Showing posts with label bargain. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bargain. Show all posts

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.

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.

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.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Cheap & Cheerful: Dirty Works Skincare

I admit it, I'm a bit of a skincare snob.  I generally spend £20+ on a moisturiser, more on a serum, and am a sucker for a 'cult' product which has a subtle effect but costs £30.  Recently, though, a few products from the Dirty Works skincare range turned up at my door, and I decided to give the reasonably priced, supermarket-accessible range a go.

The Perfecting Eye Cream, £5, promises to reduce dark circles and prevent puffiness.  I'm not convinced that it has an effect on dark circles - mine remained pretty much the same for the six weeks or so I used it - but my dark circles are pretty damn stubborn.  It is, however, a really good basic moisturiser for the eye area - not too heavy, but plentifully hydrating.

The Facial Oil, £5, isn't at all what I expected - given the incredibly cheap price point, I was sure that the oil would be mostly based on mineral oil.  But no - there are a few fruit and seed oils in there, alongside a few synthetic oils which keep the texture light.  It is scented, although not noticeably so, and it's one of those oils which leave the skin feeling silky and slippy rather than overly oily.  Hydration wise, it does pack a good punch, although a little less so than more expensive oils I've tried.  Surprisingly good, overall, for such a cheap product.

I was a bit underwhelmed by the 8 in 1 Serum, £8, and the Overnight Facial Lift, £8, which are the anti-aging products in the range, both claiming to smooth fine lines.  The serum has a gel-like texture which sinks in quickly and leaves the skin feeling velvety - there's a fair bit of silicone in the mix, which makes it a surprisingly good primer for daytime.  The Facial Lift has a creamy texture which sinks in quickly to the skin - I was expecting something richer, more moisturising, particularly for an overnight treatment.  Both products kept my skin feeling soft, but didn't really have a noticeable effect on fine lines - in fact, after six weeks of exclusive use, my frown lines were a little more pronounced than usual.

Overall, then, I'm not a convert to budget skincare based on my Dirty Works experience - but I will concede that there are some very servicable products to be had for less than a tenner a piece, particularly if you're looking for simple maintenance rather than a dramatic effect.  Dirty Works products are available at Sainsbury's, and online at the Dirty Works website.

Disclosure:  PR samples

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.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Colourpop Matte Lippie Stix - Dazed, I ♥ This, Contempo

Dazed (matte)
I ♥ This (matte)

Contempo (matte)
I've been to the US again.  It was a whirlwind trip, 5 days, staying in a big house with some colleagues, so I didn't even have time to go to Sephora.  So sad.  I did order a big box o'Colourpop before I left though, so I didn't come back empty handed.  Last time I tried Colourpop's Lippie Stix, it was as a part of the Strobing I set I bought - I found the colours too brown for my liking, and never really tried them for longer than a few minutes.  So, of course, I had to buy a few individual shades to try them out properly... and man, I'm hooked.

Dazed is a gloriously vampy deep berry red; I ♥ This is a bright, clean pink toned red; Contempo is a cool toned, slightly greyish mauve pink.  I chose these shades because I was pretty sure they'd work on my skin:  given that you're buying from an online only store, checking out swatches is essential to avoid mistakes.  Luckily, Colorpop have good swatches on their website, and there are plenty online.  And if you do make a mistake, they're only $5 each, so it's not a costly mistake.

Texture wise, they start off a little waxy, but after a couple of applications they're merely a little stiff - no bad thing when each swipe gives you a ton of pigmented colour.  Once on the lip, they feel surprisingly lightweight - there's no sensation of weight or stickiness.  And wow, do they last - I've been applying a single layer in the morning at 7.30am, and finding myself still wearing a slightly softened stain version of the colour at around 3pm.  I reapply to keep the colour vibrant and strong, but if you're happy to have your lips wear from bold to a flush over the course of a day, you don't really need to.

All this at a price of just $5 - I'll definitely be buying more shades.  I'm keen to try the Creme and Sheer varieties next - although there are a fair few more glorious mattes with my name on them...

Disclosure:  PR sample

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

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

BUY THIS NOW: Garnier Skin Naturals Micellar Cleansing Water

Love Bioderma?  Yes?  Of course, we all do.  Find it a bit hard to get hold of?  Well, yes, particularly if you're not one of those folks who plans to buy stuff well in advance of actually running out.  Ahem.  I'm not one of those folks.

And thus, I found myself in Boots looking for a new micellar water when my trusty bottle of Bioderma ran out.  Turns out that Boots only stock Bioderma online (boo), and given my less-than-fabulous experience with REN Micellar Water, I decided to try something cheap just in case it didn't match up to my Bioderma-shaped expectations.  So I bought this very huge (400ml) and very cheap (£4.99) bottle of Garnier micellar water.

It claims to mattify combination skin, and I can't really attest to that, as I usually use it as part of a multi-step routine at night, and I don't monitor my skin for oil at night (in fact, I usually apply oil at night).  But WOW, you guys.  It's just as good as Bioderma, leaving skin feeling fresh and clean immediately, and loosening even tough long wearing makeup.

Did I mention it's also HUGE (400ml) and CHEAP (£4.99)?

Even better than Bioderma then, because it saves precious pennies I can then spend on yet another red lipstick.  GO BUY NOW!

Disclosure:  Bought by me.

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

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Introducing Essence Cosmetics

Essence Cosmetics is a European brand now available via Wilko, nationwide repository of domestic goodness, and via some pop up stands at London's Westfield shopping centre.  It's major selling point is that it's a) cheap and b) has a staggeringly large range of products.  Both of these things are unequivocally true - prices are often around the £2-£5 mark, and the brand's page on the Wilko website shows an amazing 459 products.

I tried a few of the products in the range (as shown on my face above) and found myself pleasantly surprised.  Granted, the Long Lasting Lipstick doesn't have the most opaque colours, but it glides on smoothly and lasts well, fading down to an even, soft stain.  Not bad for £2.30.  The No Matter Eye Pencil has a creamy texture and a super sparkly metallic finish which looks much more expensive than the £2.50 pricetag - it did need a little primer to stick to my oily lids, and then lasted the whole day with ease.

My favourite product is the Liquid Eyeliner, though.  For just £2.30, it's incredible - the tapered flocked applicator helps you to draw a thin or thick line easily, and unlike most cheap liquid eyeliners, the liquid itself goes on with a solid, deep black line - no need to go over the line twice for an intense application.

All in all, I've been pretty impressed by the Essence products I've tried out, and next time I walk past the stand at Westfield I'll be investigating their nail polishes and eyeliners more deeply.

Disclosure: PR samples

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

Sunday, 6 July 2014

BUY THIS NOW: Makeup Revolution Baked Eyeshadow in Chocolate Deluxe

This has got to be one of the most crazily-named eyeshadow palettes ever.  I mean... it's called Chocolate Deluxe.  But seriously, those shadows are shades of pink, russet brown and red.  NOTHING like chocolate.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

St Ives Naturally Clear and Fresh Skin Apricot Scrubs

Trying St Ives scrubs again recently transported me straight back to being a teenager.  I clearly remember saving to buy a cleanser by Aapri - it cost a staggering £3 - and placing it carefully in the bathroom next to a St Ives scrub.  St Ives have been a high street staple for many years, and whilst they're not the most sophisticated of scrubs, they get the job done.  The exfoliating action is provided by apricot stone particles, making it a pretty abrasive scrub - you need to be careful not to overdo it or your skin will end up red raw.  The scrubs also contain SLS in the base, so they're a combination of a face wash and a scrub in one.

Now, many of these things aren't what I look for in a scrub - I avoid SLS where possible, and I prefer fruit acid scrubs to those based on abrasive particles.  Those things do push up the average cost of a scrub, though, whereas this one comes in at just over £4.  For a budget brightener, St Ives is a perfectly decent option - just remember to go easy.  I've been using the Blemish Fighting version for a few weeks now, and my skin (which was going through a bit of a rough patch) has calmed down and is much clearer since I started using it.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Amazing value Elemis TSV on QVC tomorrow

This rather excellent little set contains a whole heap of Elemis goodies, including the new Jasmine and Rose Milk Bath, which is exclusive to QVC.  The price hasn't been announced yet, but it will cost under £40 - which is a great deal given the products included - a 30ml pot of Pro Collagen Marine Cream alone is £50.

Included in the set is a full size Jasmine and Rose Milk Bath, full size Frangipani Monoi Shower Cream, 30ml of the cult classic Pro Collagen Marine Cream, 30ml Pro Collagen Cleansing Balm, 15ml Pro Radiance Flash Balm, and 35ml Frangipani Monoi body oil.

If you're interested in grabbing one of these excellent value sets, they'll go on sale at QVC at midnight tonight, the 16th November, and will remain on sale all of 17th November (until it sells out, of course).

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Superdrug Lash Stash - £10 bargain

This Studio London Lash Stash at Superdrug gives you four sets of ornate lashes - including some very pretty Paperself style graphic cut out lashes - for a mere £10.  Bargain.

Find the set at Superdrug now.

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

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Review & Swatches: VIVO Shimmer Blocks

Meet VIVO's latest additon - Shimmer Block Bronzer and Shimmer Block Blusher.  In a format that's only slightly ripping off a more expensive stripy product, these little beauties cost a very, very reasonable £3.99 each.

The packaging is pretty basic - simple plastic case, clear top, no mirror.  I'd far rather that budget brands put their cash into the product rather than the packaging, so it's all good by me.

The Shimmer Block Blush contains five strips of graduating pink colours, with a shimmery finish.

And the Shimmer Block Bronze contains five nude/brown colours - there's actually a hint of pink in there to stop it from being too BROWN.

Swatched, you can see the shimmer and colour payoff.  Pigmentation is pretty good, and the shimmer is pretty damn intense.  You need to be careful to not end up looking a bit disco ball with these.

Applied gently, though, the blush gives you a gentle pop of colour and shimmer which only really appears when the sun hits it full on.  Rather nice for a mere £3.99, I reckon!

Find VIVO Shimmer Block Blusher and Shimmer Block Bronzer at their website, or at Tesco stores, now.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Monday, 26 August 2013

Quick Pick: Avon True Colour Eyeshadow Duos in Warm Cashmere & Crushed Orchid

Left to right:  Warm Cashmere, Crushed Orchid

Despite finding Avon's new True Colour eyeshadow quads distinctly underwhelming, I'm quite impressed by the True Colour eyeshadow duos.  At £6, they're a little more expensive per shade than the quads, which are £9, but the quality is much, much better.

Warm Cashmere
The colours are soft, not chalky, and whilst they lack that buttery gorgeousness more expensive brands have in their shimmering, metallic shades, they do blend well.  Warm Cashmere is a lovely, wearable duo of a slightly pinky champagne colour, with a warm shimmering beige-y brown.

Crushed Orchid
Crushed Orchid is a pretty duo of a silvery toned lilac and a deeper rich purple which almost looks navy in some lights.  Pigmentation on Crushed Orchid is particularly intense - these swatches are a single swipe with the included foam applicators - and while Warm Cashmere isn't quite so strongly pigmented, it's still pigmented enough to get easy payoff when applying it.

As with the other bits and pieces from Avon's new makeup collection, these launch later this month at the Avon website, costing a very reasonable £6.

Disclosure: PR sample

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