find it at the Aromatherapy Associates website.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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