Showing posts with label eyes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label eyes. Show all posts

Thursday, 8 October 2015

BUY THIS NOW: Colourpop Super Shock Shadow - Not a Box of Chocolates Collection + So Quiche Single

Colourpop, for those of you who haven't yet heard of them, are a new, makeup brand out of LA.  They're somewhat unusual in that they a) are very reasonably priced b) keep the number of individual products low, and the number of shades very high and c) spell colour the correct way.

When I went to the US recently, I bit the bullet and bought a collection Super Shock Shadows, called Not a Box of Chocolates, and a single shadow in the form of So Quiche.  I also bought some lip stuff (obviously) but we'll talk about those another time.  It turns out that Not a Box of Chocolates was a Christmas collection, which means I must have bought one of the very last ones in September, but hey ho, it's still a great introduction to the brand - particularly at the very reasonable price of $30 for 6 shadows.

The packaging is pretty basic:  screw top jar, transparent plastic window, uniform brand embossing, colours labelled with stickers underneath.  It's a pretty classic move for a company trying to keep prices low to have simplistic packaging, and Colourpop have managed to keep their packaging both simple and also rather stylish.

Inside the jars, the shadows have a pattern embossed into them - this isn't really a decorative effect, but part of the pressing process these shadows go through when they're made.  They have that weirdly cool, bouncy-slippy-creamy-powdery texture, you see, and that means two things - one, fingers are a perfectly acceptable way to apply them (and actually preferrable, because of the glitter content of some of the shades), and two, that they are incredibly easy to apply with intensity from soft-whisp-of-colour to double-rainbow-intense.

One down side of this texture, unfortunately, is that they're incredibly soft and fragile - the boxes they arrived in were very, very padded, and yet another single shadow I ordered for a friend arrived broken.  Still usable, but a little messy, and not quite so pretty in the pot.

And now, on to the swatches.

Halo, Tinsel, Partridge
Halo is a pale, peachy gold with subtle shimmer to it.  It's a nice subtle option for a pared-down eye look.   Tinsel is a gloriously metallic icy mauve pink, which is incredibly flattering on green eyes.  Partridge has that green/red/brown duochrome thing going on, and is probably the strongest ever duochrome I've ever seen in an eyeshadow.  It looks stunning on the lid.

Sleigh, Drift, Doe-a-Deer
 Sleigh is a cool, green tinged pale gold with champagne sparkle.  Drift doesn't have any glitter in it, but does have a slight pearlised sheen to the finish - it's a gorgeously rich colour which can double up as a blush if applied very sheer.  Doe-a-Deer is an unusual one - a deep, bruised plum shade, it's matte, making it a good option for the base of a smoky eye.

So Quiche
So Quiche is unusual and absolutely beautiful - I've never had someone compliment my eyeshadow whilst they were threading my eyebrows, but the day it finally happened, I was wearing So Quiche.  A slightly greenish, slightly bronzed golden brown, it's packed full of pale pink glitter that makes for a really unique twist on a neutral eye.

So there you have it.  The shades are amazing; the metallic finish ones have incredible impact and intensity, and the pearlised and matte ones are just as lovely, albeit less in your face.  I also love the bouncy-slippy-cooling texture, which makes application a breeze, particularly if you just want an eyeful of one gloriously intense colour, and the fact that they cost a mere $5 a pop.  What a shame that they don't ship to the UK yet - I can certainly see Super Shock Shadow being very, very popular when it finally lands on our shores.

Disclosure:  Purchased, gleefully, by me.

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

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Ole Henriksen Fresh Start Eye Creme

I bought this little tub of goodness in Sephora, having arrived in the States for a work trip only to discover that my eye cream had separated and gone weird during the flight.  I asked one of the skincare specialists to recommend a simple hydrating eye cream which wouldn't be too heavy, and I was pointed firmly towards Ole Henriksen's Fresh Start, specifically because it's super hydrating whilst being lightweight, and because the 28ml pot gives you a lot of cream for your money.  I paid $38, a cost similar to a 15ml pot of eye cream from the likes of Clinique or Estee Lauder.

I'm so, so glad I happened upon this cream.  Often I find that eye products can overload the delicate skin around my eyes, leaving them a little too slick or product-y, requiring powder atop my concealer.  This cream, though, is the most lightweight thing I've ever applied - the texture may be a medium thickness cream, but once applied under the eyes, it sinks in immediately and leaves no residue, just well hydrated, soft skin.

Honestly, I can't see a massive difference in terms of lines or dark circles, but if you're looking for a good, simple cream to hydrate your eye area, this one can't be beat.  Find it at BeautyBay, where it costs a rather disproportionate-to-the-dollar-price £31.

Disclosure:  Purchased by me.

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

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Bourjois Colorband 2-in-1 Eyeshadow & Liner

I've been using these Bourjois Colorband sticks for a couple of weeks new and I just can't make my mind up about them.  The have reasonable colour payoff, are good and smudgy, and set down to an unbudgable finish - even on my oily eyelids they remain true for six hours without primer, which is pretty damn impressive.  With primer, they hold all day without fading a bit.

I think the thing I'm less fond of is how they look and feel on the eye - finish and skin texture wise, rather than colour payoff.  The 24 hour hold claim is made possible by a finish which is pretty dry and almost a bit solid - once set, my eyelid feels a bit tight and very much like it has product all over it.  Add my hooded lids into the mix and the result is a little bit uncomfortable.

Luckily, this is pretty easily avoided by not using the sticks as eyeshadow, but as mega-chunky liners instead.  The black is fabulous for this - if you like a smudgy, smoky rock chick eye, this is an easy way of getting that look, and having it last.  The silver is also tremendously flattering and a little less intense all around the eye.

Overall, then, I think these sticks lose a little in terms of comfortable wear thanks to their supreme wear time - fine if you're using it as a liner, less so if you're using it as a shadow.  I can only imagine that that discomfort is more noticeable on drier eyelids, too.  For an easy, chunky and cheap eyeliner though, the silver and black shades are brilliant.  Find them now at Boots, where the cost a thoroughly reasonable £5.99.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Monday, 9 June 2014

Elemis Pro Collagen Hydra-Gel Eye Masks

Elemis, high end skincare purveyors extraordinaire, have released a new product which falls into a category I've never, ever tried before.  Meet Pro Collagen Hydra-Gel Eye Masks (mouthful!), which are serum soaked, hydra gel patches you stick to your undereye area.  They promise to smooth, hydrate and firm the eye area, with the effect lasting up to six hours.  You get six sachets, each containing two eye patches (yarr), in each box.

To apply, remove from sachet, separate from backing, stick to face.  Excuse the moody expression here, I was trying very, very hard not to move my face at all.  Which isn't actually necessary, as these masks stick themselves on pretty well by themselves.

Before and after
Twenty minutes later, my undereye area felt much, much firmer, and very well hydrated.  If you make this before/after comparison photo very large, you can probably see that whilst the effects aren't significant, my fine lines are smoother, and in general my eye area looks brighter and less, well, dehydrated.

At £46 a box, this product is very, very expensive, particularly given that it's a quick fix product which doesn't produce a long lasting effect, making them less of an everyday product and more of a special occasion prep product.  I could totally see myself using these in the run up to a big day - brides, take note - to make sure that I look my absolute best in important photos.  Find them now at Time to Spa.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Quick Pick: KIKO Pearly Eye Base

At a mere £6.90, KIKO's Pearly Eye Base is much, much cheaper than my favourite eye primer, Urban Decay Primer Potion (which costs £15).  It promises to keep eyeshadow in place for longer, make application easier, and to brighten up eyeshadow thanks to the shimmering white base.

In its concentrated form, it's very pearlescent, but spread out over the skin (or eyelid) it's more subtle - and actually rather nice alone if you're looking for a natural eye look which brightens up the eye area.

And how about longevity?  It's good, keeping my eyeshadow in place for around ten hours before it creases.  Not quite as good as Urban Decay, but if you've not got insanely oily eyelids (like I do) then it should be fine.  It's also much easier to blend shadow over this than it is over UDPP - it leaves the skin feeling dry, primed and skin-like, rather than slightly draggy like UDPP does, making blending easy.

At £6.90, it's a bit of a bargain, particularly if you have normal or slightly oily lids.  It's also available in a non-pearly version for the same price.  Find it now at the KIKO website, or at one of their three London stores.

Disclosure:  Part of a haul I paid for partially with a PR-provided gift card, and partially with my own cash.  

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

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Bobbi Brown Nude Glow Collection

Bobbi Brown's latest collection is all about bright, glowing skin - shades for eyes, skin, lips and nails which are all about adding shimmer and glow, rather than high pigmentation colour.  The collection is split into skintones to allow you to find the most natural glow-makers for you - there are variation for extra-light-to-light, medium, and medium-to-dark skintones.

This Sheer Lip Colour in Pink Gold, £19, is recommended for medium-to-dark skin tones, but actually, it's sheer and neutral enough to work well on any skin tone.  The texture is soft and buttery, glides onto the lips, and adds a whisper of colour.

Sheer Lip Colour in Pink Gold
Pink Gold is more gold than pink, and adds a shot of shimmer with a neutral-pink base.  It's nice, if you like your lips a bit frosty, which I admit I don't for paler colours.

Crystal Eye Palette
The Crystal Eye Palette contains four shades of eyeshadow; two satin, and two glitter shades.  The shades are Porcelain, a soft cream; Opal Sparkle, a pale silver; Mica Sparkle, a medium silver; and Angel Pink, a pale pink.  The Crystal palette is recommended for paler skintones, and indeed, the shades are all light enough to look brightening and not at all heavy on even the palest skintones.

Porcelain, Opal Sparkle, Mica Sparkle, Angel Pink
Swatched, you can see that the sparkle eyeshadows are actually just shimmering glitter in a relatively sheer base.  They really do twinkle prettily in the light, but beware - if you try to load the lid with sparkle, you'll end up with fallout all over your cheeks.  Apply with caution!

Nude Eye Palette
The Nude eye palette is for medium skin tones, and despite being pretty pale myself, it's my favourite of the two.  It contains two matte and two sparkle shadows in deeper tones of taupe and brown.  Right up my street!  The shades are Dove Grey, a taupe grey;  Ballet Pink, a sparkly pale pink; Nude, a warm brown; and Cement, a cool sparkly taupe brown.

Dove Grey; Ballet Pink; Nude; Cement

Swatched, you can see that these shades are more intense on my pale skin - they'll be more natural on those with darker skin, but they're lovely on anyone looking for glowing, wearable nude shades.  Both of the sparkle eyeshadows in the Nude palette suffer from the same fallout issue as the Crystal palette, so a bit of care is required to avoid metallic taupe cheekbones, and looking like a robot.

And here I am wearing Ballet Pink and Nude layered up, with Nude as a base and Ballet Pink applied as a wash over the top.  The effect is subtle, albeit very sparkly, and goes well with plenty of black mascara and a strong lip (or a nude lip if you're going for all-over glow).

At £35 each, the Eye palettes are pretty spendy, particularly given that the shades don't look the same between pan and eyelid.  That said, the textures are all soft and blendable, and if you like a subtle, polished eye look, you can't really go wrong.  Just don't constrain yourself to the products that match your skintone - there are lovely shades in all categories, and some work just as well outside of them.

Find the Nude Glow collection now at Bobbi Brown counters and at their website now.

Disclosure: PR samples

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

Monday, 20 January 2014

Max Factor Excess Volume Mascara

Max Factor make some thoroughly decent mascaras at high street prices - and Excess Volume is their latest.  It claims to give plenty of volume (obvs) with a jet black lacquered effect - like most people, I take this to mean a super black, almost wet look finish with a bit of shine to it.  The tube is incredibly fat - you can see it here next to a new eyeliner, Excess Intensity, which is relatively standard pencil-sized, and the mascara is the size of a bundle of five of them.

Excess Volume is a double ended mascara - this end houses the first step, labelled "Extreme Volume", which gives you long, voluminous lashes to act as a base for the glossy lacquer top coat.  The brush is the plastic-y, bendy-bristled kind I'm very fond of - a bit of root wiggling and this kind of brush is almost guaranteed to give you plenty of coverage with great definition without a clump in sight.  The downside to these plastic-y brushes is that I poke myself in the eye by trying to go too close to the root of the lashes at least once a week.

The "Dark Lacquer" end is a more traditional Christmas tree shaped mascara brush with dense fibres.  It doesn't really add a lot by way of volume, but it does intensify the blackness of the lashes a fair bit.

And voila - two coats of the Extreme Volume side, and one coat of the Dark Lacquer side.  My lashes are long, thick, and very, very black, but as for the lacquered effect.... I'm not sure.  I don't really look at my lashes closely enough to detect a glossy finish, and actually, neither does anyone else.  Although the lacquer part of this mascara might be a bit of a gimmick, it's definitely effective - if I've got a bit more time and coordination in the morning to layer on three coats whilst grappling with a big, slightly hard to grip tube, I reach for this mascara for thick, fluttery lashes.

It's also worth mentioning that the Excess Intensity liner that goes with this mascara is very, very good - it's in twist-up packaging, has a firm, deeply pigmented texture, and lasts brilliantly.  Which is pretty damn good for a mere £4.99.

Max Factor Excess Volume Mascara is out now, and currently costs £9.99 at Boots - but it'll be going up to £12.99 in February, so move fast!

Disclosure: PR samples

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

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Japonesque Lip Lacquer S3 and Velvet Touch Eyeshadow S1

Japonesque, known mostly for their excellent makeup brushes and tools, have diversified into a makeup line.  The initial launch is a carefully edited (read small) range of products - there are eyeshadows in singles, duos and quads, an eyeliner pencil, two mascaras, powder, blush, concealer, two foundations, a lipstick and a lip lacquer.

The packaging is both beautiful and a bit unique - there's the usual sleek black compacts and tubes, mixed up a little with poured acrylic accents.  The colourful acrylic bits are created with multiple colours and mixed whilst liquid, making every combination unique.  Nice touch.

The eyeshadow singles give you a reasonably sized pan, with a good sized mirror inside the lid.  The lip lacquer has a firm but flexible brush for a precise application.

Both lacquer and shadow are well pigmented indeed. with the lip lacquer providing intense, opaque colour with a shiny finish and the eyeshadow having plenty of shimmer.

I really like the lacquer - the shiny, intensely pigmented texture makes for a lush lip, even if it is a little heavy and prone to transfer during wear.  The lacquer loses its shine and wears down to a more soft-focus stain over a few hours, and it's preferable to reapply completely rather than topping up.

I wouldn't normally choose a white eyeshadow, particularly one as frosty as this, but it does wake the eye area up beautifully.  The eyeshadow texture is reasonably soft and blendable - it's not that buttery texture that almost applies itself, but it is smooth and silky, blending well across the lid.

And finally, a face-shot of both products together.  They make for a nice low-effort look.

At £15, the Lip Lacquer is well priced for the intensity in pigment.  I think the eyeshadow is a bit overpriced at £14 for a single - particularly in this colour, which is easily dupeable in cheaper brands.  The eyeshadow duos are better value at £18, and the quads even better still at £24.

Overall, I'm pretty impressed by Japonesque's foray into makeup, and I look forward to more shades and products in the near future.  Having been down to John Lewis (which has the range exclusively) and stuck my fingers in things, I'd pick out the lip lacquers, eyeshadow duos, and foundations as the highlights of the range so far.

Disclosure:  PR samples

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

Monday, 14 October 2013

Swatches: Urban Decay Black Market 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil Set

It wouldn't be Christmas without an Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil box set or two.  Lucky for us, there are indeed two on offer - and I have one here to swatch today.  Black Market is a set of six mini-pencils, in deep, dark shades - perfect for those of us who don't really wear bright liner.

The set contains West - a dark brown pearl; Desperation, a deep taupe-grey matte; Black Market, a charcoal black satin; Riot, a smoky grey with micro sparkle; Apathy, a metallic olive green; and Ink, a deep navy satin.  Of the six shades, five are brand new and exclusive - only Desperation has been available before this set.

If you click the swatches below to enlarge, you'll get a good sense of the shimmer in some of the shades.

I think Riot and Apathy are my favourites - although, Black Market is surprisingly pretty for something described as a black satin. There are multi-coloured bits of shimmer in there - obviously these won't really show up on the eye unless you apply your liner heavily, but there's enough sparkle to give a bit of extra dimension to the eye.

The Black Market set costs £26 - a reasonable price given that a single 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil is £14 - and if your 24/7 liner collection is missing a few deep, dark shades, this set is a perfect way to get them.  Find it now at HQ Hair, Debenhams, and House of Fraser.

Disclosure: PR sample

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

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Kiko Clic Eyeshadow System & Infinity Eyeshadows

Italian brand KIKO have just released a new range of eyeshadows, all of which fit neatly into a selection of empty palettes. They call it a "revolutionary solution".  I call it fairly standard - you can get build-your-own palettes from Urban Decay, MAC, Inglot... And you can depot your shadows and put them in a Z-Palette too.  Most makeup fanatics seem to go through a MAC phase, buying limited editions and building 12-pan palettes until they realise MAC are releasing the same stuff season after season.  So, if you're anything like me, you may well have a coupla made-it-yourself palettes hanging around.

Anyway, I don't intend to take anything from KIKO on this - you can buy palettes to hold one, three, four, nine, or twenty-four eyeshadows, and they're all reasonably priced.  The 9-pan palette above costs £9.90, which isn't too bad (particularly compared to UD, who will sell you a pretty 4-pan for £8), although you are getting something rather basic - heavy, sturdy plastic, but no mirror.

The Clic system is very well designed - the shadows turn up packed properly in cardboard cases with a protective hard plastic outer (no cardboard sleeves here, ahem, MAC).

Once you've unwrapped your shadow, you drop it into the space, and press gently with your fingertip.  The shadow pings into place easily, and if you feel the need to rearrange them (or obsessively make sure the lettering is lined up symmetrically), you just pop them out using the provided tab and a fingernail (or teaspoon, if your nails are delicate).

The pans are big, too - here's a comparison with a two-p piece.

And the shadows themselves?  Lovely.

Top row

Middle row

Bottom row
There are both Infinity and Infinity+ shadows in this palette - the top-left pale lilac, and the two blue/turquoises in the middle row are the sparklier Infinity+ variety, which cost £7.90 each, where the Infinity shadows at £5.90.  I'm not sure the Infinity+ shades are worth the extra cash - they're a little gritty, and low on pigment but high in sparkle - much like Urban Decay's Moondust Shadows - while they're nice, they're not essential.  The Infinity shadows have a great texture, being smooth and blendable without fallout, and have an incredible amount of pigmentation.  These swatches are all pretty light handed.  Even the matte shades are vibrant and opaque, and not chalky at all.

Overall, I'm pretty impressed with KIKO's Clic system.  The palettes are decently built but reasonably priced, and the eyeshadows are a little more expensive than those you get at Inglot (£4.50 a shadow), but offer a much larger pan size.  Find them at KIKO's online shop, or at either of the Westfield London stores.  Or wait a bit and pop into the soon-to-be-opening Oxford Circus branch.

Disclosure: PR sample

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