Beauty Without Fuss

Saturday 30 April 2011

Nail of the Day

I tried OPI's Suzi Loves Cowboys from their recent Texas collection, but the plain dark brown creme shade didn't really suit me, so I souped it up a little with a coat of Nfu Oh #61:

And it turned out a lot nicer than anticipated. However, this was two coats of OPI, two coats of Nfu Oh, and two coats of Poshe topcoat, it lasted a day, then started pinging off all over the place!

So, a nice combination, but next time, only one coat each of the OPI and topcoat ....

Thursday 28 April 2011

Haut Totes - How much do I love thee?

Answer: Quite a darn lot, actually.

It's not often I get called a "happy goth" three times in one week, but this bag from Haut Totes has a lot to answer for ... ! I saw London Makeup Girl's El Dia de los Muertos bag about a year ago and fell in love with it a bit - but it took me a little while to order one of my own!  

When I saw the pink skulls though, I knew this was the one I wanted, I love the roses, and the cheery black skulls on the pink background.  Mind, I love practically everything on the Haut Totes Etsy shop, even the stuff with fairies on, which is partially why it took me so long to order, I simply couldn't make up my mind!

To go with the tote bag (which is made from an amazingly strong mesh, covered in the skull-printed fabric, seriously, you could haul around pretty much anything in here without worrying about it ripping), I also ordered a makeup bag:

Which is nice and roomy, and the back is mesh, so I can see at a glance what's in there, plus, I also ordered myself a wrist bag/cellphone holder (you need to buy the strap separately, but it's very cheap), which is astonishingly versatile:

I got the wristbag for those occasions when I can't be bothered with a handbag at all, it fits my iphone very well, and is lightly padded so there's little danger of damaging your phone if you drop it.  Not, of course, that I've ever tested this claim ... {ahem}

My bag makes me smile every time I look at it, and it's had a lot of compliments in its own right, which is about all you can ask from a pink bag covered in skulls, eh?  Haut Totes bags cost around £30, plus shipping from the US (so beware of customs charges), and the turnaround time is around a month, as all items are handmade from scratch by the lovely Melissa once ordered.

I'm taking this one to Portugal with me in June, as I think it'll make a perfect holiday bag, big enough for books, and lotions, and a towel.

The Fine Print: I bought this, and I'll be ordering more from Melissa soon ... Pink Lightning, you will be mine, oh yes ... All pictures in this post replicated by kind permission of Haut Totes - thank you Melissa!

This post originated at: All rights reserved.

Wednesday 27 April 2011

Quick Question

Okay, readers, riddle me this:

If Get Lippie was a lipstick, what colour would she be?

All will be revealed soon ...


Tuesday 26 April 2011

Whoa ... Bodyglide ...

... Bodyglide for yooooooooooouuuuuuu ....

(with apologies to the Bodyform people)
This is the least glamorous product ever featured on a beauty blog! Nonetheless, it's a lifesaver for me, particularly in the summer.

Chafing, ladies and gents, is not sexy.  It's not much fun either, being painful, and in summer it can lead to limited clothing opportunities, owing to the need to dress in a way to minimise rubbing.  For years, I lived in trousers in all weathers simply to avoid my thighs rubbing. In summer, just the thought of wearing a skirt without tights (and thick, black opague tights at that) would make me weep.  Yes, some stores stock what they call "comfort shorts", but that's just an added layer of clothing and kind of defeats the object of wearing a skirt in summer in the first place!

When I was training for a marathon a few years ago (what?  I've done a marathon! And raised nearly £2k for charity whilst I was about it too, stop laughing at the back), I was introduced to Bodyglide by a friend, and I've never been without a tube since.

Essentially a zinc-based balm, it creates a barrier between your skin and any materials that might chafe (or other body parts that rub together), and prevents the friction that causes rashes and discomfort, and as such it's a godsend.  This little tube means I can wear skirts without tights in hot weather, and as it's also great for preventing blisters from strappy shoes, means I can happily trip around town in any combination of sandals and other footwear without fear of blisters or unsightly plasters.  All you do is rub a thin layer - and you really do only need a thin layer - over any areas where you are prone to chafing, or rubbing, and that's it.  I haven't had a foot-blister in about four years now ...

So yes, it's not glam, not sexy, not sparkly or shiny, but it is just plain useful, and a product I couldn't live without it.  I get my Bodyglide (and how can you not love that name?) from where a large tube, which will last you all summer - and beyond, will cost you £8.99.

The Fine Print: I buy two tubes of this a year, a small one for my handbag, and a larger one for the house.  If a PR had suggested I write about this stuff, I'd probably have laughed at the pitch. Oh yes.  But the recent sweltering weather has reminded me just how much of a blessing this stuff is.  So there.

PS apologies for the earworm, 80s kids!

This post originated at: All rights reserved.

Sunday 24 April 2011

A Week In Lipstick

This week, I have mostly been wearing:

Clinique Chubby Stick - Mega Melon
Ellis Faas Creamy Lips - L307
Revlon Just Bitten Lipstain - Passion
Chantecaille Lip Chic - Tea Rose
Yves St Laurent Candy Sheer Volupte - 2 Papaya Gelee
Tom Ford - True Coral
And finally …

The last lipstick there is a mystery, the full details of which I'll reveal ... eventually! But it's obviously been a coral kind of week...

Here are the swatches, which one catches your eye?

It might be warm outside, but I still love wearing my lipstick.

Friday 22 April 2011

My Current Skincare Routine - Reactive Skin

In almost two years of beauty blogging (seriously, how the hell did that happen?) I've been incredibly blessed in that my sometimes sensitive skin hasn't broken out in boils, blotches and mysterious rashes.  Until recently, that is.  Something I've been using near my eyes has caused a hot, red, itchy rash, and, to put it mildly, I'm not happy!

I've narrowed down the possible offenders to three potentials, one an eyecream, one a moisturiser, and one  ... er ... something else.  I forget which now.  Most likely a cleanser.  Yes, I tried a new cleanser recently.  Must have been that. Oh, and there's a fourth thing it might have been, but I really, really can't remember what that was.  Anyway. 

So, in order to try and get my skin back into some semblance of normality, I've pared my skincare routine right back, and I'm using just three products until my skin calms down enough for me to start re-introducing items in order for me to weed out the irritant.

These products are: Nude Cleansing Facial Oil, Darphin Intral Toner and Avene Extremely Rich Compensating Cream.  I've completely removed any skincare with more "active" ingredients from my routine to stop my skin flaring up further and that means "bye-bye" to my beloved Alpha H for a couple of weeks!  Here's how I've been getting on with my new routine.

Nude Cleansing Facial Oil

An old standby, and very much an old favourite, this is gentle, effective and luxurious to use.  I never used to really like the smell, but I've grown used to it over the years (this is one of the first things I ever bought to blog about, and I've never been without a bottle since), and now I love it.  Thick, rich, and feels intensely nourishing, which, when your skin is as red and reactive as mine is at the moment, is just what the doctor ordered.  Mine cost £24 from Space NK, which reminds me, I'm running low - very low - right now, and it might be time to re-invest in a bottle.  Did I mention it's organic?  It's organic.  And it's very nice indeed.  If you're not sure you like oil cleansers, this is a good one to start off with, it'll kind of spoil you for the rest.

Darphin Intral Toner

I'm not much of a one for toners.  Some people think I'm wrong, but hey, it's MY skin, and I like what I like, thank you very much.  And, it turns out I like this particular toner very much indeed.  Formulated specifically for sensitive skins, this alcohol-free (the only time you'll ever see me approve of this phrase is when it comes to my skincare, btw) delicately flower-scented pink liquid is something I've been using every day recently to soothe and cool my inflamed temples.  It is moisturising, and calming, and I think I might just keep it in daily rotation once the current skin-crisis is over.  I'm trying to think of toners as the beginning of my moisturising routine, and not as the end of my cleansing one, I wonder if that will help me keep them in my routine?

Anyway, this is a nice toner, and I like using it.  So there.  I'm thinking of decanting a little of it, and keeping it by me at all times over the summer for a more moisturising spriz than usual. My bottle cost £27, again, from Space NK.

Finally, I've been using Avene Extremely Rich Compensating Cream, which, on first look I thought was just going to be far too heavy for my skin.  I was assured otherwise by a certain Mrs Hirons who assured me, when she handed the pot over, that, as well as being irritated, I - sorry, my skin - was also dehydrated.  Turns out she was right.  I hate that.  Anyway, this is a fairly heavyweight little pot of soothing, calming and rehydrating goodness.  Yes, it is a little heavier than my normal moisturiser of choice, but it has worked wonders on my perpetually re-occuring patch of dry skin on my forehead, and for that alone, I have to love it.  It does, also, I have to say, seem to be soothing my irritated (and irritating) skin.  I can't use this one all over my face, but applied just to my dryer areas: forehead, temples and cheeks, mainly, I can definitely see that this is about the most hydrating thing I've ever applied to my face, and that has to be a good thing.

You can buy this for £16.50 from Boots, but my pot (the design of which I detest, by the way), came from Caroline's Magic Beauty Cupboard, which I'm hoping one day to get her to blog about ...

So, my skin is now not at all hot, flaky or burning any more, which is wonderful. And it's less red, which is great. I'm just waiting for the bumps to subside now, and all will be well.  Then I can start using more sexy products again ... that said, I've been so impressed by the Darphin and Avene products I've tried as a result of the flare-up that I'm sure I'll be investigating more of their ranges, so for a beauty addict like myself, there has been a bright side!

The Fine Print: I bought half of this, and the moisturiser was a present.  Kind of.  More a bribe to stop me whining, I suspect, but hey ho, it worked, anyway.

This post originated at: All rights reserved.

Wednesday 20 April 2011

YSL Volupte Sheer Candy - 02 Papaye Gelee

It must be said that YSL Rouge Voluptes have some of the prettiest packaging on the market.  That out of the way, I have to say that I am not a fan of the Rouge Volupte formula, finding it too greasy, and disliking the way the texture sits on your lips, rather then melds with your lips texture.  For such an expensive lipstick, personally, I think they're not worth the price, and, I've never quite understood their popularity, which I suspect is partially down to their undeniable prettiness - even MrLippie thinks they're "swish"!

Being of a fair mind - and, having tried the new sheer Dior  and Chanel lipsticks recently too - when I noticed that YSL had brought out a tinted balm version of their Rouge Voluptes, I thought I'd give one of them a try.  Having swatched all 6 shades, which go from an extremely pale pink, through to a red, I picked out shade number 2, which is Papaye Gelee, or "Dewy Papaya", and is a pretty coral shade:

This is really beautiful packaging, I much prefer the silver to the gold, and  on the lips, it's very moisturising, if a little lacking in pigment.  Yes, I do appreciate this is a balm, but I did notice on swatching that there was little to no difference between any of the colours on the pale side:

As you can see from the swatch, it's barely visible at all.  But this doesn't, actually, make this a bad balm.  It's nice to use, pleasantly scented (with no taste) of watermelon, and does make your lips feel soft and moisturised while you're using it.  I find that if I use it with a lipstain, it does have a tiny "brightening" effect on the colour, and for that reason, I'm glad I bought it.

So out of all the sheer/balm lipsticks I've tried recently, I think YSL wins on packaging (and price, being cheaper than both the Chanel and Dior), but ... the Chanel wins overall for comfort of wear, and range of colours. 

YSL Volupte Sheer Candy are currently exclusive to Harrods, and cost £20.

The Fine Print: Harrods stole my credit card, and gave me this in return.

This post originated at: All rights reserved.

Tuesday 19 April 2011

Remington 5 in 1 Airstyler

I've had blow-dry lessons from some of the best hairdressers in this country - Yes, Ben Cooke (creator of Victoria Beckham's various 'do's over the years) I'm looking at you, and, it has to be said that I remain a cack handed muppet at it. 

The problems are that I have short arms and a lot - and I do mean a lot - of wavy hair.  So, the traditional hairdryer and brush method is backbreaking, not to mention, heartbreaking work with my thatch of frizzy fuzz.

Years ago, I had a Remington Airstyler that was basically a hairbrush with a built in hairdryer, and, I have to say, I loved it.  My only real problem with it was that the hairdryer was a rather feeble 300 watts, so drying my hair (which was a lot curlier back then) took hours.  Luckily for me, the new 5in1 Remington Airstyler is a massive 1200 watts so this solves that particular problem, and has made me a very happy chappy blogger.

The new Remington Airstyler comes with five attachments: two round bristle brushes (one with hard "fixed" bristles, and one with softer, flexible bristles), a targeted hairdryer nozzle, a ridge "tong" attachment, and my own personal favourite, the flat "paddle" brush attachment, which has a side each of fixed and flexible bristles.

I've found that I can give myself a nice (not great - I'm still rubbish), blowdry with lots of volume using the paddle brush attachment, in about 15 minutes or so, without really needing to follow up with my straighteners, or needing a massage on my aching shoulders - the fixed bristles glide through the hair smoothly with no snagging, and the flexible bristles provide a great deal of traction, which is great for making the hair smoother.  The dryer itself has three speeds: low heat, high heat and a cool shot, which is very handy.

All in all, a winner for me - and for around £25 it's a bargain, I paid nearly £40 for one with just a quarter of the drying power (and no attachments besides the round brush and the nozzle) around ten years ago!

The Fine Print: PR sample.  And an horrendously overdue review.  I'm nice like that ;)

This post originated at: All rights reserved.

Monday 18 April 2011

Hob Salons - "Treat Me Like A Princess" Package

I'm an accountant (I may have mentioned it), and this is my busiest time of the year. That occasional KA-thonk sound you may hear in the distance is my hitting my head on my desk whilst trying to get to grips with the concept of deferred income vs restricted reserves and their associate release against spend schedules, and please do not even talk to me about auditors, or I might simply weep - but I digress.

All this was my roundabout way of saying that today I have a guest review for you - and from a work colleague, no less ... I found out about Hob's Treat Me Like A Princess package last month - which they're offering all through April, which includes a cut, colour, plus lots of other little extras that will make this feel like a really pampering experience - and I'd been looking forward to trying it out. Sadly, as it got nearer the time, I discovered I wouldn't be able to attend, so I drafted in one of my co-workers, the always-amazing Amy, to take my place ... here's how she got on:

I paid a visit to Hob salon in Camden on behalf of the lovely Louise to trial out a current promotion they are running throughout April called 'Treat me like a Princess' in celebration of the run up to the royal wedding. The package includes a colour, a cut, a treatment, a head massage, a goody bag and a voucher towards your next appointment with them.

Before my appointment I had to go for an allergy test to ensure I had no reactions to their products which is company policy and must be done 48 hours before colouring. Immediately I thought this was going to be hassle but as you can get it done in any of their salons you can pick and choose when and where and you don’t need to pre-book an appointment. I chose the Baker Street branch so I could walk there after work. It took roughly 5 minutes all in all and I was back on my merry way before long.

As I made my way to the Camden salon I soon realised the directions on their website were not so helpful and I walked past the turn off I was meant to take. (Hint: walk down Jamestown road and take a right after CBS offices).  When I finally got there the reception staff were very friendly but not too falsely over-friendly like you can get in a lot of other salons. They showed me to my seat and introduced me to Lindsey who was my colourist. 

She sat down and talked me through what would suit both my hair and my features. She suggested going for a halo bar which meant that the highlights would lie under a layer of hair,  which would make them not so prominent on the top of my head. We decided on antique blonde, which to be honest I was a little apprehensive about, as I am not a fan of blonde hair but I trusted her judgement and was delighted with the outcome. I did notice though that they must have drafted her in from another branch for the day,  as the other staff were asking her what she was doing there that day, but that’s nothing bad, they obviously wanted their best colourist to do my hair which I can hardly complain about now can I?

After the colour the next part of the ‘Treat me like a princess’ package was a conditioning treatment and a head and neck massage which was glorious and so relaxing I almost fell asleep at the sinks! The treatment was an intensive conditioner and a toner to help maximise the colour in my hair. My hair was amazingly soft afterwards and looked beautifully healthy.

Next was the hair cut and the guy to carry this out was Rodos who was very easy on the eye and a true gentleman. As you can see from my before photo:

this is no simple feat, and not a task for the faint hearted, with the amount of hair on my head. But Rodos gracefully accepted the mammoth task of removing a few inches, a lot of thinning it out, and giving it some shape and style. He combined the use of a thinning scissors and a blade. I felt he really listened to what I wanted but still gave his opinion of what he thought would sit best and look great and he really did know his stuff as I was delighted with the cut and finish.


The salon I found had a great vibe and with trainees in full view practising on balconies above, gave it a nice full and bustling atmosphere.  The place was clean and had lovely Sanctuary soap and hand moisturiser in the bathroom.

Overall I found the experience really and truly worthwhile and would recommend it to my friends. You do feel like a princess as you get well looked after including receiving a glass of wine while your colour sets.

I left the salon feeling great about myself and my new hair style and with a goody bag of shampoos and hair masks to take home and a 25% off voucher for my next colour. 

I've seen Amy's hair since, and it does indeed look fantastic, Lindsey has given her a subtle sunkissed look, and it is amazingly healthy and shiny, I was very impressed.  And jealous.  If you fancy being treated like a princess too, then contact your local Hob Salon for prices.

The Fine Print: Amy was a guest of Hob Salons.  PS, Amy, you owe me a cup of tea ;)

This post originated at: All rights reserved.

Saturday 16 April 2011

A Week in Lipstick

Another week, another seven lipshades. From top to bottom here we have:

Guerlain Rouge G - Galante
Rituals Cream & Care - Sunset
Shiseido Shimmering Rouge - RS310
Guerlain Terracotta Gloss - Grenade
Revlon Just Bitten Lipstain - Frenzy
ELF Luscious Liquid Lipstick - shade unknown
Bourjois Effet 3D Max gloss - Rose Acidulé

And here are the swatches:

Bit of a glossier week than usual, what've you been wearing?

Some exciting (for me at least!) lipstick news coming up next week, keep your eyes peeled!

Friday 15 April 2011

The Show Must Go On - OPI Burlesque Collection

In a "blink and you'll miss it" collection from OPI to celebrate the release of the Burlesque movie at the end of last year (did you blink? You missed it), were some of the prettiest, blingiest and just plain joyful nail polishes that this jaded blogger has ever seen:

A cool raspberry, this foiled-effect polish is packed to the rafters with layer upon layer of glass flecks:

It glows.

I'm wearing it for a board meeting today:

Work appropriate, schmerk appropriate.

The Burlesque collection was discontinued approximately three days after it was released, so I picked this beauty up off eBay recently (there are loads of the mini size multipacks on there at a reasonable price) I don't know if the film was any good, I blinked, and missed it.

(this is an emergency post as the original post planned for today has technical issues - normal service resumes ASAP)

Thursday 14 April 2011

Guerlain Meteorites Perles Perfecting Primer

Who can resist a product that looks like sago pudding?

Not me! I admit that I'm not much of a one for facial primers, but, as I am a big fan of Guerlain's Lingerie de Peau foundation, I thought I'm give their primer a try too. Mainly, admittedly, because it is by far the prettiest primer on the market.

Tiny pink opalescent pearls of light diffusing powder are suspended in a gel formulation, which feels cool and silky, rather than velvety like a lot of more silicone-heavy primers. Once pumped, the pearls burst and you get a measure of pre-mixed primer:

You can see how it reflects light already.

My favourite way to use this is to mix equal amounts of primer with my foundation (and I use it with all my foundations) then "slip, slap, splosh" it all over my face with my fingers. I'm too lazy in the mornings to bother putting on a layer of moisturiser, a layer of primer and a layer of foundation, so I skip a step.

I find that mixing the foundation with the primer gives the foundation a more "moussey" or airy texture, and also thins out the foundation a little, giving a slightly sheerer finish, also the primer allows the foundation not to gather in pores as a result.

This won't give you as "flawless" a finish as a silicone primer, but I do find it makes my foundation last a little longer through the day, but, that being said, I wouldn't class this - or indeed any - facial primer as a necessity. I've never found a single one that does what it says. Ever.

In essence, the Guerlain Meteorites Primer is nice to have, lovely to look at, and fun to use, but is it an essential? No.

It costs around £40.

Tuesday 12 April 2011

Serge Lutens Jeux de Peau

Serge Lutens, how much do I love thee?  The first super-expensive bottle of perfume I ever bought for myself (at a whopping £45, back at the time when most "expensive" perfumes cost £18-25 depending on precisely how "fancy" you wanted to smell) was a bottle of Serge Lutens Sa Majeste La Rose. This was shortly followed by a bottle of A La Nuit, neither of which I ever wear these days, but I do still own the remnants of both bottles in their "vintage" formulations.

I can't really bear to part with them, because of the memories I associate with them, even though I realise they're two of the least complex of the Serge Lutens line, these days.  Back then I really just loved rose scents (Ombre Rose was a contemporary purchase too, and I used that bottle up in a matter of a few short months), and I thought jasmine - the primary, and some might say only ingredient in A La Nuit - was a much more innocent scent than it actually is.  I know different now, but ... do I know better?  Nowadays, I much prefer Ambre Sultan, and Femininite du Bois.

It would appear that dear old "Uncle Serge" has been playing memory games with his fans with this his new release.  I've read lots of reviews that talk about bread, jam, butter, and baked goods, and thought that as I'd recently come to terms with Guerlain's "patisserie accord" (more about that in a Guerlain post later on), that this might be a good one to try.

And, on initial sniffing, my immediate reaction was "bread and butter pudding!".  I was delighted, as bread and butter pudding is one of my favourite things.  Sadly, on closer inspection, the butter in this particular pudding turned out to be margarine.  The scent of cheap spread was cloying and clinging, somehow managing to be both fat, and flat.  It also - for me - crowded out the scent of anything else for the first three hours.  Then, when something else did turn up on my skin, it was curry.

Oh yes.

Actually, it wasn't curry, it's actually the scent of Immortelle, which has cumin-ish aspects on my skin.  Margarine and curry.  Yummy!  Then, finally, about six or seven hours of wear, there was a lovely, slightly peppery maple syrup scent that stuck very close to my skin.  Had this been more prominent, or had appeared sooner, I'd have loved this.  But, alas, it wasn't to be.  Me and margarine have never got along all that well, and this was terrifyingly close to being a scrubber throughout the entire day of wear.

Serge Lutens definitely tries to create art with his scents, and even his more challenging fragrances deserve a shedload of admiration. Jeux de Peau is a skillful creation, and it's a rather playful one, too.  However, this is Serge playing games on my skin, and I'm not sure I liked it.  I have to admire it, but I don't think I'll be wearing it again any time soon ...

Jeux de Peau costs £65.36 and is available from

What's the worst scent you've ever put on your skin?

The Fine Print: Review written from sample.

This post originated at: All rights reserved.

Monday 11 April 2011

Daniel Sandler Brushes

I've lot count of how many makeup brushes I own, there are a lot.  Besides which, I have two sets, a set of brushes that I keep for myself, and a set (from Crown brushes) that I keep aside for makeovers, that I rarely use on my own skin.  I was made a gift of some Daniel Sandler brushes a while ago, and I've been using them on practically a daily basis ever since, so I thought it was time to share my thoughts!

Some of the most used brushes in my kit are the ones with short handles, I much prefer a short handle to a long handle for some reason (probably to do with me being a cack-handed muppet), and so I'm really happy that these brushes are "handbag" sized.  Above (l-r) you can see the concealer, smudge, waterbrush, base and bronzer/powder brushes, and I find they have varying levels of usefulness, as you'll see below.

Concealer brush:

Made from taklon - a polyester derivative, so the brush is vegan - this helps with applying concealer in a thin layer (always the best way to apply concealer), and the long, somewhat flexible bristles make blending very easy, particularly around the eye area.  It's not a very wide brush, so it's great for applying concealer to blemishes, without adding too much product to unaffected areas.  Cost: £12.30

Smudge Brush:

Made from hair (non-vegan), this picks up powder beautifully, and it is probably near the top of my list of all-time favourite brushes (of all time). It's perfect for creating smokey eyed looks, and it is very handy for - as the name implies - smudging creamy eyeliners to create a softer effect.  You can, as I frequently do, also use it as an eyeliner brush, where it's practically foolproof for even the most cack-handed of us to use.  Simply dip it in the powder eyeshadow of your choice and then dot'n'dab around the base of your lashes.  Cost £10.25


If you already own one of Daniel's Watercolour Blushes (and if not, why not?) then you'll most likely already own one of these synthetic-haired beauties too.  They're ideal for applying liquid products, as they aren't as absorbent as natural-haired brushes, and that will allow you a little more time to blend your product.  A top tip from Daniel is actually to apply a tiny dot of moisturiser to the back of your hand then run the bristles of this brush through it before adding a drop of the water colour blush to the bristles and this will also allow you a little more time to blend the products.  I do this when I use this brush, and it really works!  You must, of course, ensure you wash the brush thoroughly after doing this technique though.

The synthetic bristles of this brush also allow for a practically flawless application of any cream blushers too.  It cleans up a treat as well, with no shedding or dye loss.  Cost: £15.35


I'll be honest, I don't use a brush to apply my base very often (I prefer to use my fingers), but this is a good example of a base brush, as it's very thick, and this means you have more bristles to spread your foundation or tinted moisturiser with.  I do prefer it to the similar brush I have from MAC, as it has a thicker bed of bristles.  If you like a flat base brush, you could do worse than this one.  Cost: £20.45 

Bronzer/Blush brush:

This is a lovely soft and dense synthetic-haired brush, which makes applying powder a breeze.  The bristles pick up about the right amount of product (you may need to tap off any excess if you're using a loose powder) to swish over your face.  The bristles are flexible enough to cope with harder pressed powders too - although it was defeated by a Top Shop bronzing blush the other day, but I won't hold that against it!  At a cost of £25.55, it's more than comparable with the MAC powder brush which is a lot more expensive, and that one is long-handled, so I was always going to prefer this one.

So there you have it, a small selection of Daniel Sandler brushes.  You can tell a fair amount of thought has gone into the creation of this range (the shorter handles, the variety of materials to suit the task, etc), and they're really nice to use.

Who makes your favourite brushes?

The Fine Print: The brushes were a gift, which doesn't affect my opinion.  As always links are for informational purposes only, I get no financial recompense for reviews.

This post originated at: All rights reserved.

Sunday 10 April 2011

Andy Tauer's Carillon Pour Un Ange Giveaway Winner

Going by the scientific method of asking MrLippie to pick a number between 1 and 25, the winner of my giveaway this time around is ....


Drop me an email with your address, bugalugs, and we'll get the bottle in the post to you!  Well done Kellie, and thank you very much to everyone who entered.

This post originated at: All rights reserved.

Saturday 9 April 2011

NARS 2011 - Dogon Eyeshadow Duo

I was lucky enough to be invited along to the NARS Summer preview this week, and, aside from falling deeply in love with the fall collection (which I forgot to take pictures of, because I'm an idiot), I also feel in love with the new eyeshadow duo in Dogon.  There are two duo's in the summer range (the other has a baby blue/gold combination) alongside an aqua-green trio.

Dogon has a taupe and navy blue combination, which, on first look appears to be a cool taupe with grey leanings, and a matt navy with a slight hint of glitter:

On initial swatching, those impressions are correct:

However, the taupe is creamy, easy to blend and mix, and has a slight hint of a green sheen.  The blue appears both blackened and slightly chalky.  It's decidedly harder to blend than the taupe, and I wondered how the two were meant to work together.

However, when you layer the shades, something magical happens:

This is the blue over the taupe and below is taupe over the blue:

What you have here (and it was nigh-on impossible to pick up with the lighting in my flat today, and this is a source of intense frustration) is green duochrome.  Beautiful, beetle-green duochrome, which is all the more wonderful for being completely unsuspected in the initial shades themselves.

This look is the blue in the crease,which is then blended onto the outside of the mobile lid, and with a layer of the taupe worked on over the entire mobile lid.  Sadly, the lights have washed out most of the colour here, as this is very definitely a much more dramatic look than it shows here.  The light plays off the shimmering duochrome, adding a depth and dimension that would normally be missing from a basic taupe/blue combo.  This is a smoky look, which I'll attempt to re-photograph in different lighting conditions.

Here's how it looks in the full context of my face:

Here's a crappy pic of my face that gives a better impression of how smoky this look is (which, thanks to my hooded lids, you can't really pick up here):

(Yeah, bit cross-eyed,this is what three hours sleep looks like)
So there you have it, this is my pick of summer from NARS, and I'm a tiny bit in love, it's more than made up for the bitter disappointment of Calanque (beautiful shades, but packaged in [expletive deleted]-awful glittery badness, making it unwearable, and, at £33, a daylight robbery too) from their last collection - and it's another blue eyeshadow to add alongside Blue Dahlia from Estee Lauder last year.

NARS summer collection will be in shops from May, and the eyeshadow duos will cost £23.

The Fine Print: PR sample, obtained after a press event, as the product is not yet available in-store.

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Friday 8 April 2011

Got Lippie?

I love lipstick.

And these pictures, dear ladies and gents are the explanation as to why Get Lippie is called what it is:

A slightly closer look:

And one with a standard-sized paperback book added for scale:

I had written a whole essay to go with this, but ... meh.  I will just say two things: One, that this isn't entirely them all (every girl has a bag full of lipstick in the house that they can't find, right?  RIGHT?), and the collection is about half the size it was two/three years ago (my loss is various housemates and Give & Makeup's gain!)  and:  two, I bought fully 95% of these.

See any of your favourites?

The Fine Print:  I could have bought a HOUSE with what I've spent on lipstick in the last 25 years.  A HOUSE.  Okay, maybe a car.  But defnitely a nice holiday.

This post originated at: All rights reserved.

Thursday 7 April 2011

The Konjac Sponge Company

I was at the Natural Products Show last weekend, and I was utterly delighted to notice that someone has finally brought konjac sponges to the UK.  I first became aware of them about ten years ago when I was in the US, but they looked pretty scary, and, in spite of being urged to try one by one of my more adventurous friends, I chickened out.

Konjac is a vegetable, and konjac sponges (Konnyaku in Japan) are widely used in Korea and Japan. They're made from flour ground from dried konjac "potatoes", and in their dried state, resemble sea-sponges. The Konjac Sponge Company import their sponges direct from Korea, and,  in addition to the baked konjac flour, they add a little mineral clay to several of their sponges to give added skincare benefits.  Also, they're the only company in the UK to ship their sponges in a wet state, so they don't look like ... well, baked vegetables!

So, what does a konjac sponge actually do?  Essentially, you use it in place of (or alongside) your regular cleanser, and it provides a tiny amount of non-abrasive exfoliation, and the natural plant extracts from  the konjac itself leave your skin feeling smooth and slightly moisturised.  I say slightly, but at the Natural Products Show last Sunday, the fingertips I'd been prodding the demonstration sponges with felt so smooth and silky that I couldn't stop rubbing them together afterwards!

I've been trialling a pink clay konjac sponge (for tired/devitalised skin) ever since, and I've enjoyed using it a great deal.  Whilst using it alone isn't the best cleanser in the world for removing makeup, I discovered, for a refreshing face-wash in the morning using only water, it's about perfect.  The sponge is smooth, and feels slightly silky on the skin, and it works well even on my rougher, thickened skin patches (so, my chin, basically).  Basically, you dip the sponge in warm water, then rub over your face, afterward, your skin feels clean, smooth and - there's no other word for it - velvety.  It's an unusual sensation to get used to, you'll spend a day or two playing with your face in amazement, but I think I'm a little bit in love with a sponge.

Whilst I don't think I'll be replacing my Clarisonic with one any time soon (I'll still be using that at night), these are an excellent addition to the skincare routine of anyone with dry or sensitive skin in particular, and there's even a charcoal infused sponge for skin that's prone to spots.

Best thing about them?  They cost around a fiver, and last for months and months.  Cheapest face care product I can recommend!  Find out more at the Konjac Sponge Company website.

The Fine Print:Review written from press sample - I'm not affiliated with the company, but please do go and say hello to Michelle, who runs the company, on Twitter - @konjacsponges - she's really lovely.

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Wednesday 6 April 2011

Rodial Glamoxy "Snake" Mask

Sometimes you choose a product because it makes promises you want to believe in.

Like Rodial's Glamoxy Snake Mask, which promises:

" instantly lift the face, freeze muscles and plump fine lines and wrinkles"

It's a black, peel-off mask that contains amino acids and licorice to deep cleanse your pores and has peptides to help deal with fine lines. The combination of ingredients is supposed to mimic "venom" in order to give you smoother skin.  It's a sticky, and  viscous gel, and I have to admit that it's a complete pain in the backside to apply, as it's thick, doesn't spread well, and starts to set the second you squeeze it from the tube.  But, that said, it's enormous fun to peel off in one sheet, and peer at the gucky insides.

It did leave my skin feeling smoother, but, at £68 per tube (which I estimate you'd only get three - maybe four - uses out of) it's an extremely expensive bit of fun, and, to be honest, I didn't notice the smoothing effects lasting much beyond the next day.

But ...

... sometimes you pick a product because you can take pictures like this when you're using it:

This, dear readers, is what beauty bloggers do to amuse themselves when at a bit of a loose end on a Saturday night.  Don't tell me you don't do the same.

The Fine Print: Samples sent by PR for review, actual cost £68.  Total fun: Priceless.

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