Sunday, 12 June 2016

Blogging has changed. I haven't. And that's the problem.

Don't worry, I'm not going to moan about the current state of blogging.  Well, maybe a tiny bit, but not much.  There have been a slew of posts like this across the blogs of some of my oldest blogging friends recently, because the industry has changed, and as change usually goes, it's benefited some folks, and not others.

Back in the day when we were young and blogging was young and innocent and quite frankly things were better*, bloggers were typically hobbyists, squeezing their blogging in alongside a full time job.  PR events started happening in the evenings, posts took a while to appear, things were a bit, well, amateur.  Now, of course, blogging (or rather, bloggers) is an industry in itself, with influencers** commanding the attention of readers and brands in their droves.

For the hobbyist blogger, this can mean declining readership as people trim down their blog reading time to just their favourite influencers; brands do the same, seeking the biggest exposure.  Both of these things have happened to me.  Fewer people than ever are reading this blog nowadays, which makes me sad - I've invested a lot of time into it over the past seven years, and with commenting having dropped off a cliff and views down too, I kinda feel like I'm talking into a vacuum.  I've also been dropped from pretty much every press list in town, which also makes me sad - despite earning a good wage, I can't afford to buy enough product to post as regularly as I used to.

Both of these things are okay, though.  They're logical.  People will follow the bloggers/YouTubers/Instagrammers who have the most time to spend generating quality content.  Brands will work with people who can guarantee exposure and provide a professional working relationship.  As a hobbyist blogger who has no desire to be an influencer, go professional, or spend more time on my blog***, I'm just not as interesting in this brave new world.

And that's absolutely okay.

I'll continue to post occasionally, mostly with stuff from my sample backlog, or with stuff I've bought myself.  I won't pressure myself to schedule as many posts as possible on a Sunday.  I'll find time for some older hobbies I've neglected, like sewing and writing, and maybe even find a few new ones too.

That's the thing about change, you see.  If you don't move with it, you can't complain when you get left behind.  I could write something terribly trite about doors opening as others close****, but I'll save you the cringe and instead say goodbye to considering the London Beauty Review my other job.  Now it's just one out of many hobbies which make me the person I am.  And that's just fine with me.

* Sarcasm intended

** I hate this term.  Influencing is all about bringing people along with you, and helping them to make decisions or understand things without directing them.  It's not about projecting desirable lifestyle, and having people copy you to try to win that lifestyle for themselves.

*** Or, in fact, reply to emails from PRs more than once a week, and then only if I have enough energy whilst I'm sitting on the train on the way home from work.

**** Oops.

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

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Kat Von D Everlasting Lipstick in Lovesick

A recent trip to the US saw me floating next to the Kat Von D stand in Sephora, attracted to the Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks that every beauty blogger and their dog is writing about.  I also got attracted to the Lock It Foundation, but that's a tale for another day - possibly in a few months time, because every single branch of Sephora in the Bay Area was sold out of my shade.  Gah.

Anyway, back to the lipstick.  Everlasting Liquid Lipstick is one of those ultra-matte, ultra-long lasting lipsticks that are so, so hot right now, and the Kat Von D one has attracted quite the following because of the large shade range (28 shades!) and the availability of some unusual ones (hello, black goth lips) available in a retail store.  They cost $20 before tax, and given that my recent ultra-matte favourites are from Colourpop, and cost a mere $8 each, I decided to be restrained and only buy one shade of Everlasting Lipstick.

I chose Lovesick because it's a cool toned, mauve-y neutral pink, the kind of shade which goes with both heavy and light eyeshadow looks.  And wow, it's incredibly cool toned - if you're even slightly warm toned, you may find this shade makes you look dead.  If you're cool toned like me, it looks pretty good.

Texture wise, the lip cream is easily spreadable, and it's easy enough to outline and fill in your lips before it starts setting down.  Once set, it's almost unbudgeable - obviously, if you eat an oily thing it'll come off regardless, but normal eating and drinking are no match for this formula.  One thing I found compromised the wear was my habit of squashing my lips together immediately after applying lipstick - with this stuff, you need to walk around with your mouth open for a few minutes to let it set fully before you do any squishing, or it won't set properly, and it'll wear off patchily.

Everlasting Liquid Lipstick is just as good as Colourpop's Ultra Matte Lips.  It is, however, over double the price, and aside from way prettier packaging, it doesn't really bring anything that Colourpop doesn't.  Still, if you love a liquid matte lip, this one should be on your try list - Everlasting Lipstick really is lovely.

Disclosure:  Bought by me.

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

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Gah: Next Beauty Make Me Beautiful Cosmetics

Next Beauty have brought out a new range of makeup, handily accessible via their plethora of High Street stores, or via their very convenient home delivery service.  The range is pretty wide, including brushes, eyeshadows, foundations, nail polishes, lipsticks, and gift sets - everything you'd expect from a high street makeup brand.

I've tried a few products out, and the results were, well, mixed.  The Sheer Chubby Stick, £8 (not sure how that's not trademark violating) isn't actually that sheer, rather bringing a good punch of comfortable cherry red colour.  The peachy toned Matte Lipstick,  also £8, is a little on the dry side, but wears comfortably and packs a good level of pigment.  The eye pencil, £6.50, is creamy and blendable.

On the other side, the eyeshadow palette, £7.50, is terrible - it's incredibly sheer, and I struggled to build the colour up to anything noticeable on the lid.  The texture is also overly waxy, making getting the shadow off the mounds in the palette difficult.  The nail polishes, which come in sets of 4 for £10, are lacking in pigment too - they can be layered up to get an opaque finish, but these days, I see no reason why I should use a four coat nail polish when there are so many well priced two coat nail polishes on the market.

Mixed product quality aside, the thing I really dislike about this range is the name. Make Me Beautiful?  It implies that women need makeup to be made beautiful, and that without the makeup, a woman isn't beautiful on her own.  Which is bollocks.  Not good enough, Next Beauty.

Disclosure:  PR samples

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

Sunday, 22 May 2016

China Glaze Everglaze Polish in I Wanna Be Your Lava, French Press & Royal Satin

Gel-that-isn't-a-gel is a continuing nail trend, blending longer lasting formulas with super-glossy finishes for those who like the gel look but don't like the wear and tear that comes from bonding plastic onto your nails.  China Glaze's new Everglaze polishes are one of these faux-gels - they promise a week of solid wear, and a glossy finish.  I rarely have time to change my polish in the week nowadays, so something that'll last Sunday evening to Sunday evening sounds perfect for my regime.

First off, these three shades are gorgeously multi-tonal.  I Wanna Be Your Lava (pun-tastic) is a bright coral with a flash of fuchsia; French Press is a deep brownish grey with a flash of bronze; Royal Satin (my favourite!) is a rich, metallic berry which glows in the light.  Top marks for prettiness.  The range does come in some more subtle colours with cream finishes, too, but I'm really glad I received three of the more striking ones to try out.

And now, the wear time - does it really last a week?  Well, yes.  I get six days of solid wear with no chipping and barely noticeable tipwear, and on day seven I get a few tiny chips.  Impressive stuff.  Bear in mind that unlike a proper gel, this stuff isn't hardwearing if you're a bit clumsy with your hands - bang your nails into a surface, and it will chip.  Still, six days of wear with no chips suits my working week just fine - this polish is up there with Kiko's Power Pro for long wear.

At £9.95, they're not cheap, but they do perform exactly as promised.  Well worth a look if you like your nails to stay flawless during the working week with no maintenance.  You can find them at a couple of online retailers, including Nail Polish Direct, who are selling them below the RRP at £6.95.

Disclosure:  PR samples

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

Friday, 20 May 2016

A Revelation: NYX Jumbo Pencil in Milk

Urban Decay Dust, Makeup Geek Homecoming, Stila Kitten

Ever been perfectly aware of a cult beauty product and yet never tried it?  That's how I was with NYX Jumbo Pencil in Milk until recently - I spotted it in a NYX stand in a store, a lightbulb went on in my head (it spelled out brighter eyeshadow) and I bought it, expecting not very much despite having heard many, many times that it's creamy whiteness was the perfect way to brighten eyeshadows.

And indeed, it's bloody brilliant, I'm an idiot for not trying it earlier, etc etc.  The pencil is surprisingly smooth and creamy for something which costs a tiny £5 - it's easy to blend, doesn't crease as long as it's applied on top of primer, and brightens the hell out of pale shadows.  As you can see above, it doesn't work quite as well for deeper colours like Makeup Geek Homecoming, but for lighter shades like UD's Dust and Stila's iconic Kitten, it gives them a boost.  If you like that ultra bright neutral eye look, a dab of Milk blended in the centre of the lid before applying your sparkly pale shadow will add dimension and brighten the shadow.

Glorious.  Why didn't I try this before?  I forsee many bright-eyed looks in my future.

Disclosure:  Bought by me.

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

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

So, my hair is blue now....

Recently I fulfilled a life-long ambition and coloured my hair blue.  Well, the lovely Charley at Rockalily did it, but still, it's BLUE.  This shade is Directions Midnight Blue - it was originally a mix of Midnight Blue and Atlantic Blue, but I decided to refresh it with just Midnight Blue, as I love the depth of the colour.

Changing my hair colour has an affect on my wardrobe and on my makeup, and going from pink to blue is no different.  I can now wear any shade of red or pink lipstick, without worrying that it'll clash with my hair.  I look weird without strong brows and lots of black mascara, as the strength and depth of the blue can make my face look a bit washed out.  And I can wear red and pink clothes without fear of a clash too - I've already bought a few new red tops as a result!

This kind of colour change is pretty intense on your hair, and I'd never attempt such a big change without the help of a professional.  Charley bleached my pink hair to blonde-with-peachy-bits, then took it to blue - she was really, really thorough and as a result my colour isn't patchy at all.  She used Olaplex to stop my hair from being quite so frazzled, although it's still a bit dry - I'm using plenty of hydrating conditioner and applying a few drops of sweet almond oil every day.  If you're considering a big change, please go to a professional - I'll always recommend Rockalily if you're near London - your hair will thank you for it.

Disclosure:  New hair colour bought by me.  As well as multiple pots of Directions Midnight Blue, and some new colour depositing conditioners, which I'll write about sometime soon...

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

Monday, 16 May 2016

Bargain Brightening: SEVENTEEN Skin Wow Concealer

The past few weeks have been a bit of a clicky-pen-concealer-testing flurry in my house.  This Paul & Joe colour correcting one has been a bit of a hit for particularly blue-circled mornings, and this Seventeen* one has become a hit for a number of reasons, mostly because it's actually a concealer, where the Paul & Joe one isn't.

At just £4.99, it's a bit of a bargain too, particularly for something which can be used to brighten the undereye area, to add subtle highlights on the cheekbones, browbones and cupid's bow (not that I know anyone who does that for a normal day's makeup), and basically anything you'd use Touche Eclat for.  The similarities between it and Touch Eclat are obvious, from the golden clicky pen format, to the well-pigmented-but-not-heavy texture, to the brightening that doesn't come from glitter or shimmer.  Skin Wow blends well, and remains in place throughout the day - on dry skin days I find it does settle a little into my fine lines, but only after six hours or so, and it's only noticeable if I scrutinise my undereye area.  A little more eye cream than usual helps prevent any settling.

Given that Skin Wow is £4.99, and Touche Eclat is upwards of £20, and they're both just as great at brightening my undereye area, I know which I'll choose to repurchase.  Hint:  it's not Touche Eclat.

Disclosure:  PR sample

* I know they want me to use ALL CAPS now but I can't bring myself to do it in a chunk of text.  A title, sure, but throwing some ALL CAPS into a review feels a bit too shouty.  Apart from when I'm making a point, of course, such as right now.

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

Saturday, 14 May 2016


Many of my posts start with a vague reason for buying cosmetics whilst on work trips to the US.  This one, though, this one actually has a solid reason (other than addiction) behind the purchase - I realised I'd forgotten to pack cleansing oil, and of course, I had to go buy some.  I found this lovely Burts Bees Cleansing Oil in Walgreens, where it was about $15.  Unlike some cleansing oils I've used, it's mineral oil free, and surprisingly thick and rich in texture.  It dissolves makeup brilliantly, and leaves my skin feeling not only super clean, but also really, really soft.  Gorgeous.

Now, if only it was available in the UK - I can't seem to find it anywhere online, and my bottle is now empty.  So I guess I'll be buying another bottle or two when I next head to the US....

Disclosure:  Bought by me.

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

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Paul & Joe Concealer Pen in Peach Yellow

This Paul & Joe concealer pen, £18, is new for spring 2016, and rather than being a traditional flesh toned concealer, it's more of a colour corrector, making it part of this year's biggest trend.  Peach Yellow is a yellow/peach toned shade, which works wonders on dark circles which are blue toned.  As you can see above, my undereye area is particularly blue toned, but with the concealer blended in, it's much less blue, and much brighter to boot.

Texture wise, the concealer is creamy but relatively thick, so you'll need some gentle pat-and-blend action with your ring finger to blend it in flawlessly.  Luckily, despite the creaminess, I've found that this stuff wears well all day, with minimal creasing.

So there you have it - if you need your dark circles toned down and they're a bit on the blue toned side, this concealer will neutralise them brilliantly.  Just take care not to apply too much, as otherwise you'll find your undereyes look a touch orangey - never a good look.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Urban Decay Afterglow Highlighter in Aura

Urban Decay have released three powder highlighters, and as you'd expect, they're gorgeous.  Finely milled and aiming to give a glow rather than just powdered shimmer, they're every bit as glowy and unique as I'd hoped.

There are three shades available; Sin, a glowing peachy white gold; Fireball, a glowing coral; and Aura, a glowing pink.  I've been using Aura for the past week or so, and it's completely unlike any other highlighter I own - and I own a fair few.  If your skin is pale and you find many highlighters too golden, you'll love Aura - it's an almost icy, almost duochrome pink/white/opal colour, which contains no glitter, just a pink shift glow.  It's pretty pigmented, but you can apply it softly for a subtle, real-skin glow, or apply it heavily for a more obvious strobing effect.

I'm in love.  This product is so flattering to my cool toned, pale skin - not too gold, not too silver, not too white, but gloriously pink and opal.  The closest comparison I can draw in colour is to Becca's Opal Shimmering Skin Perfector, although that's a liquid, and UD's powder is much easier to use for cheekbone and browbone highlighting perfection.

Downsides:  unfortunately the admittedly beautiful gunmetal packaging and its fishnet inlay mean that there's no mirror in this compact, which makes it a little less practical for on-the-go-glow.  And it could last longer;  I apply it at 7am and by about 2pm it's barely visible on the skin.  Still, I'm prepared to accept that for such a pretty, pale-skin-friendly ethereal glow.

Obviously the Afterglow highligher collection is providing super popular, because Aura and its two sisters are out of stock on the UD website.  When they're in stock, though, they'e £19 each, spendy, but worth it.  If you need something to do whilst waiting for them to come back, you can go back and count the number of times I used the word 'glow' in this review.  It's rather a lot.  For obvious reasons.

Disglowsure:  PR sample

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

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Mixed Bag: DHC Beauty Lift Lotion & Beauty Lift Essence

DHC Beauty Lift bills itself as an anti-aging regime, designed to hydrate the skin and tackle fine lines to give a 'lifted' result.  I've been using the Beauty Lift Lotion and Beauty Lift Essence for about six weeks now, so I thought it was time to talk results.

Firstly, the product naming is a bit confusing - perhaps less so if you're used to Japanese skincare, but I wasn't entirely sure what Lotion and Essence corresponded to - I guessed that Lotion was a light moisturiser, and Essence was a serum.  One out of two ain't bad - Essence is indeed a serum, but Lotion is actually a toner, which I wasn't expecting.

Essence, £35, is easily my favourite product of the two - the texture is light, almost gel like, and with a bit of fingertip massage action sinks quickly into the skin.  My skin feels nourished and hydrated after use, and stays that way all day.  Whilst the hydrating action does help makeup go on more smoothly, the texture of this serum leaves the skin feeling natural - no powdery, silky silicone finish here.

Lotion is, as I discovered, a toner, and I was pleased to read that you can apply it with your hands, rather than with cotton pads.  A few drops dispersed between my palms and patted onto my face left my skin feeling fresh and a little more hydrated, but that was pretty much it.  And, given that this toner costs a stonking £34 for 145ml, I can't help but feel that it's way overpriced for what feels like a pretty fleeting hydrating effect.

So there you have it. If you're keen to find a hydrating, lightweight serum which leaves your skin feeling fresh and super natural, Beauty Lift Essence is a good one to try.  Unless you like throwing money directly at your face and having it immediately disappear, I'd avoid Beauty Lift Lotion.  Find them both (and the other two moisturisers in the Beauty Lift range) at the DHC website.

Disclosure:  PR samples

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

Friday, 6 May 2016

Long but not fat: SEVENTEEN Long Lash Mascara

Seventeen's latest mascara is Long Lash mascara, and it's a bit of a bargain at just £6.99.  Designed with a skinny, short bristled brush, it promises long lashes which don't flake or smudge.  And, provided you're prepared to put a bit of work into your lashes, that's pretty much what you'll get - soft lashes which are gloriously long and last all day.

What you won't get, unfortunately, is much by way of volume, which means that if your lashes are spindly and sparse like mine, you'll end up with length but little thickness, and less definition on the lashline than you'd like.  The sticky formula of the mascara does require some good wigglin' from root to tip to ensure even coverage and to avoid clumps - combing it through without wiggling will get clumpy, fast - and even with all the wiggling in the world, you can't layer this mascara up beyond two coats, otherwise... clumps.

So, a reasonable lengthening mascara, but not for those who are lazy, in need of volume, or who like a lot of layering.  A good basic at a basic price.  Find it at Boots.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Makeup Geek Eyeshadow in Homecoming, Vanilla Bean, Burlesque, Taupe Notch & Fairytale

After my last foray into Makeup Geek foiled eyeshadows, I decided to buy a few neutral shades from their original line of eyeshadows too.  Well, a few neutral shades, and a deep red and a lilac, because, well, why not.

Homecoming is a metallic medium bronze; Vanilla Bean a slightly shimmering yellow-toned cream; Burlesque a rich metallic reddish auburn; Taupe Notch a shimmering brown/taupe; and Fairytale a cool grey-toned lilac matte.  All five eyeshadows are extremely well pigmented - even Vanilla Bean, although you can't really see it as it's so close to my natural skin tone.

As well as boasting impressive pigmentation, these shadows are lovely and blendable - particularly the shimmer/metallic shades, which are very, very buttery indeed.  The less shimmery Vanilla Bean and matte Fairytale are also blendable, but don't blend themselves as much as the other shades do.  My only regret is that Fairytale is much more purple than I imagined - I thought it was more of a slightly purple grey, but actually it's a grey purple, and as such it's a bit lonely alongside the other shades I own, which are all neutral.  Definitely worth seeking out swatches online instead of relying on the pan colours on Beauty Bay.

One of the things that attracted me to the Makeup Geek eyeshadow range is the sheer number of colours available (over fifty available at Beauty Bay, and even more available in the States), and their relatively cheap price point at £4.95 each.  If you're looking to build up a collection of really high quality eyeshadows and you want complete control over the shades, some of these and a Z palette are a great place to start.  The experience of choosing and filling my Z palette reminded me a little of doing the same with MAC eyeshadows when I first got into eyeshadow - albeit at a fraction of the price.

You can find Makeup Geek at BeautyBay.  And look, they have duochrome eyeshadows too!  I know what I'm buying next...

Disclosure:  Bought by me.

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

Monday, 2 May 2016

Silicone-Free Goodness: Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Primer

I'm not usually a fan of primer, but this Too Faced one has worked its way into my daily routine.  Hangover Replenishing Primer is designed to perk up dull skin - hence the name - and contains coconut water and probiotics to give skin a boost.  It's also silicone free - which means you won't get that weirdly silky smooth finish you get with a silicone primer, just hydrated, moist skin - and an added bonus is that the lack of silicone means it plays nicely with most foundations (and I've tested it with most of my collection over recent weeks).

There's a very slight coconut scent, thanks to the coconut water, but it's very subtle, and isn't noticeable on the skin.  Hangover is definitely a hydrating primer - if your skin's on the oiler side you may find it a bit too hydrating, and not enough mattening - but if your skin veers towards the dry or mature side, you'll find it a refreshing extra layer of moisture between your moisturiser and your foundation.  I'm not convinced it increases wear time, but it definitely makes application smoother, and keeps the skin moist for longer.

At £27, it's not cheap - but if you like a moisturising, silicone free primer, it's definitely worth a try. Find it at Debenhams.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Thursday, 28 April 2016

SEVENTEEN Easy on the Eye Palettes in Birthday Suit and The Big Smoke

Birthday Suit
Birthday Suit
Birthday Suit - eyeshadows
Birthday Suit - eyeshadows
Birthday Suit - metallic creams
The Big Smoke
The Big Smoke
The Big Smoke - eyeshadows
The Big Smoke - eyeshadows
The Big Smoke - metallic creams
The Big Smoke - on my eyes
Whew, that was a lot of photos.  And indeed, SEVENTEEN's Easy on the Eye palettes are a whole lot of palette for a mere £7.99 a pop.  There are two variations - Birthday Suit, a selection of soft nudes, and The Big Smoke, made up of smoky shades with a bent towards blue/purple tones.

Each palette contains eight eyeshadows in a mix of matte, pearl and shimmer finishes; three metallic creams, and one eye primer.  The primer is good but not quite as hardcore as UD's Primer Potion or Too Faced's Shadow Insurance, and if your lids aren't too oily you might find you can get by with it.  For me, I needed a stronger primer to get the colours to stick without creasing.

The shadows are, as you can see in the swatches, a bit of a mix when it comes to pigmentation - the mattes are a little chalky and sheer, with the shimmer finish shadows being the most pigmented.  Despite this, they're all easily layered, so you can build up the colour - something that's generally a good idea with a smoky eye to avoid looking like you've got a black eye rather than an artfully blended smoky one.  The surprise standout for me was the metallic creams - they're densely pigmented, with a ton of shimmer which gives them a beautifully metallic finish which looks a lot more expensive than the product actually is.  Granted, they're a little too creamy to work all over the eye, but dabbed into the inner corners, or onto the centre of the lid, or even applied sheerly onto the cheekbones, they do a great job of catching the light and adding a touch of colour.

All in all then, a reasonably priced palette with reasonably good quality eyeshadows inside to match - you'll need to work a bit to get the most out of them, but for the teeny tiny price, I can't complain!

Disclosure:  PR samples

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