Beauty Without Fuss

Tuesday 30 July 2013

Butter London Summer 2013 Collection

Yawn.  Summer collections, eh?  Chuck in a gold, a bit of brown, a bronze, an orange, and OH! a bright blue no one in their right mind would ever wear, and VOILA! You have the summer palette of your dreams.  In eyeshadow terms, this is so overdone as to be cliché, but somehow, translate it into nail varnish instead and I'm sold.

Butter London's summer collection manages to take the stereotypical "summer" palette, and makes it fun which is unexpected.  There's a turquoise, platinum, a really yellow gold, a bronze glitter and an almost neon orange, all of which I really like.

Although, if someone wants to explain what "Bit Faker" actually means, I'd really appreciate it.  There's one creme (Poole = soft turquoise), three shimmers (Champers, Marbs & Sunbaker) and one glitter.  I tried out two coats of Champers:

Which was really frosty, without being too brush-stroke-y, and I jazzed it up with a little Bit Faker on the ring finger.  Then, I very quickly got bored of it (yes, it's nice, but ... well, it's a bit dull), and covered it all up with two coats of Bit Faker, just to see what it would look like:

I surprised myself by really liking the glitter! In fact, I liked it so much that I've still got it on, and I've not even bothered swatching the others.... 

Any favourites?
The Fine Print: PR Samples ...
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Monday 29 July 2013

Guerlain Autumn 2013 Rouge Gs - Madame Reve, Madame Flirte, Madam Batifole

I recently posted that I was really looking forward to the new autumn collection from Guerlain, and last week, I was lucky enough to be able to pick up the Rouge G's from the Violette de Madame collection a little bit early.  There's very little that makes me happier than a brand new Rouge G ... 

There are three new shades, Madame Reve, a soft, sheer medium pink, Madame Flirte, a soft, slightly warm red, with a light dusting of gold shimmer, and Madame Batifole, a fuchsia pink.   As soon as I saw the promo shots, I knew these were for me!

They're clad in the same classic housing as the regular Rouge G lipsticks, this time with a "fishnet" effect. 



The texture is the same soft, rich and creamy formulation  that I've come to know and love, not as firm as a Tom Ford lipstick, but not quite as balmy as a Chantecaille Lip Chic, these are moisturising, and (Reve aside), fairly pigmented.

They're softly glossy, and easy to wear.  By far the most pigmented is Madame Batifole (which, not entirely coincidentally, is my favourite), but Reve and Flirte are both great everyday shades.  Batifole is rather dramatic, and if your tolerance for dramatic lipsticks is lower than mine it'll make a great evening shade.

Here's how they look on my rather unevenly pigmented lips:

Yes, at £31 each, they're not cheap, but a Rouge G is a thing of beauty forever.  They'll be on counter August 1st.

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Wednesday 24 July 2013

Narcisco Rodriguez Musc Oil for Her

Musk-based fragrances have really, really grown on me this year, I came within a whisper of wearing Serge Lutens Clair de Musc for my wedding (choosing to wear Khiel's Musk body lotion with L'Artisan Safran Troublant instead, but it was an extremely close-run thing), and my musk obsession started with re-discovering the Body Shop White Musk Oil around this time last year.

Narcisco Rodriguez Musc for Her is a new range from NR, and there's a  musc oil released too (limited edition), which I was sent to try.  Now, I wasn't a particular fan of the original For Her fragrance, so won't be bothering comparing the two scents, but this is a very pretty, lightly floral scent, which I've enjoyed wearing a great deal.  

It's a warm scent, which stays very close to the skin. Clean, and slightly sweet-smelling, that isn't entirely a million miles away from the slightly more diffusive Clair de Musc (the two layer extremely well, in fact, the RM anchors the CdM to the skin, making both last longer), it's exceedingly pretty.  I find it also makes a good layering scent for other fragrances too, like the Tom Ford Plum Japonais that I'll be telling you about on Friday.

Narcisco Rodriguez Musc Oil for her is a limited edition (the rest of the range is a permanent line), and will cost £66.

The Fine Print: PR Sample.

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Monday 22 July 2013

Becca Cosmetics - An Introduction

Becca Stuff

I am really enjoying rediscovering Becca Cosmetics at the moment - every product I've tried has been great, and I am deeply glad they're making a proper re-entrance into the UK via SpaceNK

Loving the Beach Tint in Raspberry in particular (bottom row, second right), the shade, on me, is very much a "my lips but better" colour, but on people with paler lips, it's a gorgeous "just bitten" berry shade, perfect for adding a little colour without being too scary.  All you need is a tiny pin-head size amount, and it layers up nicely.  If you squeeze too much out, you can always pop the excess on your cheeks as a blusher, where it works very well.

I've reviewed the Sunchaser palette before (bottom row, second left), and I'm happy to report that I love the AstroViolet Eyeshadow Quad just as much, same great quality shadows, but this time in a selection of purple and taupe shades that is hard for me to resist. And I love the dinky packaging!  Much less of a waste of space than some other quartets I can think of.  I find the eyeliner in Belle Epoque (bottom right) goes very well with both palettes too. A slightly greyed brown, it lasts well, and is very easy to apply without dragging.

Becca Base products are very good too - I've been using, and liking, the Matte Skin Foundation  (Top left) a fair bit recently, and it's good for giving a matte finish to the skin. On the days where I can't face foundation, I've been dotting a little of the Ever Matte Poreless Priming Perfector (top right) over a tinted moisturiser, and this has helped soak up any greasy spots without having to resort to powder.

Possibly the most famous Becca product is the Shimmering Skin Perfector, made into a cult by Lisa Eldridge, these are liquid highlighters, which give a beautiful glow to the skin, without making you look greasy, or as if you've rolled yourself in lard and glitter, a la some cheaper "highlighters" I've seen and rejected over the years!  I have Opal and Moonstone, which see me through the year (one's slightly paler, the other is a pale gold), neither of the shades are too stark or bright, which is great.

Finally, I adore the Matte Lip Colour in Antoinette, a deep cool raspberry (I'm a little obsessed with raspberry shades at the moment), which lasts and lasts without drying my lips out:

L- Flash R-Daylight

The lipglosses are a little sheerer than I'd like, but I have Palm Breeze, which is a warm fuchsia, which works well layered over Antoinette.  They're not sticky, either, which is lovely!  Now I think I need Hummingbird ...

Have you tried Becca products?  What are your raves?

The Fine Print: Mixture of PR samples and purchases.

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Thursday 18 July 2013

Hot Weather Helpers

Knowing my luck, by the time you read this, the weather will have broken, and we'll have been plunged back into the perma-winter we've known this entire year.  In which case, please accept my sincere apologies, and hopefully this will come in handy for the four days of summer we're likely to get next year ... 

I'm addicted to sprays in the summer, and two of the best I've found this year are the Melvita Damask Rose Floral Water:

Lightly scented, yet highly emollient, this is good for those days where you need both cooling down, and a hit of moisture in your skin.  This is lovely, and I really like the new packaging.

And, for those days when your skin is either pumping out the grease, or you just want a super-refreshing spray, you need Suti Peppermint Toning Water:

Like a tube of polos in liquid form, this refreshes the parts other toners cannot reach.  I have a bottle on my desk, and a bottle in the fridge at all times.  Handy hint, it's great for spraying on your feet both to cool, and neutralise any nasty niffs.

And finally, an oldie, but the best summer helper EVER is this:  Bodyglide:

For when your sandals rub your feet, or when your straps rub your skin, or where any bits of your skin rub against other bits of your skin (yes, thighs, I'm looking at you) this is the business.  Stops rubbing, chafing and blistering on any part of your body.  It's ACES.  Get some.  I've found the big tubes on Amazon for around £12 or so, but one should last you at least a year (you don't need much), and it's the best investment I make every single summer.  Get one.  Get two, in fact, and carry one round with you at all times.  You'll never regret it.

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Tuesday 16 July 2013

Maison Francis Kurkdjian - Oud Silk Mood

Of all the perfumers I've met over the last few years, right up there in my favourites would be Francis Kurkdjian.  Never afraid to say something controversial, yet always friendly, and with passion for his art oozing from him in droves, he's a real thrill to spend any time with.  Recently I met up with him for the launch of his latest fragrance, Aquae Vitae, where, in referring to his sales figures, he announced that if the bloggers "love" a fragrance, then it's the kiss of death for the sales of it!  Oddly, I kind of know where he's coming from.

Perfume blogging is an odd thing.  I started doing it because I was bored with all the sugary-pink shit available in the shops, a state of affairs where everything, and everyone, smells exactly the same (like an ADD teenager wrapped in candyfloss, having drenched themselves in fruit-scented body spray first), and nothing had any "sex appeal" any more.

Then you discover niche fragrances, and frankly, the more off-the-wall, the better. They're a revelation! Burning rubber?  I'm in!  Cough drops and cat-poo?  Also in!  Fur and leather?  Oh yes ... and somehow, along the way, you can lose your taste - or even develop a distaste - for the simple, the commercial, or the popular.  It's not always a bad thing (though there are some fragrance shops and departments I simply can't set foot in these days, alas), but for some perfume bloggers, it seems that if a scent is designed to "sell" as well as "smell", then it's automatically inferior, no matter who the "nose" behind the scent is.  

It's a fine line for a perfumer to tread.  Do they design purely for the masses, wanting those sales, and risk the wrath of the bloggers?  Or, do they design their fragrances purely to appeal to that strange creature, the "professional" perfume critic?  Guerlain, in particular, I think suffers from this.  They're actually a brand available on most high streets, but, because of their place in perfume history, they're held in an especially schizophrenic position for most perfume bloggers, adored for their heritage, yet, most of their modern output (one or two future classics aside) gets a somewhat "sniffy" reception ... Guerlain is not niche these days, it's not even ultra-luxe any more, but if their more recent, more commercial releases allow them to still keep their historical (and wonderful) fragrances on our high street shelves - and prove that there is easily-accessible life beyond the candyfloss, to jaded consumers to boot - well, more power to Thierry Wasser's elbow, frankly.

Most people aren't perfume critics, however, and burning rubber is always going to appeal only to the select few, and I think it is far, far, far too easy for people (especially those who have educated themselves to a certain degree in fragrance) to write off a perfumer's more commercial output. But, there are a number of perfumers doing the mainstream very well.  Francis Kurkdjian is, I think, one of the best representatives of how to appeal to both the masses and the niche-lovers.  His Aqua Universalis and Absolue Pour Le Soir illustrate this tightrope very well indeed.  AU is a clean, fresh, laundry-scent, immediately appealling, easy to wear, simple and uncomplicated, it's the scent of the relationship between yourself and your clothes.  APLS, however, is a thick, sticky, sweet and dirty (how dirty?  It's actually pure, distilled filth.  Bottled.  It smells of sweat, sex and honey.  Oh, and a bit of cat poo), hard to love, and utterly impossible to "get" at first sniff, it's adored by perfume bloggers - including this one, who ran out and bought a bottle after reading a single review - the world over.  But it sells fewer bottles than Aqua Universalis, by a factor you can measure in the thousands.  Yet, you never see a blogger rave about AU.  Funny that ...

Anyhoo.  All of that was basically my extremely longwinded way of getting into the mindset to review Oud Silk Mood by Maison Francis Kurkdjian.  In PerfumeBlogVille, Oud is, essentially, over.  Something the professional critics are bored with, and are waiting for the next big ingredient to pop up and replace it.  Over in CommercialLand, however, to very many consumers, Oud is still something new and exotic, still a smell that takes some getting used to.

Oud is a funny smell, it's essentially a rotted, infected tree-sap.  It smells dark, and oddly medicinal, it's thick, and difficult, and, although it's been widely used in fragrances in the Middle East for a long time, it's still relatively "new" in fragrances in the west.  In 2012, Kurkdjian brought out an entirely new kind of oud fragrance; Oud, which was light, transparent, and decidedly shimmering, and whilst still hugely "odd" (and medicinal) to most tastes, is probably the easiest to wear Oud fragrance I've come across.

In 2013, Kurkdijan added three new fragrances to his Oud line, in a selection of "moods": Velvet, Cashmere and Silk.  Compared to the original Oud, Silk Mood is decidedly heavier, opening with a giant bouquet of the richest, darkest, reddest roses you can imagine, with just a tiny hint of fruitiness contained within, like the tiniest smear of raspberry jam in a rose-petal sandwich.  As it dries down, the oud and the chamomile add a hint of dustiness and depth, and a hint of mystery to the jammy fruitiness above.  There's meant to be papyrus in there too, but I have no idea what that smells like, so I can't pick it out.

It's hugely well-balanced, meaning it's hard to pick out individual ingredients above all the others, but this is, without doubt a gorgeous scent, it blooms in the heat - and has been the only fragrance I've wanted to wear in this recent hot spell - unusual for me, who normally cries out for minty, herbal, FRESH scents in this weather.  It's also pretty appealing to the opposite sex, if the reaction of MrLippie is anything to go by, he normally dismisses things as "yes, flowers" or "oranges", but he seems to really like this one.  

I've read reviews of Oud Silk Mood dismissing it as "nothing original", and maybe it isn't (it's the smoother, sexier sister to Guerlain's Rose Barbare, which has a spiky, rather austere beauty, if you ask me, dried roses, and no jam.  Ironically, both were created by Kurkdjian). In Middle Eastern perfumery, oud and rose is the definitive combination for oud fragrances, but in this not-quite-a-"proper"-perfume-blogger's opinion, there aren't very many oud/rose combos that are as appealing as this one anywhere.

Now for the bit that'll make you cry.  It's £275 a bottle.  I only figured that out after I'd been spraying my sample with wild and gay abandon!  A small price for beauty though, perhaps?

The Fine Print: The fragrance was a PR Sample. Waffle, all mine very own.

This post: Maison Francis Kurkdjian - Oud Silk Mood originated at: Get Lippie All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post at Get Lippie, then this content has been stolen by a scraper

Monday 15 July 2013

Everyday Eye Essentials

If you follow my instagram account (and if not, why not?  You can find it here) you'll notice that I've been posting a daily picture of my eye makeup, with a description of the shadows, liners and mascaras that I've used.  What I never mention are these two products, without which my eyemakeup is incomplete.

First off, if I've learned anything from beauty blogging over the years, it's that an eye-shadow primer is absolutely essential, and, after years of testing practically all of the ones on the market, Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion is the one I return to again and again and again.  If you suffer from wandering shadow, or greasy eyelids, or shadow that just disappears after an" hour or two, then primer will help.  UDPP is a rather  "grabby" primer that can sometimes be difficult to blend over, but I deal with that by adding a layer of flesh coloured shadow over the top of it first, then using any darker colours over the top, you still get a good, bright, longlasting look, but it's much easier to blend shades over the top.  I'm looking forward to trying their new "anti-ageing" primer when that is released.

And to finish off any look, it's imperative to have groomed eyebrows, and an eyebrow gel can help hugely.  My own eyebrows (even though tattooed underneath), would take over my entire face if I didn't keep them under control, so I brush through a little of this lightly-coloured gel through to tame them a little, and keep them in place for the day.

The Eyeko brow-gel has a nice little brush (which could, in all honesty, be a bit longer), and has a lightly coloured gel, which would be suitable for most shades of brows, except maybe for very red ones.  It's nice, and keeps brows in place all day.  I'm a little o_0 about the price, to be honest, as I think £18 for a brow gel is a bit on the high side (frankly, you could use hair gel just as well), but it's a good product if you want your brows to provide the perfect frame for your eyes.

What are your eye essentials? 

The Fine Print: A mixture of PR samples and purchases.
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Sunday 14 July 2013

Lippie's Lust List #Twelvety Guerlain Violette de Madam

Oh man.  I need me this collection something chronic.  I was sent the nail varnish in Madam Batifole (below) this week, and now I have a shopping list as long as my arm.  A collection entirely in purple, fuchsia and red?  Oh, I am IN.

 In love, that is.


 It's on counters August 1st, but don't bother yourselves, as I'll have bought it all.   ALL YOUR GUERLAINS ARE BELONG TO ME.

This post: Lippie's Lust List #Twelvety  originated at: Get Lippie All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post at Get Lippie, then this content has been stolen by a scraper

Wednesday 10 July 2013

Estee Lauder DayWear Multi-Protection Anti-Oxidant Sheer Tint Release Moisturiser

Another day, another punchy-titled product from Estee Lauder ... the DayWear Multi-Protection Anti-Oxidant Sheer Tint Release Moisturiser to be precise (it not concise), is  a tinted moisturiser that I've been using on and off for years, and I was delighted to hear recently that it's been reformulated and re-launched by Lauder.

It is, as it's name suggests, a sheer tinted moisturiser, with a light cucumber scent (which I happen to really love, but your mileage might, as they say, vary), and an SPF of 15, which makes it ideal for a summer where sunshine can't always be guaranteed.

What I do like about it is the colour-adjusting technology in the formula, on squeezing the product from the tube for the first time, you might be wondering where the tint actually is:

As it's decidedly greige on first squeeze, but hold on:

Nope, still a bit grey, but it's beginning to disappear, look:

As you rub the formula into your skin, the microscopic spheres containing the pigment burst, and begin to meld with your own skintone, becoming, eventually, a transparent veil of colour:

And when they say sheer, they're really not kidding.  I left Maurice the control mole there so you can see him in all his glory.  This formula won't cover up imperfections, and doesn't layer to give more coverage, unlike the Chantecaille Just Skin I spoke about on Wednesday, but it will even out your skin tone rather nicely, and give you both a nice glow and a little protection from the sun without ever looking ashy, unless you have a very dark skin tone, that is.

It's a great staple, personally I'd still want to use my regular moisturiser underneath, as I don't really find it hydrating enough on my combination-dehydrated skin, but this is a classic product, and is great for foundation-phobics, as it simply enhances, without masking, the skin you already have.  This new formulation is a little less grey than it used to be, but that's about the only difference I can see to the original product.

The FIne Print:  PR Sample, but I've bought many, many tubes of this in the dim and distant past.

This post: Estee Lauder DayWear Multi-Protection Anti-Oxidant Sheer Tint Release Moisturiser originated at: Get Lippie All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post at Get Lippie, then this content has been stolen by a scraper

Tuesday 9 July 2013

Current Favourite Blushers

I didn't see the point of blusher for the longest time, and so, for many years I didn't use it.  I've had high-colouring for many years, so the thought of adding MOAR COLORZ to my skin was a scary one, to say the least!  These days, however, I'd rather leave the house without lipstick than without my blusher!

Blush brightens the face, and can add shade and contour to even the widest of faces (personally, I don't bother with all that contouring malarkey because, as has been extensively reported on this blog, I am a cack-handed muppet), but blusher does make such a difference, making my skin look alive, and helping me avoid looking like a trainee goth who forgot to attend the lesson on  not dressing like an accountant.  

After my recent colour analysis, I've found blush difficult, as the shades which are nearest matches to my fan do NOT look good on my skin - NARS Sin is consistently recommended as a good blush for someone with my colouring, but ... well, it's too dark and far, far, far too brown for me, so I challenged myself to find some more suitable blush shades. 

Initially, I didn't think I had any, aside from one, but after digging deep into the recesses of my blusher drawer, I managed to scramble up seven or so ... (may you never know the horrors of saying "But I don't have any like that" only to discover you're lying to yourself about it ... anyhoo, here's my pick of my blusher collection:

Clockwise from top left we have:

Accessorize: Merged Baked Blush in Sensation
MAC: Blushbaby
Stila: Convertible Colour in Lillium
Laura Geller: Ethereal Rose/Sateen Subtle Berry
Benefit: Hervana
Burberry: Cameo
Bare Minerals: Ready Blush in The One 

In the past couple of years, I've been pretty much inseparable from NewCID iGlow in Coral Crush, but I've been trying to use pinker shades recently, and, even though a couple of these have a touch of coral to them (in particular The One by Bare Minerals - bottom left in pic above), I think the pinker look is just a bit more "healthy" to my newly-educated eye.

Accessorize is very pink, and works well as a highlighter, also, it was very cheap!
MAC Blushbaby is an old, old favourite, but it's a little on the brown side, so needs applying with a light hand.
Stila Lillium is a great neutral shade of blush, and one I wear over tinted moisturiser.  You can wear it on your lips too, but that's really not a good look for me.
The Laura Geller has been my day to day staple blush recently.  A slightly berry pink, it has a gentle sheen, and is very pretty without making me look too flushed.
Benefit Hervana is a very pretty cool-toned matte pink.  It's a little on the sheer side, but it's a good shade for just the lightest possible flush of  colour.
Burberry Cameo is another subtle berry shade, which is on the matte side, it's a lot more pigmented than the Laura Geller, so again, needs a lighter hand (or a duo-fibre brush).
Bare Minerals is a heavily-pinked coral, and is a good easy to wear shade, even if it is a little bit warmer than the other shades in this selection.  I LOVE the Bare Minerals "pressed" powder formulations, and need to pick a few more up.

So, what are your go-to blushers at the moment?

The Fine Print: Mainly purchases, ironically.

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Monday 8 July 2013


I don't finish many products in all honesty, and of those that I do finish, I don't often repurchase.  These three products have been through the wringer and then some, and I have backups (multiples in some cases!) of all of them.


I'll be honest, when I was first using this, I wasn't much impressed.  I'd seen raves - LOTS of raves - about this product in a lot of places, but I couldn't see what, if anything it was doing for my skin, so I stopped using it.  BIG mistake.  Dehydration lines soon started forming, and my skin was taking longer to "plump" up in the mornings.  Now I'm a total convert, and use this on a daily basis, my skin is far more resilient, and feels dewier and fresher than it's been for a long time as a result.  For me, the true sign of a great product is that you see a major difference when you stop using it, and Hydraluron passes that test, in spades. 

Clarins Gentle Exfoliator

I LOVE this stuff.  It's gentle enough to use every day (even though the packaging suggests you use it 2-3 times a week), and it constantly reveals fresh new skin.  I use it every other day, and found the bottle lasted the best part of five months.  Somewhat more than a toner, but less harsh than a full-on chemical peel, it's perfect for sensitive skins who need a bit of brightening.  Wouldn't be without it now - and have purchased a cupboard full of it, just in case!

Chantecaille Just Skin Anti Smog Tinted Moisturiser

This makes my skin glow, to the extent that complete strangers have commented on my "beautiful skin" (which I find hilarious, tbh), it's a bit  more pigmented than your average tinted moisturiser, and it layers wonderfully, meaning that even blotchy-faces and high-colouring can be covered, which is great.  This is also great skincare, and I have been known to use this as my only moisturising product, in an emergency, with no ill-effects.  Yes, it's pricey (£58 worth of pricey to be exact), but my last tube lasted well over a year, as a little bit goes a very long way.  When I need bit more coverage, I simply powder over it with something like MAC's Studio Fix, but mostly I just leave the glowing, healthy finish unadorned on my skin

The Fine Print: A mixture of PR samples, purchases, and re-purchases.  Oh, and re-re-purchases.  

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Sunday 7 July 2013


I've not been around much the last couple of weeks, a combination of being away and some bad news over the last fortnight have conspired to make the blog take a back seat recently.  But, rest assured, I've not been resting on my laurels!

Here's a sneaky peek at something I'm currently working on ...

Normal service to be resumed tomorrow ... 

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