Monday, 29 February 2016

Too Faced La Creme Colour Drenched Lip Cream in Jelly Bean

Ah, Too Faced, makers of lovely eyeshadows and glorious lip products.  La Creme Colour Drenched Lip Cream has been on my list of lipsticks to buy for a while, because I'd heard it was squishy soft and beautifully pigmented, and so when I accidentally did a sizeable BeautyBay order recently, it was one of the things which accidentally fell into my basket.

At £18, it's not a cheap lipstick, but the luxe gold packaging and pretty embossing do make you feel like you're using something a bit special.  According to Too Faced, it provides unprecedented, ultra-comfortable wear by combining creamy colour and intense hydration.  And indeed, the texture is insanely buttery - gliding the bullet across the lips feels more like applying lip balm than it does applying lipstick.  The colour is pigmented, but with a glossy, plush finish which makes my lips look healthy, moist and full.  It really does feel comfortable on the lips - much more balm-like than lipstick like.

The downside of the hydrating formula and comfortable feeling is that it doesn't wear nearly as long or as hard as a more matte formulation - I get about three hours, by the end of which the colour has softened to a stain and lost all its glossiness.  That's okay, though - if you want ultra wear, go for a matte, and if you want a comfortable, casual lip which feels and looks moist, just reapply every two to three hours.

Jelly Bean, the bright pinky red I'm wearing above, is out of stock at many Too Faced retailers online - but Debenhams have a good selection of other shades, from pretty nudes to brighter reds.  I'm definitely curious about Sugar Daddy, the kind of nude rose I really like.

Disclosure:  Bought by me.

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

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Glowy in a Good Way: Bare Minerals Bareskin Serum Foundation

Dear readers, as you may know, I dislike glowy finish foundations.  I like matte, or semi matte foundations, and I love that white silica powder which mattifies things without making them all powdery.  I tell you this because I have been won over by a glowy foundation, and this is Most Surprising News.

The glowy foundation in question is Bare Minerals' Bareskin Serum foundation, which comes in a dinky squeezy dropper bottle, and has a very fluid, very silky texture.  The first time I used it, I squeezed two drops out, and immediately had to remove the foundation from my face because it was way, way too heavy - despite the fluid texture, there's a good whack of pigment in this foundation, and one drop is all you need to start you going.

If your skin is in reasonably good nick, a single drop applied with your fingers will give a wonderfully fresh, slightly glowy, beautifully even finish.  If you want a little more coverage, using a brush and building up slowly will give you more opacity.  Either way, the finish is glowy and fresh - and by that I mean that the skin looks healthy, like you've been drinking water and those irritating green smoothies which look like they should taste delicious but taste like cold pureed soup.  The finish is most definitely not glowy as in sparkly, or glowy as in oily, or glowy as in give-me-the-mattifying-powder-now.   I'm wearing Bare Shell, which is for pale cool skin tones, and there are twenty shades to choose from.

At £26. it's undoubtedly an expensive foundation, but in my mind it's totally, totally worth it, particularly if you want to look like the healthful kind of person who owns (and actually uses) a Nutribullet.  Or what I think they should look like.  Anyway, if you're quick, you can find it at Feel Unique, who are having a sale and selling it for £20.80.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Maybelline The Falsies Push Up Drama Mascara

Maybelline's new mascara has landed with a bit of a bang, with numerous celebrities taking to Instagram to showcase it's lash boosting prowess.  This makes me feel pretty old, as I've heard of few of these celebrities, but the cool kids on Instagram seem impressed, so hey.

What I'm impressed with is the mascara itself, although it did take a little while to get to grips with the super black, thick and sticky formula.  Immediately after opening the tube, it was a little too wet and a little too clumpy, but after a day or so, it became much better.  My lashes are long, ultra black, and super voluminous after use - the nubbly wand also makes it possible to comb through the lashes to get good definition.  You do still have to work at getting great lashes - and woe betide you if you try to layer it up, for you will end up with a uni-lash, or at best spider-lashes, and you will either look very edgy or very silly.

All in all, then, a bit of a mixed review - a good mascara if you're prepared to put a bit of work in to make sure you get fluttery, voluminous lashes, but don't expect a quick, easy application.  And don't try to use it the second you open the tube.  Find it at Boots, where it costs a very reasonable £7.99.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani Lipsticks & Lipliners: Wonderland, Rock Steady, Ex-Girlfriend, Firebird

Rock Steady, Ex-Girlfriend, Firebird
Wonderland, Rock Steady, Ex-Girlfriend, Firebird
Rock Steady
Wearing Rock Steady lipliner + lipstick
Now, THIS is what I imagined when I first heard Gwen Stefani was collaborating with Urban Decay.  LIPSTICK, people, LIPSTICK.

There are six shades available, and I've got four to show you - Wonderland, a clean bright red; Rock Steady, a deeper ruby red; Ex-Girlfriend, a pinky beige nude; and Firebird, a hot blue based fuchsia.  Gorgeous, aren't they?  Firebird, granted, isn't quite my cup of tea, and Ex-Girlfriend is a nice if dupable medium pigment nude, but really, when I think about Gwen Stefani and lipstick, I immediately think RED, so do excuse me if I mostly talk about Wonderland and Rock Steady.

I was immediately drawn to Rock Steady, and I found it to be insanely pigmented, so much so that applying just the lipstick straight from the bullet generally results in a wavy lipline - you need a liner or a lip brush with this shade, it's just so intense every little wobble will show otherwise.  The matching 24/7 lipliner is a great match (obviously), and the combination of the liner and the lipstick makes for an intense statement lip which lasts well.  Not as well, though, as Wonderland - which doesn't quite need the same precision on the lipline, and easily lasts the whole day if you're content to end the day with a soft stain.

Overall, then, these lipsticks are much what you'd expect - bright, pigmented, creamy colours with great wear, and a statement finish.  Only Rock Steady really needs the matching lipliner, but if you want a really precise finish, it's worth having both.  At £16, the lipsticks are a veritable bargain if you want a long lasting red; the lip liners cost £14.

Disclosure:  PR samples

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

Sunday, 21 February 2016

The Balm Cindy Loumanizer

The Balm is a brand which I don't see a lot of in the UK - they're stocked in a few online shops, and I recall seeing a few bits in & Other Stories once, but really, they're not talked about all that much.  Which is a shame, as their products are functionally rather good, and have a cheeky humour that's somewhere between Benefit and Soap & Glory.

Anyway, I bought The Balm's Cindy-Lou Manizer in New York, and I've been using it steadily since.  Unlike many other glow products, it's a peachy shade, almost pigmented enough to be worn alone as a blush if you're very, very pale.  According to the packaging, you can also use it as an eyeshadow, or all over the face if you want some serious glow.

I've been using it as a highlighter, and I love that it gives an extra bit of depth to my cheeks on top of blush or alone, and I particularly love that it's got such a subtle effect.  If you find most highlighters to be too silvery or too golden, you'll probably love this one - the peachy tone makes it incredibly subtle and natural looking.  There's no chance of unintentional robot-face.

At £17.50, it's not cheap, nor is it particularly expensive given the size of the pan.  I'll readily admit that this is a product I took a punt on - I wasn't expecting much, but I'm truly impressed by the subtlety of the finish.

Disclosure:  Bought by me

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

Friday, 19 February 2016

Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen, Grow & Restore Shampoo

This stuff has the longest name in the entire world, and in order to make my life easier I shall now refer to it as Black Castor Oil Shampoo.  I found it in a drugstore in New York, and having tried Black Castor Oil as a hair treatment a few years ago and having found it effective but messy, I was curious to see if this stuff would be as effective without the messiness.

In a word, the answer is no, it's not as effective as massaging raw Black Castor Oil into your scalp.  I've been using it for a couple of months and it hasn't really strengthened my hair or helped it grow more quickly - perhaps it would have if I'd combined it with the treatment conditioner.  But it is a lovely shampoo - it's sulphate free, foams gently, doesn't strip my colour, and leaves my hair incredibly shiny.  And, at just £12.99 for a whopping 480ml bottle, it doesn't break the bank, so I'll probably keep using it anyway.

Disclosure:  Bought by me

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

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

BUY THIS NOW: GOSH 9 Shades... Cool in Copenhagen Mattes

You guys, this palette is amazing.  AMAZING.  You should go buy one, right now.  Here's the link.  Go buy it.

OK, now I can tell you why it's so damn good.  Firstly, it's an all-matte palette, something which is a bit unusual on the high street, particularly in a palette with 9 shades of eyeshadow.  This is because matte eyeshadow is harder to do well cheaply compared to sparkly or shimmery eyeshadow - mica is a key component of high street eyeshadow because it's sparkly, abundantly cheap, and easy to colour.  Matte shades are really hard to pull off cheaply without ending up with a slightly chalky, low pigment finish.  With this palette, GOSH have pulled off matte finish shadows which are medium pigment, blendable, not at all chalky, and easily layerable for an intense finish.

Secondly, not only is it a matte palette, but it's a matte palette of grey toned neutrals which are SO wearable, without leaning brown.  Which is interesting.  More interesting than the plethora of brown based neutral palettes we've been bombarded with since someone at Urban Decay made the connection between neutral and Naked.  Oh, and it goes really really well with a red or berry lip, which you know I just love.

Thirdly, it's cheap.  Cheap!  Just £10.99 for nine shades of matte, grey-toned neutral eyeshadow, in a no-nonsense plastic palette with a decent sized mirror.  Can't go wrong, eh?

So, now you've heard why this is probably my favourite eyeshadow palette in quite some time, go buy it.  Here's the link again.  And tell me what you think.  I'm off to buy a couple of backups...

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Monday, 15 February 2016

A journey in ear piercings

About eight months ago I saw a photo on Instagram of a beautiful sparkly crescent nestled in the outer edge of someone's ear.  Up until then, I'd thought that body piercing involved rather a lot of basic steel barbells, and when I discovered that there were some rather beautiful, feminine and sparkly pieces available, I took the plunge.  My first interesting piercing (both my lobe piercings are pretty 'normal') was a seven-jewel crescent made by a company called Anatometal, positioned in the top outer edge of my ear.  This position is called a helix piercing, and yes, it did hurt - but very fleetingly.  The piercer described it as being like being punched in the side of the head - a quick impact, followed by a spreading heat.  That was totally true.  Healing was a bit of a nightmare - I sleep on my side, and I sleep usually on this side, so every night I went to sleep on slightly tender ear.  It took probably five to six months before it healed completely and I could sleep on it without tenderness.

As so many people say, piercing is a bit addictive and it wasn't long til I got another one, this time a conch piercing, on the inside of the ear where the ring is in the picture above.  I had the piercing with a simple stud, waited for it to heal, and then replaced it with the ring.  Healing on my conch was very easy - it didn't really get squished when I slept, and it healed in about a month.  When I changed the stud for the ring, I got my tragus pierced too - that's the flappy bit closest to your face.  It hurt much  more than any of my other piercings, largely because the cartilage is so thick there.  It's taking its time to heal, too, mostly because I keep using in-ear headphones, which disturb the piercing.  Eventually, I changed out the ring in my conch to a small 5-stone crescent - the ring kept twisting round and I got annoyed with having to rearrange it all the time.

Then, I had a conch piercing on my other ear, bringing one side up to two crescents in one ear.  Super sparkly.

And most recently, I had two new lobe piercings, with three-stone Mickey Mouse clusters, which add even more bling.  My ears are now a mix of lots of sparkle, and some opals, and I love them - I've got one bit of space at the top of my right ear, which I might fill in sometime soon.  Because the appeal of having colourful, sparkly ears beyond what you can put in your lobes is just too strong to stop.  Although, at five piercings per ear right now, I think it might soon be time to consider them done!

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

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Real Techniques Core Collection - Flawless Base set

I bought this lovely brush set when it was on offer for just £9.99 on Amazon a while ago, despite owning a million brushes already.  My reasoning was that aside from a dual-haired stippling brush, and a number of traditional flat foundation brushes, I don't really own many face brushes.  Many.  Ahem.

Anyway, from left to right on the photo above, you'll see that the set contains a contour brush, a slim flat foundation brush, a small detail brush, and a buffing brush.  The flat foundation brush is the least useful - it's a bit small to use as a traditional foundation brush, unless you're happy to spend quite a while on your base.  It is pretty good at quickly blending foundation around the eyes and nose, though.  The detail brush is very small - the packaging suggests you can use it for lips or concealer - and whilst it's again a bit too small to make blending undereye concealer quick and easy, it's the perfect size for concealing blemishes.

Both the buffing brush and the contour brush have become my favourites from the set - the buffing brush is billed for use with mineral or powder foundations, but I find it gives a wonderfully smooth finish when used to buff liquid foundation in.  The contour brush is well shaped for getting right into the hollows of your cheekbones, and the tapered shape lets you apply either bronzer, blush or highlighter precisely.

At £9.99 this set was an incredible bargain, but even at the regular price of around £20, it represents great value - the brushes have grippable handles, soft hairs, and good durability - the hairs have all remained in place even after a couple of washes.  If you're a serial brush collector, you'll find the dual-purpose case/stand included with the set a bit superfluous, but if you're starting a collection or looking to travel, you'll love it.  Find the Real Techniques Core Collection at Amazon, where they're currently a bargain-tastic £15.30.

Disclosure:  Bought by me

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

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani Blush Palette

Cherry, Easy, Angel
Lo-fi, Hush, OC

I'm not quite sure what Urban Decay are doing with the launch of this collection - the eyeshadow palette has been available for a while now, but the blush palette, the lipsticks and the brow box have only just been released.   Still, the blush palette is definitely worth waiting for - as are the lipsticks, but we'll talk about those later.

The Gwen Stefani blush palette, £35, contains six shades of pigmented blush, all of which are extremely well suited to pale, cool toned skin.  Packaging wise, it follows a similar white-and-gold theme to the eyeshadow palette, although the little coin shaped accents in the lid are white, not black.  It's heavy, made of sturdy plastic, with a hinged lid and a good large mirror - I like the 'Magic's in the Makeup' accent in the corner of the lid, which is the same on the eyeshadow palette, and references an old No Doubt song.

Urban Decay say the palette contains everything you need for Gwen-like bronzing, blush and highlighting, and indeed, there's a matte bronzer, Lo-Fi, in there - it's pretty light, and on deeper skintones wouldn't really provide much bronzing action.  Highlighter wise, though, I'm less convinced - Hush is a peachy, coppery blush which has enough shimmer to be a bit of a highligher, and Angel could definitely qualify if you like your highlighters to be very golden, but both are pigmented blushers more than they are highlighters, which usually bring just a bit of glow.

Cherry brings a pop of clean, Barbie pink with shimmer, and Easy, which is easily my favourite, has a glorious berry rose tone combined has a good shot of sparkle.  OC is a bit unusual - it's a sunny peach blush with a slight pink duochrome to it, although you really need to pack on the colour to spot it on the skin.

Overall, then, this palette is lovely, particularly if you're pale and cool toned.  For my tastes, though, it's a little too sparkly, and a little too golden, but if you like your cheeks glowing, bronzed and sunny, this could well be a great blush palette for you.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Fresh Faced & Pretty: Clarins Multi Blush in 05 Rose

Okay, okay, when I first opened a package of Clarins Spring collection goodies I thought this unassuming rose blush, £18.50, was a bit boring.  And yes, it's not punchy, or a bit weird, texture wise, but oh.  It's so wearable.  And so flattering.  It makes me look fresh faced, with a soft glow about the cheeks, and the creamy formula gives a lovely soft effect which isn't powdery and isn't shiny either.

I've tried Clarins' Multi Blush before, although they were called simply Cream Blush back then, and I still love the glorious texture and blendability.  I love this shade, too, which is an unassuming rose pink which somehow lifts and brightens the face without being obvious at all.  And it goes well with a strong lip.  What more could you want?

Disclosure:  PR sample

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