Beauty Without Fuss

Tuesday 31 August 2010

My Current Skin Care Routine

I've tried a lot of skincare this year - and I'll bring you some reviews of some of those brands soon, but I thought it would be nice to talk about what I'm using at the moment, as I'm really happy with it, and my skin is about as good as it's been in the last few years, so I thought people might like to know about it!

First of all, the Clarisonic.  I swear, this has been the single biggest difference I've made to my skin this year.  I, like many people, initially thought it was a bit of a gimmick, after all, it's essentially a giant toothbrush for your face!  But the difference it's made to my skin is amazing.  It's dealt with my troublesome forehead dry patch that I've been plagued with for years, and I've been able to use less product, and need to rely less on heavy foundations as a result.  Truly, the Clarisonic is a habit-changer, and I'm glad it's appeared in my life.  I use mine twice a day, and it's one of those products that you can really tell the difference if you've skipped a day.

A couple of months ago, I bought a collection of Alpha H products from QVC (it contains cleanser, moisturiser, eye cream, liquid gold and a mask - it's the five piece smoothing collection on this page here) and these have formed the basis of my routine ever since.  In particular, I'm a big fan of the balancing cleanser and the Liquid Gold itself.

In the morning, I use the Balancing Cleanser - alongside the Clarisonic, and I find it cooling and refreshing on my skin. I'm not, ordinarily, a fan of cream cleansers, but this doesn't leave any residue, and leaves my skin feeling clean and smooth.  There's no real scent to it, and I've had no breakouts whatsoever since I bought it. I have a massive 200ml tube which has lasted me two months so far and I estimate I'm about half way down it so far. However, I do not double cleanse, I find that on my (sensitive, and temperamental) skin, double cleansing is just a recipe for dryness and redness, personally.

I follow this with the Alpha H Age Delay Lip and Eye cream, and then I've been following it with Murad Active Radiance serum, which provides a massive vitamin C boost for the skin, and helps repair sun damage.  I like that is absorbs quickly, and it gives my skin a little tingle in the mornings when I use it.  I follow that with either Murad Sheer Lustre Day Moisture (SPF 15), if I'm planning to wear foundation that day, it's a nice, very light lotion that leaves my skin with a nice sheeny glow and provides a great base for some of the foundations I've been trialling recently. There's a golden sheen to it in the tube, which just adds a little radiance to my skin, and I like it a great deal.

If it's a day where I just want a tinted moisturiser, then I'll break out my tried and trusted Bobbi Brown Tinted Moisturising Balm in Light-to-medium. I love this product, and have been using it for at least five years now, it's pigmented enough to even out your skintone, but it's also, let's face it, a damn fine moisturiser. It's also one of the nicest smelling cosmetic products I own, I love the stuff, and this must be my fifth or even sixth jar now, it's a summer staple.

In the evenings, I once again cleanse with the Balancing Cleanser (or, if it's an OTT makeup day, I use Nude Cleansing Oil), again with the eyecream, and then follow with the  Alpha H Liquid Gold.  Initially, I thought this was a toner, but it's actually a glycolic acid-based treatment that gently helps to resurface your skin overnight.  I love this stuff, it's one of very few products where you can actually see the difference in your skin the morning after.  Your skin will just glow, and you'll look like you had at least ten hours sleep.  My only issue with this product is that you have to apply it to cotton wool, and it turns out that I really don't like applying things with cotton wool.  Yes, I'm a bit odd.  It's fine, I'm used to it.

It's not really recommended that you use Liquid Gold every night (you'll resurface yourself into oblivion if you do!) so on aternate nights, I use the Rejuvenating Cream as a night treatment.  Meant for daily use on mature skins, this is a little too rich for me to use all the time, but I find every other night as a boost to the Liquid Gold, it's perfect as a night cream.

This has been a very long post for what is actually a pretty simple routine!  I'm currently swapping in a couple of new products (changing the night cream, and the serum, basically), for review purposes but this is what I've been using for the last couple of months, and I've loved it.  What's your current routine, and what wonder products have you found and enjoyed recently?

The Fine Print: Some of the products mentioned in this post were provided by PR for review purposes.  Others I bought.  It doesn't matter which is which.  I like what I like, and it matters not in the slightest under those circumstances how I came by the product.  So there, how's about them apples?

Friday 27 August 2010

Review - Guerlain Lingerie de Peau Foundation

My quest for a Holy Grail foundation goes on, this time around I'm trying Guerlain's Lingerie de Peau, which is their latest release, and it was released a couple of weeks ago. After a while swatching in-store, I settled on shade no2, Beige Clair, which is a slightly more pink-based shade than I'd ordinarily wear, but the lighting in the shop make picking colours way more difficult than it should be.

This is what Guerlain have to say about it:

"Silk and linen weave themselves into a second skin

Selected from among the most luxurious textile fibres, silk and linen combine their complementary qualities, weaving an imperceptible veil of perfection on the surface of the skin in a voluptuous sensation of comfort and drapes the complexion in a silky radiance that captures an reflects the light.  Ultra-mattifying powders and pigments are woven into the linen to help refine the texture of the skin and give it a velvety softness.  On the skin itself nothing is visible except the natural appearance of a perfect complexion."

Housed in a handsome glass bottle, with a monogrammed lid, the bottle has a proper pump to help you get it out. It's a foundation that is prone to separating in the bottle, so it really needs a good shake up before you use it.

Here you can see that I didn't shake it quite enough before I pumped it onto my hand, I generally find that one full pump is just about the right amount for my face and onto my neck (for blending purposes).  It's a very light, very liquid-y foundation, which spreads extremely easily on the skin, it has great slip.

This shows the partially blended foundation, as you can see, a little amount of this goes a very long way.  It blends very easily, and just needs a tiny hint of powder to set it.  I've been using my Guerlain Meteorites over the top, as I find it's very difficult to over-apply that one.

Once on the skin and set, you get the most delightful finish, sheeny without being too glowy, or even (heaven forfend) "greasy".  It's practically invisible in use, and evens out your skintone wonderfully.  I adore the finish, not too matte, not too shiny, it's a really lovely foundation.

That said, it's lasting power is merely average, I do find that it really needs either a good re-powdering around 3pm (I tend to apply around 6.30, 7am, though, which is actually around 8 hours wear) or a little reapplication.

This is a definite re-buy for me, I like it a great deal more than my Chanel Pro-Lumiere, as it feels a lot lighter on the skin, and doesn't appear to oxidise very much - if at all.

What's been a great foundation find for you recently?

The Fine Print: I bought this.  I was actually looking for the new Guerlain palettes, but they're not available till the first week of September, dammit!

Thursday 26 August 2010

Summer perfumes: Hermes Eau d'Orange Verte vs Guerlain Herba Fresca

I mentioned in a recent perfume review that I go a little bit crazy for minty perfumes and colognes and the two I'm talking about this week are two of my all-time favourite summer scents.

First off, Hermes Eau d'Orange Verte, which is a unisex cologne.  I find this is quite citrussy on it's opening (that'll be the orange in the name, I expect, I'm clever that way), and it smells a little like you've gone a bit mad with your other halfs' aftershave for a few minutes - not that I mind that too much - in the mid point it smells a little like Imperial Leather, sort of soapy, clean and warm, a little musky but not too much, and then once it's dried down completely, you get a mossy sort of minty smell which I find totally intoxicating.  Sadly this one doesn't last all that long, the top notes last minutes at most and the middle disappears irritatingly fast, and you'll find that you will have to go hunting on your skin for the dry-down (it sticks very close to your skin), but it's worth it.  Also, I find that the irritating lightness is also part of it's charm, as it means you can reapply quite regularly, without worrying that the people around you are going to need a gas mask.

But, my all-time favourite summer-minty fragrance of all-time is Guerlain's Herba Fresca, which is part of their "Aqua Allegoria" range of scents inspired by nature.

It's decidedly green, and smells of fresh cut grass, hay and MINT on first spray, it's cooling and delicious, and very, very, very light.  I spray it everywhere (and I mean everywhere, arms, legs, chest, back) and then spend the day sniffing delightedly at myself.  It's clean and fresh and very different to anything else I own, which is probably why I like it so much.  Occasionally, if I want it to last longer, I will layer it over Korres Spearmint Shower Gel and Body Lotion, which are an excellent companion to this scent.  This is also the only perfume I own that MrLippie comments on spontaneously, saying how wonderful it smells.  Of course, he thinks it smells of orange, but hey, that's men for you, right?

What are your favourite summer fragrances, and what do you think of mint as a perfume ingredient?

Wednesday 25 August 2010

Lipstick Queen - Jean Queen.

I'm a sucker. No, really, sometimes I am.  I'm always on the look out for great neutrals and when I spotted these in SpaceNK (gah!) I had to indulge.  Poppy King's latest addition to the Lipstick Queen line is a lipstick and a gloss designed to go perfectly with jeans.

Yes, jeans.  Now, I love my jeans, don't get me wrong, but one thought in all the years I've been wearing them that's never ever occurred to me is "Does my lipstick go with my denim?".  Maybe I'm a little odd, but I tend to match my makeup to my mood rather than my outfit (and yes, it doesn't always work, thank you) but I was intrigued so bought both anyway.

Poppy has this to say about them:

"After 20 years of designing lip colors, I have often been asked what is the perfect shade to wear with jeans.  Voila!
 Jean Queen lights up your jeans and your whole face at the same time.  This special shade offsets jeans perfectly for day or evening and suits all skin tones, ages, jean cuts and colours.
See your jeans go from drab to fab with one stroke of Jean Queen! JEANIUS!"

Seriously, who are these people begging to have their jeans "lit up" by their lipstick?

Still, here at Get Lippie, ours is not to reason why (much), and I'll just get on with showing you the goods.

There's a lipstick and a gloss, both in a shade of mauve-y pink.  I have to say that I HATE the packaging of the lipgloss, it's a squeeze-tube, and it's very, very, very easy to squeeze too much out. Because the plastic is quite stiff, you have to squeeze it quite hard, and I fear accidentally matching my eyes and hair to my jeans too.

I've swatched the lipstick on the left there and the gloss on the right.  The lipstick is actually a fair bit brighter than the gloss, and for that reason, it's a little less neutral once it's on your lips than the gloss is. The lipstick is Poppy's usual sheeny style, which I find sits "on" the lips a little rather than melds with them, but it's a very pretty shade, all the same.  I find that the gloss is better for smokey eyed looks, and the lipstick is better for a more neutral eye look.

Anyway, here's me looking goofy (complete with Croydon facelift hairdo) so you can see how it looks on my mush:

(eyes are Burberry Rosewod and Chanel Cassis Liner, Face is Guerlain Lingerie de Peau, and blush is ... er ... something).  So, do my jeans look good in this?  I am wearing them, I promise.

Overall, I like the shade of both of these, neutral without being too nude, and they'll suit a variety of makeup looks ... but light up your jeans?  I dunno.  What do you think?

Oh, and Poppy, a word about the packaging:

Is that really necessary?

Tuesday 24 August 2010

Dior Autumn 2010 Eyeshadow Quint - Incognito

I haven't really decided what this week's theme is going to be, so prepare for a week of utter randomness!  Today I'm having a look at Dior's latest eyeshadow quint palette in Incognito, which was released very recently:

I'll be honest, I don't own a huge amount of Dior shadows (lip products, oh yes, tonnes of them!) but I loved the slightly cool neutrals in this palette, and the silvery taupe in the bottom right there really called out to me.

This is how they swatch:

The shades all swatch on the sheer side (swatched once with fingers, no base), and, to be honest, I find the matte shades (the two at the top) a little powdery and somewhat chalky.  But there's no doubting the pigmentation of the bottom two!

Another shot of the swatches from a slightly different angle to show the finishes:

I'll be honest, I was expecting wonderful things from this palette (I was in a bit of a rush when I bought it, and didn't have a chance to swatch in store), and I'm a little disappointed in how "meh" it appears on the skin like this.  I've read some real raves about Dior Quints in the past, and I was excited about picking this one up.  I'm hoping I'll fall more in love with it once I've used it properly on my eyes.

What do you think of Dior shadows?  Have you tried any?

Monday 23 August 2010

Perfect Purple? Daniel Sandler Sheer Satin Eyeshadow 575

Specifically for OxfordJasmine, this one ...  I know a few people are on the lookout for the perfect "Cadbury" purple eyeshadow, and I think this one is definitely a contender!  Daniel Sandler himself picked this one out for me recently (more about that next week) after I confessed my love of purple eyeshadow to him.  I've long been after a proper "bright" purple that isn't too blue, or too "dusty", and this one has been love at first sight.

Purples are notoriously difficult to photograph, and I'm not entirely happy with how these shades appear here, but I shall do my best.

Don't be fooled by the adjective "sheer" in the name of this shadow, it's vibrant and well-pigmented, and very smooth to apply. Whilst not as buttery-smooth as, say, Rouge Bunny Rouge, it's plenty soft, and very blendable.

The top swatch there is blended over Urban Decay Primer Potion, and the bottom is over bare skin.  As you can see, putting this on over a primer brings out the hidden shimmer in this shadow, which makes it appear lighter on the skin.  The photo has washed out the shade of this shadow a little, it's very definitely purple, and not at all the lilac-y shade you're seeing here.

Daniel Sandler cosmetics are available online from LookFantastic (but a slightly limited range) and Your True Colours (which has a full range) and you can see the entire line in the flesh at Urban Retreat on the 5th floor at Harrods. The shadows cost £10.

The Fine Print: No PRs harmed in the making of this post.  Nor did any money change hands. 'twas a present.  Kinda.  Long story, look out for a longer post explaining soon.

Sunday 22 August 2010

D&G Fall Out with Selfridges

Sooooo ... I was amused (sorry, but I was) to read in the Telegraph yesterday that D&G have had a "giant falling out" with Selfridges over shoes, and from next spring will be pulling out of their stores entirely.

For us beauty lovers, this gives us a tiny predicament, as it means that the D&G makeup line (which is actually very good) will be only available from Harrods from that point.  Better hope the customer service picks up before then, eh?

What do you think, storm in a teacup, or were Selfridges right to ... er ... put their foot down?

Friday 20 August 2010

Chanel Taupe Grise & Khaki Vert Applied

For all those complaining (ha ha!) that I've not done any FotDs for a while, here's two for the price of one:

I wanted to show you the difference between the two shades, apologies for the differences in lighting conditions!  On the left there is Taupe Grise, and on the right is Khaki Vert.  Both are applied over a Trish McEvoy eyeshadow base, and I've used Guerlain Lingerie De Peau foundation - review to follow next week!  Lipstick in both pics is Edward Bess Secret Desire, and the picture on the left is slightly more colour-accurate for that.

I hate both of these pictures, but on the plus side, I think I've figured out which is my best side.

Fine Print of the week (for those who were asking, who knew disclaimers could get fan mail?): I bought everything you've seen from Chanel this week. Unless you're MrLippie, in which case, it was a present from the makeup fairies*.
**No responsibility can be taken if Debenhams isn't actually staffed by fairies.***
***Mine isn't either, but the assistant did give me a badge.  Like the ones you used to get from the Dentist, but this one reads "I survived a visit to Westfield today". ****
****Gifts With Purchase really aren't what they used to be, are they?*****
*****I'm done now, please stop reading.

Thursday 19 August 2010

Chanel Autumn Collection - Eyeliners Cassis & Clair

You all Chanel-ed out yet?  Well, I'm not, but this is the last one for a couple of days, I promise! I had seriously promised myself that I'd only been going to get the eyeshadows I showed you yesterday, but when I swatched these, I had to have them too.  (I bought Paradoxal because, well, even I get swept along in the hype sometimes)

The waterproof liner in Cassis is a gorgeous dark purple shade, perfect for green eyes.  It's dark enough to appear black from a distance, but just gives you a tiny pop of purple along the lashes, I love it.  It's very smudgeproof, I had a swatch on my hand for about 8 hours on the day I bought this, and it did not move! It's an automatic propelling pencil (about a third shorter than the Khol, for some reason), but I love that it has a built-in sharpener at the end.

 Clair is a nude skin shade made specifically for use on the waterline, to make your eyes look brighter. It's a traditional khol pencil, that comes complete with a sharpener (as all Chanel pencils do).  It's not as soft as I would have expected, but this isn't, actually, a bad thing.  Some nude liners can be very soft, and this can lead to you applying a little too much which can make you look a little odd ...

It's not too white, which is nice.  Here's how it looks on the waterline:

Can you guess which eye is which?  Would you use a nude liner?

Wednesday 18 August 2010

Krasey Beauty

I love my US blogging friends. I love them a whole bunch.  Amongst the ones I read regularly, I have particular space in my heart for the following:

Elvira and Joeybunny at Pink Sith
Amy at Cafe Makeup
Sabrina at The Beauty Look Book
Paula at Older Girl Beauty
and Gaia at The Non-Blonde

All of them are well worth a read, they've created many a lemming for me, and I adore chatting to them on Twitter too, they're wonderful ladies. 

But, today, none of them are more worth a read than the lovely Adina at Krasey Beauty for I have become her newest contributor! She's an absolute sweetheart, and she's letting me take over a corner of her blog, bless her.  Every couple of weeks, I'm going to be offering a peculiarly - I use the word avisedly - "British" look at the beauty world, and I'd love it if you guys had a look at my first little offering (which has far too many exclamation marks in it, I've already noticed, mmmkay?) and let me know what you think.

So, without further ado, here's the first instalment of "British Beauty with Get Lippie". (also known as The One Where Lippie Makes Some Controversial Remarks About Americans vs The British, Then Puts The Blame On Daniel Sandler And Runs Away). See you there!


Chanel Eyeshadow Singles: 87 Khaki Vert & 88 Taupe Grise

When I was buying Chanel Paradoxal the other day, I was very aware that it was quite low down on my list of "must-haves" from the collection, these two little beauties were the things I was eagerly awaiting, and how happy I am to have them, finally! 

Sadly, the picture has washed both shades out a little.  On the left above is Taupe Grise, which is a gloriously complex shade of ... well ... taupe.  On me, this pulls to the purple side, which I really, really like.  There's a hint of silver in the powder too, meaning it's not flat, but it's also not a total shimmer fest.  It's very flattering and a perfect foil for the cassis eyeliner that's also available in this collection.

Vert Khaki, is a green shade, with hints of gold.  Similar to (but darker than) Mac's Sumptuous Olive, I adore this shadow, it's the very definition of "murk", and I think it goes well with my eyes, which are also a murky green shade.  Here's a very light swatch of both, without primer:

I'm totally looking forward to creating some smokey/bruised shadow looks with these little babies!  They don't look too different here, but I'm hoping the FotD that I have coming up will show off how different the shades are.

I love the autumn collections, it's probably my favourite time of year for makeup, before the cosmetic companies try to convince us that green and red and glitter are the only things you can wear ...

Tuesday 17 August 2010

Chanel Paradoxal Dupe?

 I picked up Jessica's Venus Was Her Name about a month ago, because it appeared so unusual in the bottle!I got it from The Sanctuary, but I'm assured there are other places you can pick it up from.  In the bottle it appears a charcoal shade with tonnes and tonnes and tonnes of purple shimmer.  Sound familiar?  Here's now it looks on the nails:

On the nails, it looks more purple than grey, but when the light hits it, oh my!  Your nails will light up with an amazing "lit from within" glow, that is entirely missing from Chanel Paradoxal.  Please excuse the tipwear in the above pic, btw, it was on it's sixth day of wear by the time I got around to photographing this ...

A bottle comparison of Paradoxal and Venus:

See what I mean about that "lit from within" glow?  Yes, the Chanel appears mouse-y in shade, and the grey is darker in the Jessica, but the Jessica is more of a jelly finish which allows more of the shimmer to shine through.

Which do you prefer?

Monday 16 August 2010

Nail of the Day: Chanel Paradoxal

Yes, you may have seen this on a few blogs already, but if you know me, you know I have a hard time resisting Chanel, and I love my murky shades.  So, when Chanel bring out a range of murky shades, I'm in there.  Totally!  Paradoxal is a grey with purple shimmer, but depending on the angle you get either a purple-grey shade, or a pinkish-purple shade with a grey background.  Compare the above and below pictures:

Because Paradoxal is a creme-finish, once it's on the nail, the shimmer hides somewhat, and you get a grey nail, with just the very tiniest amount of shimmer (sometimes referred to in blogger circles as a "hidden shimmer") that only shows at certain angles and in certain lights.

The pic above is how the shade will appear in most lights - a lightly pinked grey, with just a hint of brown in the base shade.  I like it a lot.  If you shift your fingers around a little though, you can pick up the shimmer a little:

It may help if you enlarge the pic, but there is a definite hint of the shimmer on the little finger and around the outer edges of the ring and index finger.  You have to hunt for it though!

I liked a great deal of the rest of Chanel's autumn range too, much to the salesperson's delight, and I'll be showing you some of that later this week, but tomorrow I'll be showing you a cheaper dupe of Paradoxal, which isn't from Model's Own ...

Have you picked up any of the new Chanel collection, or are you all purpled out?

Thursday 12 August 2010

Review - Halston Woman Amber

This, gentle reader, is the perfume release I've been waiting for.  The fact that I didn't know anything about it until two weeks ago is neither here nor there.

If you've read any of my perfume reviews lately, you'll know that I've been disappointed with all the fruity/woodsy/musky SWEET perfumes I've been sniffing over the last couple of weeks, and have been longing to smell something a little more grown up.  This has been the perfect antidote to perfume generic-itis this summer.

On first sniff, it smells deliciously of aldehydes (those artificial notes that smell of "perfume", instead of specific ingredients, think Chanel No19, but softer and rounder), notifying you from the very start that this is not a perfume for those who like their perfumes to scream of fruit. Or soap.  Allegedly, there is mandarin and redcurrant in the top notes, but I don't get them, there's a slight citrus note under the aldehyde, but it's not as sharp as one would expect. It's dry, rather than sharp, like a Campari, rather than a Martini Rosso.  After it's settled on the skin, and the dry, aldehydic notes have died off a little, it's warm and powdery with a hint of tuberose (there are meant to be rose petals in there, but it's not floral, not really), and, in the final stretch, there are hints of sweet sandalwood and possibly a touch of musk. Sophisticated ... but I'm not sure it's sexy. MrLippie just mumbles about "nice" when I wear it, but I like it a great deal.

It smells, to me, once again, of the seventies (it is very different to, but reminds me unexpectedly of, untitled by Maison Martin Margiela which I reviewed a few months ago), it's an exceptionally feminine perfume without being in anyway girly, flowery, fruity, or sweet, likewise, it doesn't patronise the wearer by trying to be the definition of femininity, for which we should all be truly thankful.

Halston Woman Amber is exclusively available from Harrods and costs from £65.

The Fine Print: Sample arrived unrequested, but very welcome.  You will all please notice that I have not mentioned how the bottle looks like a winky.  Thank you.

Wednesday 11 August 2010

Review Roundup!

Even if I do say it myself, living in Get Lippie headquarters does have some advantages for the poor harrassed girlies who have to put up with some of my less savoury habits.  Recently, I gave my glamorous housemate Kerry (you may remember her from this makeover) a bag of bits and pieces and asked her for her thoughts.  Here's what she came up with:

Anne Semonin Global anti-aging cream

A £130 face cream.  This is exciting stuff!!  When I was generously asked to try this by the gorgeous Ms. Lippie I must admit I wondered what amazing things would happen when this was applied.  Skin like Angelina Jolie surely?!!.  So I set about slapping this on religiously every morning & evening… :o)

The product comes in a very smart silver lidded pot, quite scientific looking but definitely dressing table friendly.  It smells a little unusual for a face cream – sort of milky sweet.  And actually when I first dipped a finger in the pot, the texture reminded me of a lovely smooth vanilla yoghurt, which I found quite pleasant.  I hasten to add though that it doesn’t actually smell like one!!

When I applied it (to freshly washed skin) it felt nice and smooth.  It doesn’t sink in very quickly and after a few moments of massaging it into my skin it started to feel a little tacky and sticky.  I did  briefly worry that it wouldn’t actually sink in well enough and I would be left with a sticky face but after a few seconds more it was absolutely fine.  Although, I would still leave it 5 mins before trying top apply anything over the top.

After 10 mins my face felt very well moisturised and very lovely and plump, and I think this would be great on drier skins.  I am quite willing to believe it would plump up those lines and wrinkles.

However, despite being described as for all skin types, my confused skin (like combination skin types – but, well, more confused), found it a little too heavy and eventually even started to break out.  So, unfortunately, I will not get to find out whether I could have ever had that A-list skin…

One other note.  It doesn’t appear to contain an SPF, which for most people these days, especially those looking for an anti-aging product is a must.  Perhaps you could use it as night cream only.
Orly Nail lacquer - Shade: Lola
I have only good things to say about this gorgeous nail polish!!  I have only had the pleasure of trying this once before, whilst having a manicure at a well known spa, who have unfortunately now developed their own range.  Since then I have found it quite hard to get hold of so this is the first bottle I have owned.  Well actually, I swiped 2 bottles given the opportunity and a couple of cocktails…  but that’s our little secret… ;o)

Firstly, the colour ‘Lola’ is gorgeous.  A bright corally pink.  Coral colours are in fashion apparently if you are in the know about these things… :o)

The polish is great to apply.  This is due to several factors: A good texture with no gloopyness but gives good even coverage, a slim brush which doesn’t pick up too much product and has a nice rounded end to give a nice shape at the base of the nail.  And most of all, I absolutely love it’s rubberised lid which gives brilliant control over the brush and is comfortable to hold (with no cramp from trying to grip the lid too hard).

I applied a base cost, two coats of polish and a top coat.  The first coat gives a good coverage but for a strong colour like this you still definitely need two coats.

The varnish dries quickly and with a fast dry top coat I was good to go (touch dry) in a minute or two (please note this was not scientifically timed…)

I have only applied the polish this afternoon so I can’t report on it’s staying power yet.  I seem to remember that it had chipped by the day after at the spa.  But I was at a spa (swimming pool, sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi… back in the pool… you get my drift).  It was tough (for the nail polish, not for me) so I’m not sure any polish would stand up well in those conditions.

I have my eye on several other colours so please Orly start selling these where I can buy them…

Dirty Works Get set go – mini luxuries

This is a cute little miniatures set containing a 100ml each of body wash, body scrub & body lotion, all in pastel blue and yellow, spotty or stripy bottles, with the obligatory glamorous girl on the bottle.

The whole set smells basically of shea butter.  I’m not a fan of this smell and find it a little sickly, but it’s not overpowering, so if you like that smell it would be fine.

I took the set to the gym with me to try out.

The ‘all of a lather’ body wash is a straightforward shower gel.  It doesn’t lather up particularly well so it doesn’t feel that luxurious.  It also doesn’t feel particularly moisturising.  But I smelt clean & fresh afterwards so I think it did a perfectly good job for a body wash…

The ‘buff your stuff’ body scrub is based in oil (sweet almond oil), which made me nervous as I find oil based scrubs can leave a greasy residue on my skin and leave me feeling like I need another shower.  But actually it washed away quite cleanly.  It exfoliated well, but the sugar is a little scratchy.  Also, all of the sugar had sunk to the bottom of the bottle, so the first few handfuls were just oil.  I had to give it a good shake!

The ‘bare necessity ‘body lotion was my favourite of the set.  It has a nice creamy texture, a light smell and sank in quickly, leaving me able to get dressed straight away without feeling at all greasy.

All in all, it is a cute looking, functional little set in the perfect size bottles for a gym bag or a weekend away.

Melvita Face Cleansing Foam (anti-pollution care) & Eye Contour Gel

The face wash is really a very pleasant product to use.  I have been using it after the gym in the mornings for a few weeks now… 

It is essentially a face wash and needs to be applied to a damp face and then rinsed off with water.

It was a bit of a surprise when it came out as a light foam (it does say that on the bottle, so it shouldn’t have been really!) and then disappeared quite rapidly when I applied it to my face.  I am used to using much thicker feeling face washes.  Especially after the gym, I want something that feels like it washes all the muck and grime away properly.  Once I got used to the texture though, I really enjoyed using it.

The foam smells fresh and herbal and it left my skin feeling clean, but without any hint of dryness or tightness that you can get with a lot of face washes.  And I will certainly keep using it to the end of the bottle.

The eye gel is for bags, shadows and wrinkles.  I am lucky enough not to really suffer from any of these things (apart from the odd laughter line developing in a bad light) so it is difficult to say how much effect the gel had on these.  However, I suspect it is too light to have any meaningful effect on existing wrinkles.

It is a lovely light textured gel, which feels refreshing and lightly moisturising with a very light neutral scent.  It sinks in well with no greasy feeling and can be massaged around the eye for a few seconds before it does to de-puff. (like the magazines tell you :o))

The skin around my eyes did feel slightly tighter after using, so it may well be good for keeping the bags at bay.  And perhaps I will keep using it, just in case it can work a little bit of magic on those crows feet…

Tuesday 10 August 2010

Review Pro Makeup Brushes

I love makeup brushes, I've had some of my favourites for nigh on decades, but it's always good to take a look at some new ones and see if they help with your application.  Personally, I believe that you should spend what you can afford on your brushes - there are good ones at all price points - and, if you look after your brushes, they'll last for years.

I have brushes in my collection that have cost anything from £1.50 to almost £50 (I like to shop around), and when the opportunity came up  to take a look over a range of brushes designed by Kate Lyon - who makes brushes for both Elizabeth Arden and Green People - I had to say yes.  Especially when I discovered that the brushes have been made with affordability in mind - they range in price from £4 to £13! I was sent the selection of brushes you see above,  No 5, 10, 11, 14 and 15. You can see the entire range here

As you can probably make out, these are very long handled brushes, personally - being the cack-handed muppet that I am - I generally prefer a shorter-handed brush, but I was surprised at how well balanced these feel in use.  They meant I had to stand slightly further away from my mirror than usual, but, as these are professional brushes designed for makeup artists, then that wouldn't actually matter all that much.

I'll have a look at the brushes in number order:

5) Shadow Brush: (goat) wide and flat, it's good for packing on shadow all over the mobile lid, it's great for colour washes, particularly if you're using cheaper, slightly less pigmented eyeshadows.  We all have those shadows that we find impossible to get onto a softer brush, and  as goat hair is slightly firmer (coarser) than the traditional sable, this is a good brush for hard shadows.  But, as goat is coarse, some of you might find this a little scratchier-feeling on the skin than a softer brush.  It's also, surprisingly, good at picking up loose shadows with minimal fall-out. Costs £10.

10) Liner Brush: (sable) I'll be honest, I don't like this style of liner brush, I find them too soft, and far too thin for me to be able to do my signature "packed it on like Amy Winehouse with a slightly steadier hand" looks, but this is still a nice brush if you're slightly less cack-handed than am I. Because I mostly tend to use powder as an eyeliner (both on the waterline and on the lid), I prefer a flatter, slightly firmer and straighter-edged brush. Costs £6.

11) Spoolie: (nylon) I looked at this, and wondered just if I was going to get any use out of it whatsoever, but I was pleasantly surprised! I use this for grooming my eyebrows (constantly forgetting to use it before photographing my FotDs, of course), and occasionally brushing out lumpy, clumpy mascara.  The bristles aren't too tightly packed, which means it's very good for de-clumping and doesn't remove anything you've already applied, which is handy! Cost £5.

14) Blush: (goat) I like this brush a lot.  Again, it's a coarser brush than you might be used to previously, but as already discussed, it's great for less pigmented, or harder powders.  I like the angle it's been cut at, as this  means you can use it for both blush and contouring purposes.  The bristles are wide-spread and fluffy, so you don't get a streaky application, it's probably the brush I've used most out of this collection. Cost £13.

14) Shadow: (sable) I'm used to thicker, wider shadow brushes than this, but I find this brush wonderful for applying, and blending out my more heavily pigmented or dark shades of eyeshadow.  Oftentimes when I've been complimented on my blending technique (it does happen!), it's been after I've used this brush. It's very soft and silky feeling on the skin, and lends itself well to more precise application requiring a lot of blending. You can use it as a wide lipbrush too, or for concealer application, very versatile! Cost £6.50.

So there you have it, I think this is a great range of versatile and useful brushes at a really good price point - you can also buy the entire range (as outlined here) for £90, which is an almost unbelievable bargain for brushes of this quality.  Kate also  produces a range of vegan (no animal hair) brushes, which I think is great for those who find animal hair brushes objectionable.

Take a look at the Pro Makeup Brush website here.

The Fine Print: Brushes were sent direct from the owner of the company, no PRs were harmed, or indeed, involved in the creation of this review.  Links in this post are not affiliate links, they're just there for informational purposes, because I'm nice like that, even if I don't wash brushes before I take pics for reviews.

Monday 9 August 2010

Clarins Barocco Winter Collection 2010

I saw this collection on British Beauty blogger last month and thought it was Oh So Pretty! I still don't know when it's released (I'm assuming September-time, but if I get any more information, I'll let you know), and I've been pretty desperate to get my hands on it ever since laying eyes on it!  It is so exquisitely packaged, and the black shadows and red lipstick really spoke out to me.  

Persistence pays off, and I have managed to get my grubby little fingers hands on a couple of pieces from the collection to show you, namely the aforementioned lipstick and the eyeshadow.  Some swatches and initial thoughts coming right up ...  First off, the shadows:

This is a really unusual choice for Clarins, I think, I normally associate them with neutrals and pastels (possibly mistakenly) for some reason. Three baked shadows in black, blackened gilt, and pure gold, alongside the usual disposable sponge-tipped applicator - am I the only person who, on opening a new palette, immediately throws away the sponges? - in a gold case, it's simply beautiful, and I can imagine a whole heap of smokey and dramatic looks I can create with this.

So, how does it swatch?  Well, the answer is, more sheerly than expected.  Picture below shows the shadows without primer (top), and with (bottom):

As you can see, in the top swatch, it's very sheer, and you get just a hint of the shades from the shadows, and, depending on your point of view, this can either be a good or a bad thing.  Personally, I think that with such dramatic shades, it's not actually a bad thing, as it means you can build up the coverage so you can get the intensity you require.  Over primer though (Trish McEvoy's in this case), the colours intensify very nicely, and you can see the greenish-bronze shades peek through in the middle colour.  I love the way the pure-gold shade goes from slightly gritty on bare skin to gorgeously glowing over primer. There's veru little yellow in it, so it doesn't look brassy on the skin, which is great.  Wear is middling to average without primer, and average to good with primer.

Now for the lipstick:

Again, beautifully packaged with the signature baroque swirls of this collection's packaging, the lipstick appears, in the bullet, to be a rather brownish, wine-y sort of colour, but on the skin it appears a lot brighter than expected, and a touch cooler than you might think from the colour in the tube.  I love it.

Apologies for the horrifically out of focus lip shot!  It's a lovely moisturising formula that lasts really well - no ring of doom! - I really like the shade too, it's a perfect Christmassy red, with just enough brown in it to not make me look a little clownish.  It's one of the new Rouge Prodige formulas, and I've had no problems with it, it has a slightly floral scent (in the traditional Clarins style), but I don't find it too overpowering.

I know it's a bit mad to be showing you a winter collection in the middle of August, but I'm just so excited about being on the cusp of red lipstick weather again!

Saturday 7 August 2010

Mr Lippie Reviews: Soap and Glory

He's been at it again, using products then making stuff up about them.  Please check out MrLippie's latest review of Soap & Glory for men at Ape to Gentleman

My favourite bit?: "...Don’t blame me. I just get chained to a keyboard until my random button-pressing makes some kind of sense...."

Thursday 5 August 2010

Perfume Review - Acqua Di Gioia by Giorgio Armani

Said to resemble a mojito, with notes of mint, water jasmine, brown sugar, and primo fiore lemon, this is the latest release from Giorgio Armani perfumes.  It's meant to also have some aquatic notes, and smell very "wet" as a result.

I've seen it described as a "floral aquatic", and many of the reviews I've read describe all the notes as read in the press releases.

I think maybe my nose is broken, because I smell melon (chanterais, maybe, a little honeydew, but definitely no watermelon), I don't get any of the mint, or the lemon, or the jasmine (no flowers at all, in fact), but after a while on the skin, I can smell the sugar.  In fact, after it's rather crisp'n'fruity opening, it's really, really, really sweet on my skin, to the point where I can't stand it any more.  It's a shame really, as on paper this scent sounds like it's really my kind of thing, I adore mint in perfumes - go crazy for it, in fact, as you'll see in a couple of weeks - so I'm terribly upset that this scent, to me, just smells like another generic fruity, woody musk that you can buy by the bucket-load anywhere in the UK.

That said, it'll sell MILLIONS. Armani perfumes are always stupendously popular, and this isn't a bad one, not by a long stretch, it's purely a malfunction of my nose, I think. I do adore the wonderfully tactile bottle though, it's a delight in the hand.

The Fine Print: Samples were acquired for review purposes.  If they weren't, I'd be reviewing something else, so there.

Tuesday 3 August 2010

Tiny Edward Bess Collection

 I own three Edward Bess products, a compact rouge (Island Rose), lipstick (Secret Desire), and eyeshadow (Intimate).  Edward's line recently made it to the UK, and after a while lusting over it on my US friend's blogs, I was delighted to get my sticky fingers on some of the products!

In a slightly different order (because I'm an idiot), you can see Secret Desire which is a soft, peachy nude, Island Rose, which is a gorgeous cool raspberry colour, and Intimate, a murky, sludgy taupe shade.  These products are on the pricey side, it's undeniable, but the quality is also undeniable.  Shades swatch true to pan, they're gorgeously blendable, and scented delectably with wild fig.

I went for slightly cooler shades than I would ordinarily (the Secret Desire was sample I received at a press event), but I'm totally in love with the compact rouge.  I adore the eyeshadow, it's a lovely "goes with anything" shade,  and it works as either a crease or a lid colour.  I'm a big fan of the sludgey shades, and this is a lovely example of a great, but not boring neutral shadow.

As for the compact rouge, you can see it sheers out for wear on the cheeks, and adds a natural and lovely pop of colour - I've had it in my makeup bag every day since it arrived, I've also used it once or twice on my lips, and it's simply divine:

I'm slightly more ambivalent about Secret Desire - it's not a shade I would have picked out for myself - as it's a little too nude for me, what do you think?

It's a beautiful formulation though, moisturising and opaque almost in one stroke.  I'll definitely be seeking out more shades.

I've read criticism that the range isn't exciting, that it isn't packed with colour, that's it's just full of "dull" neutrals.  I say "pshaw!"  Good neutrals that anyone can wear are one of the hardest things for a cosmetic brand to get right, if you ask me, and this brand - whilst muted - is anything but dull.

Embrace your inner taupe-lover, you'll never regret it ...
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