Tuesday, 28 August 2012

GlossyBox International Superstars - August

August GlossyBox* - International Superstars

'This month GlossyBox goes Global with hero products from around the world for you to try.'

Alessandro Pro White, £7.85 Germany -  This claims to have a brightening effect on your nails and contain an anti-yellowing formula for radiant and gleaming talons. I'm quite liking this sample and it seems to be doing what it claims, I'm not sure I'd fork out for a full size but I'll definitely use this up.
 DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, £18.50, Japan - I was a bit wary about trying this as I'm not too keen on using oil based products on my skin. I liked how effective it was at removing my make-up but I much prefer creams so I'll stick to my NuBo and Liz Earle cleansers.
 Broadway ImPress Nails, £7.99, USA - I really like the idea of these, simply peel off the backing, attach to the nails and you're ready to go. I've not had a chance to try these yet, but I've heard they're good and I quite like the colour I was sent.
 Vera Valenti Eyeshadow Palette, £3.85, Spain - I'm not quite sure what was running through the heads of the GlossyBox team when this was chosen. Is this really the best Spain has to offer? The packaging is cheap, the applicator is awful, the colours are hideous and the quality is even worse.
Lipcote, £3.99, U.K - I already own a bottle of Lipcote else I would of been quite excited to see this product inside my GlossyBox. I'd heard a lot about this so I had high expectations but I didn't find it lived up to the hype for me. On 90% of my lipsticks once I'd applied this they became gloopy and almost separated on my lips, not to mention that it smells awful and is painful to apply. Check out Holly's review, I totally agree with everything she had to say.
GlossyBox Lipstick in Glossy Pink, £9.50, U.K - Eh, where to start. Does no-one else feel a bit let down by this product? I wouldn't consider GlossyBox's own brand a luxury product and I don't think the quality lives up to the price. If I pay £9.50 for a lipstick I'd expect luxury packaging, accompanied by an established brand name. I wasn't impressed with their last offerings, a blush brush if I recall which was awful quality and can't help but think that maybe these are last minute ideas to bump the number of product in the box up?

Overall I was pretty disappointed in this months GlossyBox, I'll use the ImPress nails and Pro White Varnish but I found the unboxing more exciting than the contents.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Worth The Hype? YSL Rouge Volupte Pearle

 YSL Rouge Volupte Pearle '108 - Celestial Muave'
Available in Debenhams, £23.50

The notorious YSL Rouge Volupte lipsticks are undoubtably the most visually beautiful products I've seen. At £23.50 they aren't cheap, but I feel like every girl deserves a bit of YSL in their make-up bag, even just to admire every now and then. With beautiful golden packaging, the YSL logo is weaved in to the bullet, along with a cut out of colour to give you a sneak peak at what waits inside.
Once you get past the outer beauty comes the lipstick itself. The first thing that you'll notice is the scent of watermelon which I adore, it's refreshing and I find myself breathing in the scent as I apply. These lipsticks are incredibly pigmented, as well as being smooth and creamy, they almost melt on to your lips! The finish is very glossy and they're hydrating but that does in turn mean that they wont last as long as they do have a lot of slip. My only other slight issue is that because these lipsticks are so creamy, they do tend to settle in to any fine lines in your lips and move around quite a bit.
 I picked up the shade 'Celestial Muave' from the Rouge Volupte Pearle line which is a pretty, bubblegum pink. I also own 'Nude Beige - 1' which I've blogged about and swatched in the past. 

So? Are they worth the hype?
Although I wouldn't say these are my favourite lipsticks due to the finish and longevity, they're undeniably beautiful and feel like a real luxury item. I don't think I'll be purchasing any more, but I'm happy to own the few I have.

Monday, 20 August 2012

All Time Favourite Nail Varnishes

Gosh 'Holographic', Superdrug - This was in massive demand when it came out and I managed to snap one up for myself, I'm not sure if they're still available anymore but I'm sure there's dupes out there! First applied this just looks like a shimmery silver but once it dries it gives the most amazingly shiny, holographic finish. Check out a photo here.
Topshop 'Ice Crush' - Glitter and holographic combined in to one, this makes a gorgeous top coat to add another level of wow to your nails.
Models Own, 'Juicy Jules' Boots - I adore this, it builds up to be the perfect glitter varnish - albeit slightly difficult to remove.
Milani Jewel Fx, 'Silver' Cherry Culture - One of my all time favourite glitters, these come in different colours - all available on cherryculture. Here's a photo of it in action.
Butter London, 'Diamond Geezer' Debenhams  - Amazing quality, classy packaging, pretty pricey but it's one to splurge on if you have the money spare.
Accessorize, 'Ivory Lace' Superdrug - Perfect pale nude, very understated but easily dressed up with the help of a glitter varnish.
Nails Inc, Free with InStyle Magazine - Gorgeous pale, peachy pink - simple but sweet.
Ciate, 'Bon Bon' Free with a Magazine - Although not the most long lasting, this is a very pretty lavender/grey.
Topshop, 'Barefoot' - If you can't get hold of the Ciate polish, this is an almost perfect dupe - perhaps a fraction lighter.
No.17  Lasting Fix, 'Mint Choc Chip' Boots - The perfect pale turquoise blue.
Barry M, 'Raspberry' Superdrug - Favourite winter polish, it's slightly dark and moody but reminds me of Christmas as we always have red tinsel in our house.
Deborah Lippman, 'Razzle Dazzle' GlossyBox - Built up this can be worn alone, or I like to use it over the top of Barry M's 'Raspberry'.
Barry M, Peach Melba, Superdrug - Raved about continuously. Incredibly pretty pale peach, very Summery.
Barry M, 'Flamingo Pink', Superdrug - Classic Barbie Pink, everyone needs one of these in their collection.
Avon, 'Coral Reef' - The perfect combination of pink and coral together, this is a favourite of mine in Summer.

So there's my favourite varnishes! What're yours?
I can't really comment on the longevity as I only wear colours for two days at a time due to my job but I can't be wasting time with streaky, thin varnishes that take ages to dry so I assure you none of the above will cause you problems in that department.

Mac 'Russian Red'

Mac 'Russian Red', Matte Finish - £14
Mac has created an amazing buzz around their name, I remember watching Youtube videos and reading blog posts about their products, leaving me lusting after the items mentioned. It wasn't until I got my first part time job that I could afford my first Mac product, a lipstick - 'Myth'. When I made my first purchase, their lipsticks retailed for £12.50 which I thought was the perfect price, they remained a luxury item but they were still affordable to most. Now, they retail for £14 which I'm slightly miffed at as they haven't updated the packaging, re-formulated or added to the amount of product you receive - all they've done is bump up the price. 
However, pricing aside, the quality of the Mac's lipsticks are undeniably good. They're incredibly pigmented, smooth and come in a variety of finishes - all vanilla scented just to add an extra touch of luxury. The packaging of most Mac products are classic, sleek and they definitely look high end, I'm always happy to whip a Mac lipstick out my bag. 
As for the lipstick featured today, 'Russian Red' this is undoubtedly my favourite red lipstick. For me, this is the perfect 'Old Hollywood' red that works well if I'm pale, or tanned. I'm incredibly picky with products, so to be hailed as a favourite by me means it has to be flawless. 
So what qualities does a red lipstick need to have to be labelled 'flawless'? They have to be.. rich in colour, pigmented, work well with different skin tones, photograph well, matte finish, long wearing, smooth and easy to apply.
For me, this ticks every single box.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Worth The Hype? Real Techniques

 Somehow, way back when PixiWoo started up their Youtube channel I managed to stumble across it whilst browsing through videos and instantly subbed. Sisters Nic and Sam are both make-up artists with years of experience who began sharing tips through tutorials on their channel. Since I subscribed I've seen them go from strength to strength, they now have their own Studio, teach make-up courses, attend VIP events, they're involved with brands like Avon and to top it off, Sam has recently brought out her own line of brushes, named 'Real Techniques'. 
Like most other subscribers I couldn't wait for the brushes to be released and when they hit shelves in Boots, at affordable prices - I'm pretty sure everyone went mad. I've seen the Real Techniques brushes raved out on Blogs, Youtube and in the media so I knew I had to try them out! I was really hoping that the brushes lived up to the hype and delivered in terms of quality, and they sure did.
The first brush I picked up was the Real Techniques Stippling Brush, £11.99. At first I wasn't the biggest fan of this brush as I'd gone from my incredibly dense Sigma F82 and I felt like I was having trouble blending in the product. In the end I put the brush aside for a few weeks then happened to re-discover it when my Sigma brushes were being washed and all I can say is that I must of just been using a horrible foundation because I love the Stippling Brush. I've tried this with foundation and cream blushers and it works wonder with both, seamlessly blending the product in to the skin. The hairs are packed just tightly enough to make it possible to blend the foundation with ease, and stipple it in to the skin for the perfect canvas.
After my success with the Stippling Brush I went out and brought the 'Real Techniques Blusher Brush', £9.99 and the 'Real Techniques Powder Brush', £12.99 and I adore both of these as well. The Blusher brush is slightly tapered and not quite as dense as I expected but works well for me with bronzer, picking up just the right amount of product. As for the powder brush, it's so big and fluffy that applying powder literally takes me under seconds.
I'm now a convert to Synthetic brushes, they're soft, keep their shape and are far easier to clean. I absolutely adore the brushes I own and hope the range is expanded in the future, I'm already planning on purchasing the Core Collection and Starter Set when pay day comes around! For me, these are definitely worth the hype!

Friday, 17 August 2012

Topshop's 'Ohh La La' Lipstick

Topshop Lipstick - Ohh La La, £8
When Topshop first launched their cosmetics line I wasn't overly interested, now every time I enter a Topshop I find myself drawn to their make up stands. I'm a huge fan of their Lash Catcher mascara, nail varnishes, cream blushers and lip products. The most recent addition to my Topshop collection is this gorgeous coral lipstick, in the shade 'Ohh La La'. At first glance I did find this colour slightly intimidating but applied it's a beautiful, subtle coral with hints of pink and peach - perfect for a Summer look without being too 'in your face'.
Topshop lipsticks are priced at £8, so they're around the same price as Maybelline and L'oreal's, and come in a nice selection of colours. My favourite thing about Topshop lipsticks? They're very pigmented, creamy and moisturising so application is effortless. Their lipsticks are well packaged - simplistic, but sweet with white and black stripes which makes them stand out from most brands. The downside? If you plan on carrying your lipstick loose in your bag the packaging might become discoloured.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Collection 2000 Cream Puff's

 Price: £2.99
Available from: Boots, Superdrug
Comes in four shades.
I know a lot of people don't bother with products from Collection 2000 because they're so cheap and people associate low prices with bad quality but, I've found some real gems in their Cosmetics range! These 'Cream Puff's' are similar to the NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams, except cheaper and sadly, with fewer shade options. They come packaged in tubes, similar to lipgloss with a doe foot applicator, sleek black lids and embossed writing that's yet to rub off (yay!). As you can see from the tubes, these claim to be 'moisturising lip creams' which I'd half agree with. I find these set to a matte finish that doesn't dry the lips out but if I wear this all day then my lips do look slightly dehydrated. 
Application is incredibly quick and easy as you don't have to take too much care and they're pretty long wearing. I picked up the shades Powder Puff (a light, peachy nude) and Cotton Candy (a deep, vivid pink) - swatches below! I did find that Cotton Candy was a slightly thicker consistency and extremely pigmented, where as Powder Puff has a slightly thinner consistency. I prefer to wear Powder Puff over the top of a glossy nude lipstick to provide a matte finish and extend the wear.
If there were more colours I'd definitely pick up a few more of these but for now, these two are the only shades that appeal to me! At just £2.99 these are a bargain and wont give you any shoppers guilt afterwards!

Current Favourites

Burt's Bees Beeswax & Banana Hand Cream, £9.99 - I've only recently discovered Burt's Bees products and my first two purchases were this hand cream and their Grapefruit lip balm (which is also lovely!). Although slightly pricey for the amount of product you get, this hand cream is really rich, creamy and a small amount really hydrates the skin. I love the packaging, it's very sweet and simple plus the scent is amazing - it reminds me of the Body Shop's Banana Shampoo and Conditioner.
Avene Thermal Spring Water, £3.50 - Most of my Summer has been spent indoors at work in a hot, stuffy kitchen and this has been a life saver. You know when you reach the point where you're so hot you're tempted to dunk your head in a sink of ice cold water? (just me?) Well this gives you a cold, light refreshing mist - fragrance free and it's small enough to fit in your bag.
Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer, £4.19 - This has been a favourite of mine for months! I've used up two, keep one in my bag and have one at home - for under £5 you can't really go wrong. It has quite a limited colour range but if you can find a match it offers full coverage and blends like a dream!
St.Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub, £1 - This is just a travel size for when I'm away but I really love this and it's just as good as Benefit's Facial Polish! A big bottle is only £3-4, it has lots of tiny beads in which give your skin a really good exfoliation, leave the skin soft and get rid of dry patches.
Urban Decay Primer Potion, 'Eden', £14.50 - This and Mac's 'Painterly' Paint Pot are my two favourite primers. I hate the Original Primer Potion but 'Eden' is a light beige colour which covers any veins on my eyelids and makes my eyeshadow last all day.
Collection 2000 Extreme Felt Tip Liner, £2-3 - This is a great eyeliner for beginners, not only is it cheap it's also pigmented, incredibly easy to apply and lasts all day for me!
Nars Matte Lipstick, 'Madere', £18.50 - These lipsticks are no doubt expensive and I'm not going to make a habit out of purchasing them as I think the amount of product you get for the price is outrageous. That being said, they're lovely lipsticks - pigmented, smooth and creamy plus, this could be the perfect nude. It is slightly drying but if you exfoliate your lips beforehand and don't apply too much it's fine.
The Balm Bahama Mama, £15 - I find this to be the perfect shade of bronzer for me. It's completely matte, very pigmented and I never have a problem blending this in to the skin. This adds depth to my face, a bit of colour and the packaging is adorable!
Jemma Kidd Dewy Glow, Iced Gold, £17.00 - When I first opened this I was massively disappointed, in the pan it looks very shimmery - almost glittery and I thought it would be a total write off. Lucky, I was wrong! Somehow when applied to the skin this turns in to the most beautiful product that adds luminosity and gives you a gorgeous glow - no glitter particles and only slightly shimmery. Just lovely!

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Disappointing Products: Caudalie Beauty Elixir

This product claims to 'smooth features, tighten pores and give the complexion a burst of radiance' - so, is it worth the money?
Having seen the Caudalie Beauty Elixir featured on 90% of the blogs I read, Youtube videos and in the media I finally caved and ordered myself a bottle from FeelUnique. At £9.90 for just 30ml, and £28.80 for 100ml this isn't cheap which is what put me off purchasing it for so long.
Honestly I'd say no. I had high hopes for this as I'd seen it raved about all over the web and heard that Victoria Beckham herself swears by it to give her a glowing complexion but for me it did nothing. I tried this under make-up on clean skin, over make-up and as a refresher but I didn't find it made the slightest bit of difference whichever way I used it! If I was being generous I might say it added a small amount of luminosity when spritzed over make-up but it didn't prolong the wear or keep up the effect during the day. Also, the fragrance is incredibly bizarre - I'd expected a lightly fragranced, refreshing mist but instead I found the scent overpowering. To me it smells very herbal, with a hint of mint and a bit flowery but it's not discrete in the slightest so for me, spraying this in public as a refresher is a no, no.
The only thing I really liked about this product is the packaging which I think is very classic and expensive looking but apart from that, to me this just feels like over-hyped, over-priced smelly water. In no means do I want this to sound like a massive brand bashing post, so I do feel like I should mention that I love their S.O.S Thirst Quenching Serum and Body Scrubs. But, in the future I'll opt for my Avene Thermal Spring Water Spray or the Evian Face Mist.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Benefit Haul

After trialling out the Benefit Skincare Sample Set (review here) I decided to pick up two of my favourite products, the Total Moisture Facial Cream, £26.50 and Refinished Finish Facial Polish, £17.50. These are undoubtedly the most expensive skin care products I've brought as I'm a bit of a stinge when it comes to creams, scrubs and cleansers. I've never really found myself needing a proper routine for my skin and just stuck to face wipes but lately my skin is massively oily, yet dry at the same time and it's driving me mad. That being said I wasn't too fussed about forking out for these two products as I know they work well for me and I'm hoping they help fix my skin issues.
I intend on using the Refined Finish Facial Polish once or twice a week to get rid of any dry patches then using the Total Moisture Facial Cream every other night to make my skin feel plump and soft. I've also recently picked up a few products from Liz Earle and Origins to try out and I'm considering forking out an outrageous £120+ for a Clarasonic. Opinions please? Worth the money?
I also managed to get talked in to buying a few cosmetics whilst at the Benefit counter as well including the Beyond Real Mascara, The Porefessional Primer, High Brow and Speed Brow. Well done sales girl, you did good.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Liz Earle does Make-Up?

I've been a massive fan of Liz Earle products for a while now, my favourites being the much hyped *Hot Cloth Cleanser, *Skin Repair Moisturiser, *Brightening Treatment Mask and *SuperSkin Body Cream. Just today I picked up the Deep Cleansing Mask as it claims to draw out impurities and excess oil to leave skin balanced and calm. So, as you can imagine when I heard about the new Cosmetics line I was very intrigued as it's been years in the making and when I was offered the chance to try out two of the products, of course - I said yes!
I was sent the *Natural Glow Bronzer in 'Bronze' which retails for £19.50, and the *Eye Pencil in 'Golden Bronze' which retails for £11 which I've been using for a few weeks now. I quite like the packaging of the Cosmetics range, it's quite simplistic and sleek and I think anything overly luxurious wouldn't of been what I imagined from the brand. 
The bronzer comes in a lovely little compact with a good sized mirror for on the go application, but currently only comes in one shade. I've no doubt anyone fair to medium skin would love this but I'm not sure if it would work on very deep skin tones. Although in the pan there is definitely visible shimmer I don't find that this translates to the skin, applied I can only see very slight luminosity which adds a glow to the skin. I didn't find this to be massively pigmented but that's partly why I like it so much, it applies a sheer wash of colour to the skin that's easily buildable - bear in mind I usually have fake tan on so this would obviously be more visible on lighter skin tones. Overall, I really do think this is a lovely bronzer that adds just the right amount of colour to the skin, adding warmth and creating a bronzed glow.
Now, the eyeliner. I'm a BIG fan of this and I don't feel like the swatch below does it justice. This pencil is smooth, pigmented and an absolutely gorgeous colour! I wouldn't say this eyeliner is particularly creamy, like the Urban Decay 24/7 liners where you can smudge the colour but if you work the product in to the skin it can definitely be blended out. I've tried this on the waterline, on the lower and upper lash line and it looks beautiful every way. If you have the opportunity I'd suggest swatching this and seeing the beauty for yourself, it comes out as a deep brown that looks bronze and golden at different angles. Gorgeous!
In terms of price point I'm glad the products weren't priced any higher as I feel they're almost branching in to the 'luxury cosmetics' price range. Admittedly I do think the bronzer is on the expensive side and would have loved to see it with a more affordable price tag, but it is great quality and does boast it's formula being enriched with Vitamin E, Borage and Avacado!
Have you tried any products from the Liz Earle Cosmetics Range?