Wednesday, 30 March 2016

The Clinique Pop Lip Lineup: Pop Lip, Pop Glaze & Pop Lacquer

Left to right:  Pop Lip in Berry Pop, Pop Glaze in Liquorice Pop, Pop Lacquer in Sweet Pop
Pop Lip in Berry Pop, Pop Glaze in Liquorice Pop, Pop Lacquer in Sugar Pop
Pop Lip in Berry Pop
Pop Glaze in Liquorice Pop
Pop Lacquer in Sugar Pop
Clinique are all about the micro-brands right now: after a million variations on the eternally popular Chubby Stick, we're getting a large number of Pop products, following the success of the original Cheek Pop blushes and Pop Lip lipsticks.  The two newest lip products are Pop Glaze and Pop Lacquer: Pop Glaze, £16, gives you a soft, sheer look, and Pop Lacquer, £16, takes on the liquid lipstick trend with a high pigment, high shine finish.

Pop Glaze is really just a watered down version of Pop Lip, and I don't mean that as an insult - it's simply a sheer version of the original, with translucent packaging, the same buttery texture, and soft, subtle tint of colour which is more than a Chubby Stick and less than a Pop Lip.  Pop Liquorice is a glorious colour, all squashed berries with a purplish tint, made very wearable thanks to the sheer finish.

I was a little disappointed when I saw I'd been sent a neutral Pop Lacquer - high pigment and high shine just screams for classic red, bold lips to me - but actually, I've ended up using Pop Lacquer in Sugar Pop much more than I thought I would.  The cool, creamy pink is just the right tone to cancel out the bluish tinge in my lips, and makes for an oh-so-pretty neutral spring lip.  The texture is a little on the thick side, as you'd expect for high pigment, but it's also rather squishy and slippy, which makes wearing it more pleasant - wear time, unsurprisingly, is a little shorter as a result, clocking in three hours before I need a touch up.

So there you have it: two new lip products to go along with the existing Pop Lip.  I've been trying to decide which I prefer, but actually, they're both pretty good - Pop Glaze probably pips Pop Lacquer to the post, though, mostly because it lasts a little longer and is lower maintenance, which is very important to me because I'm lazy.  Tried either of these?  Let me know what you think!

Disclosure:  PR samples

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

Monday, 28 March 2016

Pretty Shiny Robot: Makeup Geek Foiled Eyeshadow in Grandstand, Charmed & Mesmerized

Grandstand, Charmed, Mesmerized

Grandstand, Charmed, Mesmerized in my large Z palette
Grandstand, Charmed, Mesmerized

I bought these Makeup Geek Foiled Eyeshadows from BeautyBay out of curiosity, having heard a bit of buzz about the brand, which sprung from the Makeup Geek tutorials website and YouTube channel.  Being drawn to anything sparkly and/or metallic, I chose the more expensive Foiled Eyeshadow, which costs £7.95 per pan, rather than the standard eyeshadow, which costs £4.95 per pan.

And wow, these are very, very metallic indeed - the swatches are what I'd expect from a cream product, not a powder eyeshadow.  The shadows are soft and blendable, although I noticed that the more you blend them, the less foiled they look - I've been blending a layer across my lid with a fluffy brush to get a well blended edge, and then patting more shadow onto the middle of the lid to get a truly metallic finish, but if you can't be bothered you'll still get an intense look with one, blended layer.

Of the three shades I bought, Mesmerized is my favourite - it's an intense, richly metallic brown/purple/taupe shade which makes for a lovely eye which isn't too neutral, but isn't too colourful either.  Charmed is a good deal cooler and icier than I thought it would be, and Grandstand in retrospect was a bad choice - it's a lovely colour, like a new shiny penny, but truly metallic copper eyeshadow is easy to come by.

If you love a metallic eye, I'd definitely recommend trying Makeup Geek Foiled Eyeshadow out.  They're only sold in pans, so you'll need a Z Palette (or similar) to keep them in - that means an initial separate cost of about £12 for a palette, and then a whole heap of space to put your (now comparably quite cheap) eyeshadow pans into.  I'll be trying a few of the 'normal' eyeshadows next.

Disclosure:  Bought by me.

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

Friday, 18 March 2016

Quick Pick: Kiko Cosmetics Artist Foundation Face Brush

Kiko's latest Artist collection takes bright pops of colour and translates them into makeup - not just into the makeup itself, but also into the packaging, and in this case, the brushes.  This Artist Foundation Face Brush cheered me up the moment I opened the box - it combines a sleek white handle, a crisp silver ferrule, and synthetic white hairs tipped in hot, hot pink.

Aside from how it looks, it's also pretty damn good for applying foundation - the slightly pointed, chiseled tip lets you buff foundation with precision even in smaller areas like around the nose and under the eyes.  The hairs are soft and fluffy, letting you quickly buff liquid foundation over the face for a very smooth and even finish.

At just £13.90, it's much cheaper than most high street beauty counter brushes, and it performs brilliantly.  And it adds a cheerful pop of colour into my otherwise all-black brush pot.  Find it at the Kiko website or at one of their increasing number of stores.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

BUY THIS NOW: Avon Perfectly Matte Lipstick in Splendidly Fuchsia, Peach Flatters, Perfectly Nude, Adoring Love, Wild Cherry & Pure Pink

Splendidly Fuchsia, Peach Flatters, Perfectly Nude, Adoring Love, Wild Cherry & Pure Pink
Splendidly Fuchsia
Peach Flatters
Perfectly Nude
Adoring Love
Wild Cherry
Pure Pink
Avon can be terribly hit and miss with their makeup, but wow, these new matte lipsticks are a HIT.  A massive hit.  A beautifully matte, surprisingly comfortable, well pigmented hit.

First off, let's talk about the packaging - perhaps the only disappointing part of this otherwise excellent little lipstick.  The tube is simple matte black plastic, no problems there, but there's a clear window in the lid which reminds me of the Constance Carrol lipsticks I used to buy at the market when I was a teenager.  The window looks a little bit cheap, although practically it is helpful to see the colour inside.  Although the label on the bottom helps there too, and is far less ugly.

Anyway, packaging aside, the lipstick itself is rather impressive indeed for a mere £8.  The texture is soft, velvety and balm-like, and glides easily onto the lips, leaving a good level of pigmentation behind.  This isn't one of those matte lipsticks which goes on slick and sets down matte - it goes on matte, the kind of matte that's a velvety and almost powdery.  And it stays matte on the lips all day, remarkably sticking to the lips like glue - I wore it most days last week and was impressed to find that my lips are still perfectly matte, colourful and even at 5pm having applied at 7am.

So there you have it.  A beautifully pigmented matte lipstick, which lasts amazingly well, comes in some truly gorgeous shades (Wild Cherry is my favourite), and costs just £8.  Run to the Avon website and buy it now!

Disclosure:  PR samples

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

Monday, 14 March 2016

Gentle but Effective: Trilogy Active Enzyme Cleansing Cream

It seems you can get your scrub on through virtually every part of your skincare regime nowdays:  cleansers, serums, toners, and even old-fashioned single purpose exfoliants can give your skin a good scrubbing.  This Trilogy Active Enzyme Cleansing Cream is one of those cleansers which contain exfoliating ingredients, guaranteeing you soft, smooth skin after use.

It reminds me a bit of the Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser I tried recently, with a couple of key differences.  Firstly, the Trilogy cleanser costs £26.50 for 200ml, compared to Murad's £34 for 200ml, making it a bit cheaper.  Secondly, where the Murad cleanser uses a combination of both chemical exfoliants and little scrubby bits (technical term), the Trilogy cleanser uses fruit enzymes.  As a result, the Trilogy cleanser feels much more gentle on the skin - there's no manual scrubbing going on, and the thick, almost clay-like texture of the cleanser feels comforting on the skin.

The results are similar, though - soft, velvety skin which drinks up moisturiser very effectively.  The skin doesn't feel at all dry or tight after use, which can be a side effect of exfoliating products - the inclusion of vitamin E and jojoba keep things balanced in Trilogy's cleanser.

Overall, if you're looking for a gentle but effective exfoliating cleanser, and you're a fan of other enzyme based products such as Elemis' cult Papaya Enzyme Peel, this Trilogy cleanser is well worth trying.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Saturday, 12 March 2016

So Intense: OCC Lip Tar RTW in Black Metal Dahlia

I remember the excitement around OCC when their revolutionary Lip Tars came to the UK back in 2010 - their stand at IMATS sold out almost immediately, so keen for intense pigmentation were we.  Since then, they've added millions of new shades, a set of metallic shades, been and gone from Sephora, and launched Lip Tar RTW - a version which comes in a tube for more portable application.

I LOVE the new RTW format.  The product within is the same insanely pigmented fluid which dries down into a slightly glossy, full on finish, and the packaging, complete with doe's foot applicator, makes it much easier to apply the stuff without faffing about with a brush.  Bravo, OCC, bravo, for taking what was fundamentally an artist's product and bringing it to a more consumer-friendly format without watering down the product.

Also:  Black Metal Dahlia, eh?  This is one of the vampiest, deepest, most LOOK AT ME lip products I own, and I bloody love it.  Granted, it takes some careful application to get a clean finish, and you really need to be careful to use only a tiny dab to avoid a sticky mess.  I also find that because the colour is so intense, it bleeds a little into the tiny lines around my lips - a clear lipliner applied just outside the lipline solves that easily.

At £13.25, you're getting a whole lot of punchy lip for your money - Lip Tar goes a long way, so you'll find yourself using the little tube for a long, long time before needing to replace it.  And it's much less likely to make a mess of your makeup bag than the originals.  Highly recommended!

Disclosure:  Bought by me.

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

Friday, 11 March 2016

Quick Pick: Boscia Self-Defense Vital Anti-Oxidant Moisture SPF30

I bought this wonderful moisturiser when I found myself in the US without enough day cream to see me through the week, and since then it's been a bit of a staple.  It's incredibly light for something with SPF 30, and it hydrates well without heaviness.  The tube is a little on the small size - around 40ml - but it's also reasonably inexpensive in skincare terms, costing $36.  Two pumps is plenty to keep my face fresh and hydrated throughout the day, and the sun protection is a nice bonus, too.

Now, if only Boscia was more broadly available in the UK.  Until then.. there's always international shipping from Sephora.

Disclosure:  Bought by me.

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

Thursday, 10 March 2016

BUY THIS NOW: Fudge Urban Iced Coconut Cocktail Hairspray

Ever since I got a Bettie Page style retro fringe, my mornings have had an extra getting-ready step in them:  re-blow dry the fringe, poke it into shape, and spray the shit out of it with hairspray.  This last part is essential to avoiding a) weird gaps b) my hair flying upwards in a mild breeze and c) my beautiful fringe going wavy if I get a bit hot, but seriously, half the time I end up with the horrible smell of hairspray in my nose for at least two hours after I apply it.

NO MORE, my friends, NO MORE.  Because I have discovered this Fudge Urban Iced Coconut Cocktail hairspray, and it smells of COCONUTS and PINA COLADAS and HOLIDAYS and FUN and not horrible early mornings.

Seriously, I can't tell you how lovely it is to have the scent of coconut wafting into my nose compared to the scent of regular hairspray.

Anyway - as a hairspray, it's also pretty good, if a little omgintense.  A bit of this and my fringe isn't going anywhere - it's set into a perfect retro fringe-helmet, which even the gustiest of winds won't disturb.  Particularly impressive given the relatively inexpensive £5.29 price tag - I was expecting it to cost more, and I probably would pay more for it.  Fudge Urban also do a slightly less hardcore Iced Raspberry & Vanilla hairspray, which I'll probably buy soon, and with the combination of these two, my life is forever changed, and shall never reek unattractively of hairspray again.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Overpriced: Nudestix Magnetic Eye Colour Pencil in Spirit

I bought this lovely pencil during a recent Sephora dash, mostly because I was curious about the Nudestix brand - they claim to be all about a nude, not-too-heavy, polished look, and their gimmick is that all the products (barring the mascara) come in pencil form.

First off, I was surprised by the packaging - the Magnetic Eye Colour Pencil comes in a black tin, which is very sleek looking and pretty.  But... it's rather large.  Given that it contains a pencil, a separate sharpener, and a piece of paper, the tin is probably three times the size it could be.  That's not a big problem, but if you're a collector, or you like the brand so much you buy a few of their sticks, you'll soon find yourself either wasting space or throwing away tins.

Anyway, excessive tins aside, the stick itself is a creamy, luminous eye shadow which can be quickly blended with fingers or with a brush for a smudgy, sexy finish.  And creamy it is - it's very blendable, but sets quickly into a soft, glowy finish which lasts all day for me, as long as I apply it on top of primer.  It also works well as a chunky eyeliner, smudged out with a fingertip.  Unfortunately, blending dulls some of the luminosity in the finish, but that can be remedied by applying two layers - a base layer which gets blended, and a second layer for the finish.

Back to another packaging problem - the stick itself isn't a twist-up format.  Rather, you get a separate sharpener in the tin.  Given the £24 pricetag, I expect convenience and usability built in - the sharpener can be attached to the stick, but that makes it harder to use, and if you don't attach it to the stick, there's a high probability of losing it and ending up with a dull, unusable stick of expensive eyeshadow.

Ultimately, I'm just not impressed enough by this Magnetic Eye Colour Pencil to feel it's worth the high cost - £24 will buy you a great many cream eyeshadow sticks from Kiko, and the Kiko packaging is much better.  Unless you're super curious, save your money and go to Kiko.

Disclosure:  Bought by me.

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

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Like Buttering Your Hair: Windle & Moodie Intense Treatment Masque

This incredibly thick mask has been sitting in my chest-of-random-haircare-products for quite a while, being overlooked in favour of my mask favourites from Ojon and Bleach London.  What a mistake.  I cracked it out recently and was incredibly surprised by what I found inside the nondescript white jar - an insanely thick mask whose texture is more like the thickest of body butters than any mask I've ever tried.

To use it, you need to dig in with your fingers and scoop out a palmful, spread it between your hands, and then apply to your hair.  My usual mask application method involves a handful of mask which I slap straight onto my hair, relying on a frenetic rub through my hair to distribute.  This technique doesn't work with Windle & Moodie's mask - if you apply it in a blob to the hair, it'll remain in a blob, so spreading it out first is essential.

Ten minutes later and my hair is soft, bouncy and very well hydrated.  It also feels really light - not overly silky or smooth, the way it can do after using an intensive mask.  One thing I've observed is that the ingredients and the thickness make for a mask that isn't entirely water soluable - when I rinse it out (and rinsing does take a little longer than usual) there are little globs of undissolved product left in the bottom of the bath.  Neither here not there, but it does give you an idea of just how thick this stuff is.

Anyway, texture and thickness aside, this is an excellent conditioning mask, and worth trying - even if it is pretty damn spendy at £29 for 200ml.  Not that you need a lot, thanks to the thickness. Find it at Windle & Moodie salons and online.

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Friday, 4 March 2016

BUY THIS NOW: GOSH Lip Oil in Rose and Sea Buckthorn

Rose, Sea Buckthorn

Sea Buckthorn
If you tried Clarins' Lip Oils last year and found them to be more like thick glosses than oils, then you should go try these lovely, actually-oily lip oils from GOSH ASAP.  Like the Clarins oils, there's a golden one and a rose one (and also a clear one and a raspberry one), and like the Clarins oils, you can't really see the colour when they're on the lips.  Unlike the Clarins ones, the GOSH oils are silky, squishy, and well, oily.  They feel like you're wearing oil on your lips.  

My only criticism is that the moisture they provide is somewhat fleeting - I've worn the pink shade all day a couple of times, and whilst my lips feel comfortable and moist when I'm wearing them, I still need the usual amount of lip balm in the morning as I do if I've been wearing a matte lipstick the day before.  So be aware that you'll get temporary moisture whilst you wear these oils, but they won't really improve the condition of your lips.

That said, if you If you love a glossy, natural finish, which feels lovely on the lips, then you'll probably love these.  And at £7.50, they're a very reasonably priced alternative to the more expensive lip oils on the market. Find them at Superdrug.

Disclosure;  PR sample

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

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Beautiful: Max Factor Velvet Volume False Lash Effect Mascara

This mascara has been sitting in my to-try pile for a long time, and now I've actually tried it, I wish I'd done it sooner!  It claims to give touchably soft volume, for lashes which are darker, fuller and more volumised.

The darker part is obvious for pretty much any mascara, and the fuller and more volumised part is absolutely true.  The touchable part is also accurate: lashes are bendy, flexible and soft despite being plentifully coated in mascara to get the volume effect.  You can see from the photo that my lashes are well defined and fluttery full, too, thanks to the light formula and the nubbly bristled brush.

Overall, I'm very impressed.  And at just £11.99, fluttery volume comes at a very reasonable 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.
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