Beauty Without Fuss

Wednesday 30 June 2010

What's happening on Get Lippie this week OR Bye, bye Barry!

This post is coming to you via the magic of scheduled posting, because as anyone who follows me on Twitter should know, I'm in hospital right now having a minor operation.  Nothing too serious, but I'll be out of action for a good few days. Now, as I'm cranky at the best of times, I thought rather than subject my lovely blog readers to a few days of my complaining about being too hot/cold/itchy/tired/grumpy/elderly/hungry/not hungry and the like that I'd enlist some people to take over my blog for a few days.

I put out a call for volunteer bloggers on Twitter recently, and what a response I had! I have some great blog posts coming up for you this week, on the magic of mineral makeup, about some wonderful products you might never of heard of, about the perils of too much makeup, about microbes (seriously), about sunscreens, lipsticks, nail varnish and some other great stuff too.  So Get Lippie will look a bit different for the next week or so, but, I hope you'll all enjoy reading the posts that have been lined up for you, as much as I've enjoyed receiving them.

Finally, to all my guest bloggers, thank you so much for helping me out, none of you had to, and I've been very moved by you all making the effort to make sure I had some articles to cover when I wasn't feeling up to it!  You're amazing.

Tuesday 29 June 2010


Sometimes, I can't help gilding the lily:

Had a perfectly good Rococo Utility manicure, and I went and added a layer of Inglot flakies to it, and ended up with this hideous mess. Both gorgeous shades on their own, added together just made me feel all "urgh" about it!

Have you ever made any terrible errors of combination?

Monday 28 June 2010

Nail of the Day - Mavala Mango Orange

Oh, this is just too pretty, it arrived courtesy of the Nail Varnish Fairy and I was wearing it within about 30 seconds of opening the envelope! This will explain - I hope - the rather messy application ...

Housed, as always in one of Mavala's mini-bottles, this gloriously hot metallic orange shade is perfect for summer fingers, although I can see it working beautifully on toes too. The above picture shows two coats over a rather beige base.  It's very sheer, and highly sparkly - almost frosty, if such a hot shade can be said to be frosty - but it catches the light very well, and it's gorgeous in sunlight!

What shades do you love for summer nails? Mavala polishes are available from John Lewis and leading independent pharmacies.

The Fine Print: As there isn't actually a Nail Varnish Fairy - sorry kids! - it should be disclosed that this is a review sample.  I wish there was a nail varnish fairy though, I know a few people who'd keep her very busy ...

Friday 25 June 2010

He's Baaaaaaack!

Yes, MrLippie is back reviewing again.  And I think he may have been drinking! Take a look at his latest post over on Ape to Gentleman, and don't forget to let him know what you think.  All the filth in the final paragraph has nothing to do with me, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.  So there.

Thursday 24 June 2010

Ellis Faas: Ellis Eyes Lights Eyeshadows FotD

As you may know, my birthday treat to myself was a couple of Ellis Faas Ellis Eyes Lights shadows. I created a FotD with E305 - a rich burgundy brown with amazing green duochrome - at the time, but I've since got around to wearing the E304 - a shimmering lilac metallic - and this is how it looked under a variety of lighting conditions:

As you can see, depending on the lighting conditions it can look very different. Also, depending on the angle you're looking it from, it can appear very sheer with a hint of sparkle, or a vibrant lilac shade, accordingly.  For me, in all honesty, I actually find it a slightly easier shade to wear than the E305, possibly because I like to play up the green tones in my eyes, and this is an excellent vehicle for that.

It's maybe not entirely suitable for office wear, but that's never stopped me wearing glitter for work before, to be honest! I teamed it with a taupe eyeshadow in the crease alongside my beloved Guerlain Oriental Metal kohl, and a very nude lip (Becca's Giselle topped with Le Metier de Beaute's Manhattan gloss), here's how it looked in the full context of my face:

Yeah, my hair looked insane in the full picture, so I had to crop  it out, that'll learn it.

The Fine Print: Bought them!  Nyah Nyah!!

Wednesday 23 June 2010

Mannequin Hands? Precision Nail Lacquer P300 Kismet

A couple of months ago you couldn't move for blogs with people showing you their "Mannequin Hands".  Basically, a mannequin hand is one where you've painted your nails the same colour as the skin of your hand, making you look like you have longer, slimmer fingers.  Sadly, my hands are more sausage fingers than mannequin, but this polish - P300 Kismet from Precision - seems to have worked better for me in this craze than some other, more beige shades I've been trying.

Yes, it's a bit frosty - and therefore not a "real" mannequin hand, as you're meant to use a creme shade - and yes, it's a lot paler than I thought the skin on my hands was in the first place, but I do kind of like the shade, I can't deny it.  But I also can't deny that this looks dated in the picture, because what you can't really see here is the amazing green/pink duochrome that's in the polish! It's very visible in the bottle, but sadly not on the nail, and not in these pics ... The pics have also washed out the shade a little, it's actually slightly more pink than it appears here.

Pics show four coats - I still had some visible nail line, but I can live with it - over an Orly sticky basecoat, and under a layer of OPI Rapid-Dry top coat.  The polishes last well, the picture above is several days old now, and there's no chipping or signs of tipwear.

Precision polishes cost £5.95 and are available from Venus nail and beauty supplies.  I've not bought from these people though - this polish was a gift - so buyer beware, and all that.

What's your take on mannequin hands?

Tuesday 22 June 2010

Elf High Definition Powder vs Urban Decay Razor Sharp Ultra Definition Finishing Powder

You can't move at the moment for High Definition cosmetics. I'm not - entirely - convinced that for day-to-day wear you need cosmetics that provide coverage designed for such a specific purpose (essentially a High Definition cosmetic is one designed not to look dreadful for digital photography), but some of them do have their uses.

I'm a fan of HD powders, they're a lot finer than traditional talc-based powder, and for that reason, on my slightly dry skin, I find them quite easy to wear.  They're also slightly lighter than talc-based cosmetics, so they won't clog your pores, and they're also suitable for summer-wear over a tinted moisturiser.

I own two HD powders, firstly Elf HD Powder:

Mainly consisting of silica, this powder costs £6 and is available from the ELF website.  It's housed in a bulky black box with a sifter, and comes complete with a velvet puff to buff the product into your skin.

I also own the Urban Decay Razor Sharp Ultra Definition Finishing Powder (catchy name!  But it's essentially an HD powder like the ELF above):

This is housed in a round container, which has a built-in applicator, which makes it slightly less likely that you'll end up spilling the powder all over your feet when you're using it.  Not, of course, that I'm speaking from experience!  Their are two major differences between the Urban Decay HD powder (seriously, I cannot be bothered typing the full name out every time) and the ELF, and that is the UD is beige, and it costs £17.

So, given that the major component in both powders is silica, is there much difference between them?  Actually, yes. And no. Both feel silky on the skin thanks to the silica, and both work well as finishing powders, giving the skin a matte-ish, but not flat finish.  In fact, the ELF powder is the one I use as a finishing powder in the vast majority of my makeovers, but I do find that the Urban Decay does, in fact give a finer, softer finish on the skin, and feels a great deal silkier when rubbed between your fingertips. There's not a huge amount to choose between them to be honest.  Both involve patting the applicator over your skin, then I like to sweep away the excess with a large powder brush, to give an even finish.

All that said, which one would I buy again?  The ELF. Most likely. For my purposes, it's just that little bit more versatile.  Yes, it doesn't have the "sexy" packaging of the UD, but I don't think the fancy container justifies a three times higher cost considering the similarity of the contents. I did find, in use that the UD reminded me a great deal of Prescriptives (now discontinued) "Magic Powder", and I think it has some of the same "water-burst" technology, so people who've been yearning for a duplicate, here's your chance! For me though, I'd still buy the ELF, I can always put it into a fancy container ...

Do you own any HD cosmetics, what do you think of them?

The Fine Print: I bought these. A little while ago, admittedly, but I've still got the box the ELF came in.  I really need to tidy up.

Monday 21 June 2010

Guerlain Kohl Swatches

I own four of the Guerlain Kohls now, I thought it was time to show you how they compare to each other:

Here are the three darks, Noir is a rich, sparkly black, Mirage is a matte, slightly flattened grey-brown (it's not quite a taupe, but it's not as red, nor as sparkly as Guerlain's "Brun" shade), and Oriental Metal is the most beautiful lightly metallic taupe-shade, which has very quickly become a staple in my daily make up.

There is one missing from the hand-swatch here, and that's the Guerlain kohl in Secret Glow.  The reason for this is that it's almost impossible to see, so I thought I'd show it to you "in action" as it were:

It's a flesh-coloured powder with a light hint of iridescence, you use it in the same way you use the other kohls (a quick swipe along the waterline with the stick), and instead of darkening and defining the eye, it lightens and brightens your eyes, by getting rid of any residual pinkness.

It's VERY easy to overdo though.  Very, very, very easy.  This doesn't look too bad in the photo, but I spent all day boggling at how "odd" my eyes looked.  I'm not sure I'll use Secret Glow again for a while - it was just too different - or at least, I might try and see how I can use it to get a slightly lighter application.  I'll say this for it, it's got some MEGA-staying power!

The Fine Print: I bought these, and I loved them so much I've bought them for other people too.  Don't fear the stick, people!

Saturday 19 June 2010

Organic Weekend - Madara Eco Cosmetics

Madara is Latvian for Cleaver  - a plant that features a great deal in Madara cosmetics.  Launched four years ago, Madara have released a capsule range of skin care and cosmetics concentrating on plant and herbal extracts which have weathered the short Latvian summers and  the long, long Baltic winters.

Prettily packaged - a nice change for an organic range! So many of them you buy for their worthiness rather than thair looks - in airtight vacuum containers, the range concentrates a great deal on moisturisers of differing intensities, and has a small range of cosmetic products such as tinted moisturisers and lip glosses.  I saw the products at both The Vitality Show and The National Organic Products show this year, and I was impressed enough to want to give their tinted moisturiser a thorough look-over.

Being slightly warm-toned, I chose their "Sunflower Tinting Fluid", but there is also a "Moonflower Tinted Fluid" for cooler skintones.  Sometimes, even a cool-toned gal wants a tinted moisturiser!

Here is what Madara have to say about the Sunflower product:

Tints, illuminates and lightly moisturises the skin of the face and neck. Evens out skin tone. Gives the skin freshness, radiance, and the look of a summer tan. Disguises imperfections and fine lines. A lighter alternative to foundation.

CONTAINS Baltic St.John's-wort, plantain, chamomile, algae and rose water, as well as cocoa and jojoba. Colour and shimmer are obtained from natural plant minerals and mica.

USAGE: Apply evenly to cleansed and toned face and neck. For deeper moisturization use MÁDARA moisturizing cream, fluid or gel beforehand.

I've used this a lot in the weeks since it arrived, it's light, fresh, easy to blend and melds well with the skin.  Also, it's not got a huge amount of pigment in, so it's not going to turn you orange.  It has a vague "green" scent, remiscent of grass and hay, but the smell doesn't linger upon application.  It also doesn't leave you looking greasy!  I like it a great deal, Madara say it's suitable for all skin types, but I'd suggest that if you're dryer skinned then you might have to use a regular moisturiser underneath, but as it is, it won't clog up the pores if you're slightly oiler-skinned, which is nice.

Sadly, like many organic moisturisers, it doesn't contain an SPF, so you will have to use a separate product for that, which is a bit of a pain - it's also the reason why this won't be knocking my beloved Bobbi Brown Tinted Moisturising Balm of it's perch at any time in the near future - but, whenever I've worn this my skin has looked great, even with just a tiny touch of HD powder over the top, and it's light, long-lasting and easy to wear.

Madara Eco Cosmetics Sunflower Tinting Fluid costs £21.50, and is available from these online stockists

The Fine Print: Review based on samples acquired from a variety of sources.  I cannot reveal my sources, because then I'd have to kill you.

Friday 18 June 2010

Review - Andrew Barton Salon Covent Garden

I've been a bit obsessed with hair this year, I can't deny it. I've had four visits to different salons since Christmas (which is at least three more than usual, I'm notorious for leaving it far too long between visits), and, hand on heart, there's only one of them I'd definitely go back to.  And that is this one.

I was invited along for a pre-birthday hair makeover by the Andrew Barton team last week - in spite of all my other salon visits recently, it can't be denied that I've been in a bit of a hair rut the last year or two - and I was delighted to pop along to see what they could do.  If the name seems familiar to you, that will be because Andrew Barton himself is the hair stylist responsible for those amazing transformations you see on Ten Years Younger.  Unfortunately, Andrew wasn't available on the day of my visit, but I was left in the more than capable hands of Tracey and Declan, and neither myself nor my hair have any complaints about it!

The salon itself is monochromatically decorated, with hints of wit - have to say I adored the flock wallpaper with the dog silhouettes all over it -  being a fan of the monochrome, I felt right at home! I found the salon quite restful, and it was nice to have a little respite from the pounding dance music that a lot of salons pour into your ears in order to make your visit appear cool'n'trendy.  Prior to my appointment, I'd attended a consultation with Declan and had a colour test (the salon only uses Redken products, and I hadn't had a colour with Redken products for a while) to ensure I wasn't allergic to anything.  Declan and I had a good chat about the state of my hair (back to it's usual insanity), and my attitude towards styling (non-existant). Declan took all of this in his stride, and suggested a style that works with my hairs own natural tendencies, and also discussed some colouring options.

On the day itself, I was delighted to be recognised by other staff members who I'd chatted to briefly during my consultation visit, and was gratified to see that Declan, my stylist, and Tracey, my colourist, (who hadn't been available on the consult day) had obviously chatted about my requirements in the meantime - or if they hadn't, they were remarkably in tune with one another! - we decided to not change my colour too drastically, but even up the ends and the roots, and add in a few subtle highlights to break up the colour around the front.  There was nothing drastically wrong with the colour as previously done, but I'd been aware that my hair was looking rather "block-y" and heavy recently, and I wanted to add some movement.  Both Tracey and Declan got what I was trying to explain right away, and I have to say that they are both extremely talented at taking some vague, mumbled instructions about "boringness" and "heaviness" and taking on board both appropriateness for lifestyle, and appearance, and turning that into a hairstyle.

Staff were friendly, professional, and very easy to chat to, there was no pretentiousness, snootiness or patronising of the clients, all things other salons are occasionally guilty of (sometimes all three in one go, with an added side order of rubbishness. I'm naming no names, but this post might remind you of how annoying any and all of those things are).  It's the small touches that make a salon friendly, and re-visitable, and the Andrew Barton salon has these in spades.  Everyone took a turn in manning reception, anyone and everyone offered to make drinks, and I noticed all of the team taking their turn in cleaning up after themselves too, it was nice not to see a stressed out "junior" doing all the donkey-work.  Most importantly, these guys seem like a team, one who genuinely enjoy working together and, after a few disappointing and/or stressful visits to salons this year, it was a refreshing delight to see and be part of.

As for my hair, well, I love it. It's a bit darker than I anticipated (considering I had highlights!), and a little shorter than I was expecting after the consult, but both the cut and the colour work very well, it's very shiny, and just it feels so much lighter and bouncier, it's almost like a new head of hair! It's garnered lots of compliments, so, sometimes, I guess it's okay to just trust the stylist. You just need to pick your stylist carefully ...  

Andrew Barton isn't a cheap salon - although considering the location, it's reasonable in context. Colour services start from £60 and go up to around £170 dependent on both the service requested, and the technical level of your stylist.  Ask for Tracey and Declan, tell them I said hello.  And warn them that I'll be back.

The Fine Print: Service was provided free of charge as a pre-birthday review opportunity. I'll pay next time though, you betcha.  And I'll be stealing that wallpaper. And possibly one of the backwash chairs. All pictures in this post - aside from the one of my ugly mug - were shamelessly stolen from the Andrew Barton website.

Wednesday 16 June 2010

Review - Armani Blushing Fabric Second Skin Blush

I first had a sneaky peek at these a couple of months ago when BritishBeautyBlogger kindly let me swatch her sample, and I was lucky enough to be sent a couple too just recently. Not ordinarily a massive fan of blusher (I'm much more an eye and lip product kind of girl), these are gorgeous, and I've enjoyed using them a lot.

Weightless owing to their silicone base, these are easy to apply and spread well over the skin, giving a "lit from within" glow that's very flattering.  They're fairly pigmented, and a little goes a long way.  I have two shades, 1 & 2, and here's how they look straight from the tube:

No 1, on the left there, is a lightly gold-flecked peach, and No2 is a sheer strawberry shade.  I find these a lot easier to blend than normal cream blushes - owing to their light texture, there is little or no "drag" on the skin when blending, Certainly I much prefer using these to something like Benefit's Benetint, as they don't dry as quickly, and you're not left with dreadful stripes.  Blended here's how the shades look:

There's not a huge difference between them once blended, but shade number 2 is slightly cooler-toned and is without shimmer, whereas there's just a tiny hint of gold shimmer on the swatch on the right.

Here's how they look on the face:

There is a little bit of a learning curve in using these blushes, it can be very easy to use too much - just a dab'll do ya, but if you do get too much out of the tube, the shades work well on the lips too. I've noticed that the Blushing Fabrics work much better over a foundation with a matte finish rather than one something dewier, a dewy finish-foundation will make them wear off a lot faster, whereas if I wear it over something like Clinique Anti-Blemish foundation, they will last a good 12-16 hours without fading. Tubes of this aren't huge, but you need so little at a time, that I estimate a tube would last quite a few months of daily wear.

Armani Blushing Fabric Second Skin Blush (catchy!) will be available on counters from July 1st, will cost £28,  and will be available in three shades.  Will you be investing?

The Fine Print: These were sent for review by a PR who owed me a favour.  No blue eyeshadow was harmed in the making of this post. Opinions, honesty, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Tuesday 15 June 2010

Creative Heads Most Wanted Awards 2010

A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by Creative Head magazine and invited to be a judge of one of their "Most Wanted" awards. It's a massive honour (other judges this year include both John Frieda and Andrew Collinge, amongst a load more respected people both from inside and outside the industry, sadly, I don't have a full list to hand), and it's an offer I was delighted to accept. Can't help thinking that Creative Head haven't heard about my insane hair though, otherwise they may have thought twice about the invite ...

I spent some of yesterday at the Wella Professionals World Studio in London, and, after a couple of hours alongside my fellow judges discussing our category (Best Online Salon) we had to come to what was a very tough - for me - decision.  All the entrants on our list had some great points, and it was excellent to see so many of them making use of Facebook and Twitter (which most of you already know I'm a massive fan of), so it was hard to decide who should win! I had my own set of criteria, which may have been a little different to the other judges, but it was nice to see where our thoughts were all on the same page, and that we had had some identical reactions to some of the entries!  Some spirited debate took place, I can tell you!

We did all eventually make our decisions, but obviously I can't reveal any details as yet! I'm looking forward to the awards ceremony in September though, and getting to know who wins all the other categories, some of the entries looked amazing, I'm sure the ceremony will be tonnes of fun. One thing I won't enjoy (the less said about Jimmy Carr being the host, the better as far as I'm concerned) seeing will be my VT - yes, I was filmed giving my opinions on hair again, I'm afraid! It keeps happening by accident, GHD made me talk to Fashion TV a few months ago ... I hate seeing myself on camera, I sound (to myself) like an idiot and I spend the whole time I'm watching just counting my flaws.  That reminds me, my eyebrows need doing ...

So, just out of interest, what do you guys look for in a hairdresser's website?  Do you even look for hairdressers online? What's important, and what would make you decide never to darken their doorstep?

Monday 14 June 2010

Mr Lippie Reviews: Guerlain Homme L'Eau

Back again, with a new scent that GetLippie and I are currently arguing about....

Guerlain Homme's L'eau comes in a chunky translucent bottle that looks somewhat ominous, on first viewing. It's big, angular, and has a GINORMOUS spray nozzle that just dares you to press it.

Once you get over that, however, the scent itself is actually quite light. It's ever-so-slightly lemony, but there are so many other undertones in there that are only really noticeable upon repeated sniffing. Yes, I applied this to my wrist and sniffed it lots - so by the time you read this I am likely somewhat high on the fumes and have started talking to trees, but it'll be hard to tell the difference from normal, so I wouldn't worry too much about it...

Anyway...moving on. It's not a spectacularly uber-masculine scent, it's quite complex, preferring to sneak up on you rather than hit you over the head with how powerful it is. Think ninja rather than boxer, if you like? I would say this is also a scent where less is most definitely more...overapplying this, whilst it wouldn't necessarily be unpleasant to those around you, could get a touch cloying. With that in mind, I'd wear this possibly once, twice a week at most - it's something I'd prefer for an actual "event" rather than for everyday grind, where it's less likely to be actually appreciated.

It lasts really well, too - I've still been sniffing it a good 7 hours after first applied, and the subtle changes throughout the day still make it quite effective and interesting.

So, the argument myself and GetLippie are whether I should keep the bottle or she should. It's a scent that lends itself well to women too, I think, so we could be having this argument for some time....


Get Lippie says:

Redolent of limes, mint and hints of rhubarb, I love this. It reminds me a great deal of Guerlain's Herba Fresca - one of my all-time favourite summer scents - but Guerlain Homme L'eau is a less green, more citrussy version, and has a slightly longer lasting effect on the skin. It's cooling and fresh and it's MINE.  I will admit that it smells good on MrL - it's a slightly woodier scent on his skin - but it does work astonishingly well for either gender. I'm keeping it.So ner.

The Fine Print: We were sent a bottle of this to review several months ago and we've been fighting over it ever since.  Currently the bottle resides with Get Lippie in London and MrLippie has weekend access. Sometimes.

Sunday 13 June 2010

Organic Weekend - Pat & Rub

I'm featuring another one of my finds from the Natural and Organic Product Show this weekend, Pat & Rub Relaxing Hand Balm.

This is what P&R say about their products:

The plant ingredients that make up our recipes are responsibly cultivated, unprocessed and 100% natural. They contain none of the following, found in many skincare products:
  • mineral oil and other petroleum derivative: paraffin and vaselin
  • silicons and other PEG substances
  • polypropylene glycol
  • artificial colourants
  • synthetic aromas
  • preservatives (eg parabens)
Pure and natural, Pat&Rub is skincare as it should be.

A Polish company, Pat & Rub is run by women for women, and the products are largely put together for their therapeutic properties.  They have both a relaxing and a revitalising range and I was given a sample of their Relaxing Hand Balm with coconut and Lemongrass - and a little hand massage! I do love a good hand massage, and the balm seemed ideal for the purpose keeping a great deal of slip throughout, and my hands were left feeling smooth and soft for the rest of the day.

This is what P&R say about their handcream:

A cornucupia of benevolent nourishing substances. For very tired and dry hands. Renews, moisturises, softens, brightens, soothes, elasticises the skin of your hands and strengthens your nails. Absorbs beautifully. The ingredients in this balm minimalise the negative influence of detergents and other drying and irritating factors. It contains natural UV filters and the scent of coconut and lemon grass.
  • Lemon Grass Oil - invigorates the mind, enhances the look of your skin: smoothes and cleanses
  • Lemon Peel Water* - brightens and disinfects
  • Jojoba Oil* - strengthens and firms
  • Avocado Butter* - oils, regenerates and protects
  • Olive Butter* - smoothes and soothes
  • Camomile Extact* - soothes irritations
  • Hyaluronate Acid - moisturises and protects
  • Allantoine - soothes and softens
  • Provitamin B5 - reduces pigmentation, elasticises
  • Natural Vitamin E* - smoothes, firms, oils and moisturises

I've used this balm several times since the day of the show, and I have to say that it is an excellent handcream, it takes a little while to massage in, and it does leave your hands soft, fragrant  and it deals with any dry patches. I like the bottle too, it's an airfree bottle with a pump dispenser that's easy to get just the right amount out with.


I use the word "fragrant" advisedly ... The balm is wonderfully redolent of both coconut and lemongrass, and will perfume your hands for several hours.  And therein lies the rub.  Coconut on it's own is a great smell, personally I love it.  Lemongrass is also a great smell, aromatic and refreshing, it's a great addition to this cream, I think.  However, together, you get curry.  Specifically, Thai green curry.  In itself, not a bad smell, just ... a touch too evocative for me, I think.  The smell is very distinct, and it lingers for a good while too.

That said, this balm had an odd effect on the men in my office when I used it.  They LOVED it! I always have about five or six handcreams around my desk, and not one of the others has had the men in my office asking what it was, and begging to be allowed to try a sample of it.  One of the guys loves the scent so much that I actually gave him my sample bottle!  He uses it a couple of times a day, and is often to be found happily moisturising himself and sneakily sniffing at himself when he thinks no one is looking ...

So, girls, if you want men flocking around you grab yourself a bottle of this stuff.  You might think you smell like your local Thai restaurant, but the boys will LOVE you ...

Friday 11 June 2010

Ellis Faas: Ellis Eyes Lights Eyeshadows.

My birthday treat to myself was a trip to Liberty to have a look around the Le Metier de Beaute counter, and play with the Ellis Faas eyeshadows. I love me some Ellis Faas, and I was delighted when I discovered that she's recently introduced a new range of shadows to go alongside her Milky and Creamy shadows (you can see my post about those here).  Most people know that the Ellis Faas range is based on shades found in the human body, but the shades in the new "Ellis Eyes Lights" range are metallics and duochromes, and were inspired by silver shimmers. They're beautiful, and they had my name written all over them:

How could I resist? Yes, yes, my name is Louise, but most people call me Luce - only my mum and my boss really call me Louise!  I bought two.  I had to. Shades E304 - a shimmering metallic lilac and E305, a reddish-brown with a beautiful green duochrome.  Here's the swatches:

See how the colours change depending on the angle? Simply gorgeous.  Housed in the signature Ellis Faas bullet applicators, these have a brush tip for an easy application.  The swatches above have been applied quite heavily to show them in their full glory.

Applied more sheerly to the eye, here's how the brown E305 looks:

I've added a touch of a darker brown in the crease, and along the upper lash area, but this is just one coat that I've sheered out a little with my fingertips towards the socket line.  The green flash is far more visible in the flesh.  The shadows do dry quickly so you have work quite quickly, but they are long lasting, and hard wearing, and will last a full work day without wearing off.

This is how the shadows look in the full context of my face:

Do you own any Ellis Faas?

Birthday Giveaway Winner!

Yes, I know the announcement is a day late, I do hope you'll all forgive me!  I did contact the winner yesterday though, so at least I managed to make someone else's day a little happier! Our lucky winner has elected to remain anonymous, but this was her winning entry:

Ten things that make me happy:

1. My husband - sickening but true. He also makes me crazy/angry/laugh/despair/throw things/bemused/proud
2. My friends - they are great. All of them. I'm not one of those people with masses of friends, but the ones I have are the best kind. When life goes wrong they bring wine and sarcasm and make it all better.
3. My cats - who can fail to be made happy by a cat that randomly bites you and uses people as trampolines, and and a cat that is so dumb that to list the ways in which she brings delight would take too long?
4. Baths - deep, hot, and the bubblier the better. I like a Lush bubble bath bar, or my REN rose otto oil - if only that made bubbles
5. My NEOM organic candles - one of the best things Get Lippie ever promoted to me
6. My nephews - especially when singing songs about poo. #Hey poo, where are you, I want to see you in the loo#.
7. Brownies from Borough Market. Nom nom nom
8. Good hair days.
9. Cakewrecks. I cannot read it without collapsing into laughter. The carrot riding babies! The cupcake cakes!
10. Lazy days on the sofa with old films and endless cups of tea. Aimlessly flipping through the channels when bored and miserable and suddenly finding a film you love is on. I did this the other week and found Calamity Jane in the middle of singing about the Windy City. Love it.
Bonus 11: Champagne! Cocktails!

These are what make me happy, and I am glad they exist.
The winner was picked in as scientific manner as I could manage, I shortlisted MY favourite entries and asked several other people which one they preferred.  This one was the favourite.  Our lucky winner has selected Chanel Rouge Coco in Mademoiselle as her preferred shade, and a gift voucher for this, alongside Chanel Particuliere, and Guerlain Khol in Oriental Metal has already been despatched, alongside a couple of other lovely goodies that I couldn't resist sneaking into the bag!
I had over 100 entries to this givewaway, and it's been an utter delight to have run it.  Thank you so much to every single person who took the time to enter, if I had something to give each one of you, I would. You're an amazing bunch of people, and you shared some amazing stories with me, I'll do a post soon highlighting just how wonderful my readers are.
Thank you so much.

Thursday 10 June 2010

Quick Birthday FOtD

Excuse the stupid look on my face, currently I'm *bemused* by Argos' customer service, but thought you might like a sneaky peek at the makeup I'm wearing, and my new hairdo!

Once again I'm wearing the Estee Lauder/Tom Pecheux Blue Dahlia palette on my eyes (taupe as a colour wash, tiny amount of black smudged in the crease, tightlined with teal, and lined with the smoky blue), Le Metier de Beaute Anamorphic mascara in Aubergine, no blush, and Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess lipgloss in Wild Orchid.

I had my hair done with some (very) subtle highlights yesterday, and got a LOT more layers cut in courtesy of Declan and Tracey at the Andrew Barton salon yesterday, they are seriously amazingly talented, and, I have to say that it has been the best, friendliest, most professional salon experience I have had this year! A full review of the salon will follow next week...

Right, I'm off to hunt down the peeps at Argos and throw tiny pens at them...

Wednesday 9 June 2010

Last Call!

Time is running out on my giveaway - it ends at midnight (GMT) tonight!  The rules are very simple, and I'd love to hear from you.  Just click this link to find out how to win Chanel Particuliere nail varnish, Guerlain Oriental Metal eyeliner, and your choice of Chanel Rouge Coco lipstick ...

Review - Skin.NY Skincare

Remember this post? I had a little rant about the Utter Drivel that was written on the boxes, then said I'd be trying the creams out for six weeks, so I could see if they would turn me into Ava Gardner overnight.  Well, 28 nights, but you catch my drift ...

Well, I signed up to try them for six weeks, but I am here to announce that I failed. I'm sorry.  I tried, I really did, but I only lasted two weeks. 

The box warns that you might feel a mild tingling sensation when you use it, I never had that, but what I did get as a result of using the cream was worse.  Much worse.  After about ten days, (in which I really did think my skin was softer as a result of using it, even though there were no visible differences), I found my skin was actually getting worse. Greasy, patchy, red, coarse - seriously, my chin and forehead were resembling sandpaper - and my pores (which according to the bumpf should have been refining themselves) were gaping.  And gopping, but never mind. I've also noticed milia under the skin around my eyes, which I've never had before, and it's been quite distressing.

It's possible that I was having some sort of reaction to the cream, so I stopped using it, as there was a risk that I could permanently damage my skin if I kept it in my routine, and no skin care trial is worth that. So, I'm sorry, lovely readers, I stopped using a cream before my self-imposed time-scale was up. I'm very disappointed with myself!  I've gone back to some tried and tested products (including Mir, Pai and Nude) and I've been treating myself with some Clarins as prescribed by the amazing Caroline over at Beautymouth (do you read her yet?  If not, you really, really should, there's nothing she doesn't know about skin, and she's sharing her knowledge with you, so go read her!) and that seems to be helping with the greasiness and the pores, and Avene water spray (as recommended by BritishBeautyBlogger) is helping with the redness. It's the first time in a long time that my skin has reacted in such a way to a cream, but I've been reminded that my skin is pretty sensitive, I guess. It's calmer now, but it's going to be a while before I introduce any new products.

So, er ... yeah. It didn't work for me, but that doesn't mean it won't work for you.  I think, in all honesty, that it was just a bit too rich for my skin - which in a way is good news!  I don't need radical cosmetic intervention! - Will you try? And what symptoms would make you stop using a product?

Tuesday 8 June 2010

All for Eve Launch Sophy Robson Nail Varnish on June 15th

Yeah, I talk about All for Eve a lot.  It's a cause that's close to my heart, and because of that I'm not going to make any apology for mentioning them yet again!

This is just a quick post to let you know that the nail varnish created by Sophy Robson for the charity goes on sale via the All For Eve website on June 15th.  A gorgeous, classic red - perfectly complementing the Daniel Sandler lipstick that was released recently - it's a fine addition to any nail wardrobe.

Sophy Robson has painted the nails of (amongst others) Yasmin le Bon, Kate Moss, Claudia Schiffer and Natalie Portman.  She's also taken the mickey out of yours truly once or twice (never offered to do my nails though, I notice!), and she created this shade as it symbolises a "strong, stylish woman".

This is is how it looks on my alien-blue-fleshed fingers, but I think it will work on many skin-tones.  It's a lovely shade, averagely long-lasting (I found it a bit chippy after two days, but that's a common problem with a lot of reds, but I suspect a rushed application was also slightly to blame), and with a jelly-finish.  The picture shows two coats with no base, and a Chanel topcoat.

Buy it, wear it, love it. But just make sure you buy it.  And, if you haven't had a gynaecological checkup recently, book one, your ladygarden will love you for it.

Monday 7 June 2010

The Art of Shaving Lavender Carry On Kit

No, I haven't gone entirely mad, but this is just a little heads up to let you know that MrLippie has made his "official" blogging debut over on Ape to Gentleman today!  Please go show him some love.  Er ... you know what I mean, comment on his post. Yes, that's what I meant. He's got a girlfriend, y'know, don't make her jealous, she's a right pain in the bum.

Pedicures - Heaven or Hell?

Feet freak me out.  It's a sad fact, but true, and they've always given me the willies (so to speak).  I can deal with the fact that I have feet, but, well, just don't talk to me about them, don't show me pictures of them, and don't, whatever you do, touch my feet unexpectedly.  More than once, when my mum was training to be a reflexologist and using me as a guinea pig, she got a swift (accidental!) kick in the head after a ticklish manoeuvre.  She's never really forgiven me.

All of this probably makes me the worst person in the world to attempt to review a pedicure, but hey, I'll give it a go! I was invited along to experience a Himalayan Signature Pedicure by Pinks Boutique recently, so I went along to their outpost at the Aurora spa in the Park Plaza Hotel in Waterloo last Friday to see how they coped with a terrified blogger ...

First impressions were that the spa is tiny, but very clean, and the staff were all very welcoming.  Nicole, my therapist for the day, had been made thoroughly aware of my little ... er ... problem before I arrived, and she took it magnificently in her stride (see what I did there?  I crack myself up sometimes, I really do.  Ok, I'll stop it now), and made sure that I was feeling comfortable at all times throughout the procedure.  At Aurora, they have a bespoke pedicure room which is liberally strewn with cushions and magazines, which is ideal for it's purpose (pictured left).  As I was having the signature pedicure, which involves a leg massage, I was in the more traditional spa room which was clean, smelled delicious, and had beautifully ironed sheets on the bed.

Starting with tea and cupcakes  - always a good way to set my mind at ease, at least - we started with removing the old polish, then went onto a trim and file (always the worst part of any pedicure for me), your cuticles are oiled, then your feet are soaked in warm water which is liberally filled with Himalayan salts and essential oils.  Once soaked, your cuticles are pushed back and then your feet are massaged with a salt scrub to remove the hard skin. This is where we discovered that my feet are exceptionally ticklish, and there was, I'm afraid, a bit of flinching - sorry Nicole!  A file was also necessary on my scaly heels, alas!   Feet are soaked again to remove the oils, and then it's onto the massage part of the pedicure.

Two words for this - utter bliss.  My feet and calves were given a thorough massage with glorious-smelling oils, and no flinching!  I absolutely loved it.  Even the bit where she was wiggling my toes ... we finished off by painting my toenails with OPI's India Mood For Love to match my pink patent Birkenstocks (yes, I did buy them, and I LOVE them, so there), and we were done.  My toes were looking beautiful, all the hard skin I'd carefully spent the winter storing up on my heels was finally dealt with, and I felt rested and refreshed rather than faintly sweaty, slightly stressed and somewhat resentfully twitchy as I tend to after other, rather more medical (and functional) pedicures.

If you're nervous about feet - and I suspect many people are, after I tweeted about the subject recently - then I can't recommend the Pinks Boutique Himalayan Signature Pedicure highly enough, the products are organic (the varnishes aren't, but then, there aren't any organic varnishes on the market, so it's not a black mark in my book), the therapists are highly trained, and the staff at the Aurora, Park Plaza will go all-out to accommodate mad phobias. And mad clients, but we'll gloss over that, shall we?

The signature pedicure costs £65 for a 75 minute pedicure, but there is a shorter version which costs £45 for 45 minutes.

The Fine Print: Pedicure was provided for free,  in order to help a me deal with a phobia that I'd admitted to on Twitter.  I'm not cured, but I thought I'd blog about it anyway. ;)


Sunday 6 June 2010

Beauty Blog Link Love

Over at theNotice, Rae has been bitten stung by the Misikko bug -- and she is not pleased!

Betty Girl Makeup is back, and continuing on with her series on contouring!

Vex in the City shares her delight at discovering the wonders of Mehron's new Celebré HD-Pro foundation.

Lisamarie from Beauty Crazed checks out the multitude of choices in lash enhancers.

Louise pens a love letter to a BLUE eyeshadow, and is now trying to deal with her embarrassment.

Mz. More from The Glamorous Gleam tells you all about her experience with the Zoya Nail Polish Exchange, and shows off her new goodies!

Does your significant other complain about "too girly" shower gel scents? Want a happy medium? Look no further and discover what shower gel Hellcandy and her bf are raving about!

Jeweled Thumb shares how she spot cleans her brushes, and reviews 6 cleansers to help you find the best one for you!

Hot Beauty Health shares the top beach beauty buys for summer 2010!

Krasey Beauty meets Dany Sanz, the artist, legend, and creator of Make Up For Ever.

Spiced Beauty shows you that you can look fab in red lipstick... even if it just costs a dollar!

There's a new natural cosmetics line on the block! Lipglossiping casts her eye over Bourjois' little sister, Une.

Jolie Laide Girl is glowing with Make Up Forever's HD Blushes.

Learn how to get 'Perfect Skin' with the help of makeup artist Jon Hennessy at Makeup by Kim Porter.

Phyrra shows you the newest collection from Aromaleigh, Victoria’s Revenge. If you like steampunk, you’ll love this collection!


Find out what Audrey Dao is giving away for June's Reader of the Month Giveaway!

Cindy from Prime Beauty is a Stila IT girl and you can be too, with her awesome Stila giveaway!

Friday 4 June 2010

When accidents happen - YSL Summer Solaris Collection

Sigh.  I took the pictures for the FotD for this a couple of weeks ago, and I was just digging through the promo pictures (which I hadn't seen in several months!) to show you the range in full when I noticed this:

My FotD:

YSL Promo:

Notice anything? I'd even stolen the hairdo ...

Blue eyeshadow.  It makes me crazy.   Now, would you like swatches? It's a lovely collection - if you ignore the glitter.  YSL and I are going to have a chat about the glitter...

The Fine Print: YSL promo pic provided by PR, my face is entirely my own work.  And some genetics, but let's gloss over that, shall we?  As I mentioned earlier in the week, I'm as creative as a doorknob, and now I'm a plagiarist too.  I give up.

Thursday 3 June 2010

Review Clarins Instant Smooth Compact Highlighter.

Oh, it pains me to write this one, really it does. I bought, and reviewed most of the Clarins Instant Sunlight summer collection a couple of months ago, but I've been hanging back from covering this one, as I wasn't sure what to say about it.  Then I scratched my head and had a really good think about what I wanted to say, and this is what sprang to mind:

It's rubbish.

I did a series on highlighters recently too, and this one is notable for it's absence.  You know why?

It's rubbish.

Clarins promise:

Its melting, silky and non-oily compact cream texture smoothes and evens the skin while giving an instant healthy-glow effect. Optically reduces fine lines and wrinkles and smoothes skin. Moisturizing and nourishing, ensures skin looks fresh and comfortable. 

Well, one part of that is certainly right.  It's definitely a cream.  AND it's in a compact.  Sadly, this "highlighter" is invisible on the skin. I tried to swatch it.  Man, how I tried!  No joy.   I applied it on my cheeks, my browbone, my hands, my cupid's bow.  Seriously, anywhere you'd think of applying a highlighter, I applied this.  And how many photos did it show up in?  None.  Mind, I couldn't see it in the mirror either, so I don't know what I was expecting.

I've worn it in daylight, artificial light, candle light, fluorescent light, and it's invisible.  I've applied it with the sponge provided (useless, stained the sponge, none on my face), used a brush (nothing on my skin, but the stickiness of the product ensured that it pulled a few bristles from the brush out, so now I have a hairy highlighter), and my fingers.  Nothing works! Now, I'm all for the natural-look (you might have noticed) but I don't really want to pay £23.50 for invisible makeup again.  A case of The Emperor's New Highlighter?  Has anyone else tried this and had success with it?

It's a shame, as I normally really like Clarins products (except Beauty Flash Balm, which I've never understood the fuss about), and I'm feeling a bit guilty that this is the only product I've ever featured on here that I couldn't find a good thing to say about.  Shame on me.  It's a nice compact, shame about the contents.  There, that's the best I could do.  Sorry, Clarins!

The Fine Print.  I bought this, and it's probably the only thing I've bought in about five years where I really wish I could get a refund from the manufacturer, still, keeps the economy afloat and all that, eh?

Wednesday 2 June 2010

Birthday Giveaway Reminder!

Guerlain Oriental Metal, Chanel Particuliere, PLUS a Chanel Rouge Coco (you pick the shade!) are what you can win in my birthday giveaway/competition.  This is just a little reminder post, as the giveaway closes next week (midnight on Wednesday 9th June), prior to my giving away the goodies on my actual birthday on June 10th.

Click here to be taken to the post with the entry requirements

I want to say a MASSIVE thank you for the astonishing number of amazing, wonderful, heartwarming, funny, and occasionally tear-jerking entries that I've received so far, there have been so many more than I ever expected and every single one of them has made me smile! You're an amazing bunch of people, thank you so much for sharing your stories with me.  I'll be printing up some excerpts from some of them when I announce the winner on Thursday of next week.

So, if you haven't entered yet - and remember, you don't have to be a follower to take part in this one, and it is open internationally - please do take a look at the original giveaway post, and find out how to take part.

Tuesday 1 June 2010

Estee Lauder - Blue Dahlia Collection

Hold on to your hats people, for I have fallen in love with an eyeshadow.  And it's BLUE ...

I was saying in one of my rambles on Zuneta recently that I much prefer the autumn/winter collections from the major cosmetic houses than the summer ones, and this a/w collection - the first widely available one from new Lauder creative director Tom Pecheux - is a beauty.  I don't mind admitting that Lauder are - for me - doing some of the most interesting collections of the major beauty houses at the moment, Michael Kors was a total winner, and Bronze Goddess is probably my most favourite of all the summer collections I've seen.

I was invited recently to take a look at the new Pure Colours collection which is shortly to be re-launched in new packaging complete with 24 new eyeshadow shades and 24 new lipglosses.  The new formulation is great, long-lasting shadows and some lovely glosses (though I do wish they had a brush instead of a rather stiff and hard to use does-foot applicator), but it was the capsule limited edition Blue Dahlia collection (above) that caught my eye ...

Here's the palette itself:

There's a teal, taupe, smoky blue, a white with an iridescent teal shimmer, and a black for defining.  Take a look at a close up of that white:

It's gorgeous.  It swatches quite sheerly, but with a teal-ish glimmer, it's very good mixed with the other shades in the palette, or patted over the top for a hint of sparkle.

I think the palette - despite my allergy to blues - is really very versatile, and I've created a couple of looks from it already.  Ha, Ha! Created looks - I hate that phrase, I'm about as creative as the average doorknob - what I actually mean is that I've done my makeup in a couple of (slightly) different ways with it already:

First off, a smoky eyed look:

I used the lighter teal shade in the inner corner, with the smoky blue on the outside, then blended the taupe into the crease, I used the black as a liner on the upper lid, with the smoky blue as a liner on the bottom, I then finished it off with a spot of Guerlain Kohl in Noir on the waterline.  Here's a (slightly fuzzy, sorry!) close

I didn't use any base with these shadows, I wanted to see how they lasted (something I always do the first time I wear new shadows), and this is how they looked after ten hours wear:

Yes, the colour has faded somewhat, but the creasing is minimal, and it's still quite wearable.

For a simpler look (I can't, in all honesty, usually be bothered using more than two shades of eyeshadow on a daily basis), I used the taupe all over the mobile lid into the crease, then blended some of the teal into the crease and the outer eyelid:

I've also been using the teal for tightlining, alongside the taupe as a neutral shade, but I forgot to take photos of that one ...

The new pure colour shades will be available from July, and the limited edition Blue Dahlia collections (there's a lavender/lilac version too, which I think I may have to splash out on) will debut in House of Fraser at the same time.  Will you be indulging?  What's your opinion on blue eyeshadow?

The Fine Print: Palette was provided as part of a PR event, opinions are - as usual - as credible as you think opinions on PR-provided products possibly can be.  However, I've never had a good word to say about about any blue cosmetic ever, so he fact that I've used this every day since it arrived should speak volumes. That, or I've suddenly gone colourblind/mad/senile.
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