Beauty Without Fuss

Friday 23 August 2013

Win an entire year's supply of Alpha H Liquid Gold!

Anyone who's read my blog for any length of time knows I'm a big fan of the Alpha H brand, Michelle, the brand owner, is a wonderful woman who I admire greatly, and I'm always aware that the products in the range are ones that have her own personal seal of approval, Michelle knows great skincare*!  They get my seal of approval too, so when Alpha H asked me if I'd like to give away a year's supply of their cult (and hero) product, Liquid Gold, I leapt at the chance!

Featuring ingredients such as glycolic acid and licorice, Liquid Gold is an overnight treatment with a slight difference.  It looks and feels like a toner, but will exfoliate and smooth your skin a treat - there's nothing quite like the Alpha H tingle before bed! Oh, and you don't need a separate night cream, either, so so faffing.  I love waking up to skin you can really tell has had a difference made to it overnight! 

QVC like it so much that they've made Liquid Gold their product of the month, and to celebrate, there's a special "supersize" 200ml edition available at the bargain price of £37!  ml for ml, this would normally cost £63, so this is a heck of a saving, if you ask me.  Which you didn't, but keep reading anyway.

However, you could win an entire year's supply, for free, simply by answering this simple question in the comments on this post:

"Other than Glycolic Acid name the key ingredient in Liquid Gold, known for it’s calming and anti-inflammatory properties, that could be mistaken for a traditional confectionery sweet?"

Please leave your answer, your name, and an email address you can be contacted on in the comments on this post before 8pm on Friday 30th August. 

If you're not lucky enough to win, you can pick up your own supersize bottle of Liquid Gold here, but be quick, as the offer ends as soon as the month does!  Good luck!

Winners will be drawn at random by an independent party on 30th August, and the prize will be delivered by a third party.  Editor's decision is final, and no correspondence will be entered into.  Email addresses will not be used for any purpose other than to contact the competition winner, and will be removed from the post as soon as the draw is made.

* She also knows origami, but I've been told not to mention that in this post, so just forget you read this, okay?

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Thursday 22 August 2013

Aesop Shine Oil

I've been styling my hair curly recently, and I've found that it always tends to lead to dryness at the ends.  Luckily, this turned up recently, and I'm a little bit in love with it.

It's an extremely lightweight oil, that spreads easily in the hair - you just need two or three drops which you spread over your palms, then smooth lightly through the mid-lengths and ends of your hair.  It doesn't build up, and - best of all - it doesn't contain silicones.  Far, far, far too many hair "oils" on the market are basically cocktails of silicones with just the scantest addition of argan oil or something, it drives me crazy, as some silicones can build up and actually make the condition of your hair worse.  Not to mention that a lot of them can be heavy and lead to greasiness if you overapply, as what they're actually doing is forming a coating on the outer layer of your hair (therefore making it look smoother, and shinier), rather than being absorbed by it and conditioning your hair from the inside.

Ironically, actual oils are less greasy!  Counter-intuitive, I know. But if you just use a couple of drops, your hair should absorb the oil, and make it less dry or brittle from the inside.  And I do mean DROPS, btw, if you need more just add it drop by drop until you feel like your hair has softened up.  When I style my hair straight, two drops is enough, but when I've had it curly for a day or two, then three or four would be more in order.

You can also use a full pipette (or two), as a pre-wash conditioning treatment.  The oil is chock full of conditioning ingredients such as borage, sweet almond, olive and jojoba oils, and smells lovely, herbal, and somehow fresh at the same time.  You can leave the oil on overnight, or just an hour or two before washing it out.  Whilst it hasn't cured my dry hair problems overnight, (I need a protein treatment or two, I think), it sure has made it less of an issue.

Aesop Shine hair oil will be available from Aesop very soon.

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Wednesday 21 August 2013

Shiseido Lacquer Rouge RD 413

I'm not a huge fan of liquid lipsticks in all honesty.  I'm a cack-handed muppet and there's a lot of scope for messy liplines when it comes to liquid products, when you add in the fact that one side of my upper lip is fuller than the other, well, liquid lipsticks are an entire world of pain for me.  However, some shades can be worth the pain, is this red from Shiseido one of them?  Let's see.

 I like the sleek and tactile packaging, which mirrors the camellia on the packaging.  RD413 is a bright tomato red, which is a little scary in the tube, even for a bright lip-lover like myself:

To my eye, this looked rather light and bright to me, and I was worried that even I wouldn't be able to carry off the shade.  However, I was reassured a little on swatching, as, whilst it's a rather sheer formula (surprisingly), it's also a beautiful colour:

The red is a little on the orange side (my camera is definitely pulling out the orange tones here), but it's definitely a red, and it's beautiful in wear.  However, I do have a couple of issues with the formula, it's sheer and glossy (oh so very, very glossy), but as a result, the pigments can appear a little patchy in close up:

In real-life it is less of an issue, as my lips aren't actually THIS BIG. Nearly, admittedly, but my head actually isn't three feet across, so you don't really notice the streakiness so much when my lips are in 3d rather than on a computer screen.

It's comfortable to wear, and non-drying, but it doesn't really have any lasting properties.  The sheerness of the pigment make it more like a gloss than a lipstick, so it needs fairly frequent reapplication.  However, some of the shades in this range are rather more pigmented, so I suspect this problem would be limited to this shade in particular.

Overall, this is a beautiful shade, but has it won me over to the liquid lipstick side?  I don't know.  I'd definitely try more from the range as it's a good, comfortable formula but for £23.50 a pop, well ...

The Fine Print: PR Sample.

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Tuesday 20 August 2013

Bodhi Neroli Luce Revitalising Face Oil

 Even in the summer, I'm a big fan of facial oils.  The opportunity came up to try a product from the range of Bodhi, and the Neroli Luce revitalising oil seeemed like the perfect choice, not least because ... well ... Luce is my nickname. But that's not the only reason I picked it, I swear!

Anyhoo.  Bodhi is a UK brand that's been around for a little while now.  Bodhi pride themselves on their ethical products, and quite rightly. All are free from parabens, sulphates, phthalates, propylene glycol, PABA, palm oil, mineral oil, paraffin, petrochemicals, DEA, synthetic colours or fragrances and animal ingredients, which is a heck of a list, and quite a challenge for a skincare brand.  It's quite a tightly edited collection of products, which is slowly branching out into new items, but on the Bodhi website, you'll find facial skincare, shower gels, massage oils, and more.  I can highly recommend the Jasmine Falls Relaxing Shower Gel, btw, it's divine. 

Containing a blend of neroli, frankincense, sea buckthorn and evening primrose oil, Neroli Luce face oil is intended for normal to combination skins, which might be a bit dull, or have a tendency to be slightly blemish prone.  After a stressful few weeks, my combination-oily skin was beginning to get me down, having lost its glow, and starting to get a little congested. 

Neroli Luce is a slightly thick oil, bright orange in colour, which means its packed full of beta carotene, which has an almost instant brightening effect once applied to the face - I find that the orange shade provides a great optical illusion, making my rather rosy-toned face look a little more even as well, which is a god-send! Even though it's rather thick, it's actually quite light, and is easily absorbed into the skin, with a minimum of massage, meaning you don't need to wait a long time in order to be able to apply your normal moisturiser over the top.

You can use it morning or night, or both, but I tend to use it on mornings when I feel I need a bit of a boost (so that'll be every day at the moment, then), and the beautiful scent helps raise my spirits every time I use it.  The combination of neroli and frankincense is a classic one, and I like to cup the product in my hands and breathe the scent in deeply before I apply to to my skin.

The bottle is small, around 15ml, but you use so little of it that I estimate it would last you a good few months, certainly I've been using mine every day for the last month and barely made a dent in the contents.  At £32 for a product with this quality of ingredients, it's a bit of a bargain too.  I'll be investing in a bottle of the Bodhi Desert Rose Rejuvenating Face oil for the winter months, I suspect.  

Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Prunus Armeniaca, (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Seed Oil, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Fruit Oil, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Flower Oil, Boswellia Carterii (Frankincense) Oil, Lavendula Augustifolia (High-Altitude Lavender) Flower Oil, Pelargoneum Graveolens (Geranium) Flower Oil, Cymbopogon Martini (Palmarosa) Oil, Cananga Odorata (Ylang-Ylang) Flower Oil, Benzyl Alcohol*, Benzyl Benzoate*, Benzyl Salicylate*, Citral*, Citronellol*, Eugenol*, Farnesol*, Geraniol*, Isoeugenol*, Limonene*, Linalool* (*
natural constituents of essential oils)

 The Fine Print: PR sample.

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Monday 19 August 2013

Guerlain Rouge G Comparison: Madam Batifole vs Provovative

After featuring both the Guerlain Autumn and Winter collections recently, I got a few emails regarding the pink Rouge Gs from each, Madam Batifole and Provocative, so I thought comparing the two was a good idea:

 Madame Batifole (left) is from the limited edition Madame Violette autumn collection currently on counters, and has a fishnet effect etched onto the casing.  Provocative is from the Crazy Paris Christmas collection which will be on counter from November.  Both are rather cool bright pinks, but there are differences:

Madame Batifole is the darker of the two, and Provocative is lighter.  Contextually, Provocative appears the "warmer" shade, but is still quite a cool shade of pink.

Here are some more comparison shots:

Natural daylight

With Flash

 Both are creamy shades, but as you can just make out in the flash picture above, Madame Batifole has a slightly more visible blue micro-shimmer in the formula.  Provocative contains it too, but it's less visible in the bullet. On the skin, however, the shimmer is barely visible, it basically just adds a little depth to the shades and stops them appearing "flat".

Natural Daylight

With Flash
They're both highly pigmented, and creamy.  Here you can see how Madame Batifole on the left is definitely a deeper shade, and Provocative is a little warmer in comparison, almost a bubblegum pink, whereas Batifole appears more magenta in comparison.

Here they are on my (quite strongly pigmented) lips:

I'd say that Madame Batifole is definitely the more dramatic shade to wear, being a little darker and deeper, Provocative is a perfect everyday pink shade, one I'd consider a neutral, but my tolerance to bright shades is quite high, and your mileage might, as they say, vary.

I tried wearing one lip of each to show how the differences aren't, actually, that dramatic.  This is provocative on the top, and Madam Batifole on the bottom. Equally bright, equally pigmented, just one is a  little warmer, and one a little cooler in comparison.

Personally, if I could only have one, I'd have Madam Batifole, as I'm a lover of the dramatic lip colours, but Provocative is a great everyday pink too.  They're both gorgeous, frankly. 

The Fine Print: One's a PR sample, and one was a purchase. It genuinely doesn't matter which one is which.

Mental note: I shall never wear the foundation featured in this post ever again, it looks terrible.  I know.

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Sunday 18 August 2013

6 Months ...

Not much to say today, aside from the fact that I'm boggling a bit that I've been married for six months now ...


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Friday 16 August 2013

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Mood

I have literally spent months trying to track this bloody thing down.  Every SpaceNK I visit, I stare forlornly at the hole where Mood (and Diffused) are supposed to be, and then turn, dejected, back out to the street after yet another fruitless shopping trip.  FINALLY I managed to track this one down on Liberty.  I'm still on the lookout for Diffused, btw, so if you find anywhere that has it, please, please, please let me know!

This one, however, is Mood, a light lavender powder designed to brighten most skintones.  I'm prone to (admittedly very pale) sallowness, particularly when extremely tired, and this helps perk me back up.   

The Ambient Light powders are milled incredibly finely, and don't contain any opaque pigments so they're rather light and ethereal on the skin.  I find they they do give a "polished" look to the skin, and they have a rather glowy finish, so you need to apply sparingly.

Here you can see it swatched heavily on the right, and blended out on the left of my hand, and you can see the sort of finish you will get. I use this most days, in particular over tinted moisturiser.  I like the brush too (although you have to buy it separately and it's £30), and it's great for diffusing the powder across the skin.

I prefer this to more traditional powders, as it never looks cakey, and doesn't look like you're wearing any makeup at all, which is the greatest thing you can get from your makeup.

Now, if only I could find the yellow Diffused version .... 

The Fine Print: Purchases.

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Thursday 15 August 2013

Sleek MakeUP Vintage Romance Palette & Antique Blush

Well, I said I needed to try some cheaper makeup ... and here I am!  Again, like Illamasqua, Sleek MakeUP isn't a brand I feature often, as a lot of the collections don't "speak" to me.  This one, however, very much did.  I don't get the packaging much, it says "Autumn" rather than "Romance" to me, but the contents are delightful:

 The eyeshadow shades are named after honeymoon destinations, l-r on the top row we have

Pretty in Paris - silver (metallic)
Meet in Madrid - gold (metallic)
Court in Cannes - taupe (shimmer)
Lust in LA - olive (shimmer)
Romance in Rome - blackened navy (shimmer)
Propose in Prague - terracotta (matte)

And on the bottom row (l-r) we have

A Vow in Venice - maroon (shimmer)
Marry in Monte Carlo - fucshia (metallic)
Honeymoon in Hollywood - purple (shimmer)
Bliss in Barcelona - blackened purple (shimmer)
Forever in Florence - matte purple (glitter)
Love in London - matte black (glitter)

I found the shadows to be deeply pigmented, even without primer, but the pans are a little prone to kicking up dust, and they're slightly "glazed" after just a couple of uses, but for the price (£7.99) these are extremely minor quibbles.

I found the two darkest non-glitter shades were the hardest to swatch, both Romance in Rome (blackened navy, and Bliss in Barcelona (blackened purple) have a slight duochrome effect, but neither are as pigmented as any of the other shades, which is a shame, but this still leave ten really rich, pigmented and pretty colours to play with.

I created this look with the palette:

 I used Court in Cannes all over the mobile lid up to the crease, and Lust in LA to line the lower rim.  Then I defined the crease and outer corner with A Vow in Venice, and then patted a little Marry in Monte Carlo onto the lid to brighten.  Then I liked the upper lid with Love in London.  The look lasted all day over primer, and I was really pleased with it.

Antique is a bronzed-rose with a large amount of silvery-blue shimmer in the formula.  It's pretty, but a little too glittery for me for everyday wear.  Be a great shade for evening wear though.  I'm an idiot and forgot to swatch this separately.  For £4.99 though, this is a great bargain, it's very reminiscent of Sin by NARS.  I'll try and swatch them side-by-side next week.

The Sleek MakeUP Vintage Romance palette and Antique blush will be available from September.  You'll be able to find it at Superdrug.

The Fine Print: PR Samples.

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Wednesday 14 August 2013

Illamasqua Shard vs Lancome Rose Sulfureuse

The sharp-eyed amongst you will have noticed that I've featured two very similar lipstick shades this week, Illamasqua Shard and Lancome's Rose Sulfureuse, both shades of plum, they're both deep and pigmented and cool, I like them both very much.  Typical though, you go and buy a lovely plum lipstick, then attend the launch of yet another beautiful plum lipstick literally minutes later - lipsticks are like buses, sometimes ...

Anyhoo, I thought it might be good to compare the two:

Illamasqua Shard is 4.2g for £16.50, and Lancome Rose Sulfureuse is 4.0g for £21.50.  

In the bullet, Shard appears bluer, and deeper, whereas Rose Sulfureuse appears pinker, both look matte in the bullet, which is surprising.

On swatching, the differences are more pronounced.  Shard is definitely far deeper and cooler, whilst Rose Sulfureuse is pinker, sheerer and far, far, far more glossy.

I applied a sheerer layer of Shard to my lips, than I did Rose, and the differences aren't quite as marked as a result, Shard is redder (but still cool) and rose is cooler, and still pinker.  Shard will last a LOT longer than Rose, however, but Rose will be far kinder to your lips ...

Fancy one?

The Fine Print: Mixture of PR samples and purchases.

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Tuesday 13 August 2013

Illamasqua Reflection Palette and Shard Lipstick

I don't often post about Illamasqua, whilst I love them and a couple of their products are in my daily staples (liquid liner in Abyss, I'm talking about you), sometimes I find them just a little too edgy, not to mention precise for me.  That said, I love the fact that they take risks, and that they feature shades difficult to find elsewhere.  The Sacred Hour collection, however, is designed for the risk-averse, which is far more down my alley.

My picks from the collection (which also encompasses a set of eyelashes, two blushes, two nail polishes, and a new variant of the Skin Base foundation designed purely for the undereye, plus a set of gems) are the Reflection palette and the lipstick in Shard.

Reflection is a selection of almost neutral shades, and Shard is a beautiful plum matte lipstain.  Let's take a closer look:

Natural Light

With Flash

The eyeshadows have an innovative powder to cream formulation, almost a gel, which makes them bouncy in the pan, and almost entirely gets rid of fallout, which, particularly with the darker shades is a blessing!

Clockwise from top left, the shades are: Precipice (icy pale yellow), Acute (silvered plum-mauve), Graphica (sparkling charcoal), and Dart (medium bronze).  The shadows are perfect for being applied with your fingers - I found that applying them with a natural-hair brush washed the shades out a bit.  Here they are, applied with a brush without primer:

The yellow doesn't show up so well on my skin as my skin is slightly yellow, but I love the mix of colours, and think it'd be easy to get a range of looks from this quad.  My favourites in particular are Acute (surprise!) and Graphica.  I find the shadows to be long-lasting even without a primer.

Here you can see them with the lipstick, which I adore. A long-lasting stain, this is a perfect cool purple (or, as illamasqua describe it, a red-violet).   It can be applied fully as a completely opaque lipcolour, or sheered out as a stain, as below:

Applied fully, you can get a proper "goth" look going on, which I rather like, but your mileage may vary.  I don't find it quite as drying as Illamasqua's other matte lipsticks (ironically), and the stain has excellent lasting properties.

What do you think of my picks of the Sacred Hour collection?

The Fine Print: PR Samples.

This post: Illamasqua Reflection Palette and Shard Lipstick 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 12 August 2013

Lancome Rouge in Love - 379N Rose Sulfureuse

I've been sorting through my lipstick collection a bit recently, trying to find the best colours to "match" my new palette, and I realised that I didn't have any really deep but still cool purple shades.  I have SO many burgundy and wine shades, in a variety of textures, but I wanted to explore some cooler shades.  I'm short on plums for some reason, and, well, we are heading into autumn.  Shush, autumn is by far my favourite time of year.

On my way through Debenhams, I did a quick smash and grab at the Lancome counter, and this colour caught my eye.  I've only tried a lipgloss from the range previously, and, whilst I liked the packaging, I wasn't particularly wowed by the formula (or the colour), so haven't really written about the "Rouge in Love" range before.

The packaging is on the dinky side, being slightly smaller than the average  lipstick casing, but there is still a full-size bullet in there which is nice (particularly as this has a £21 price tag).  Billed as a hydrating formula with a six hour wear time, it's a very traditional kind of lipstick, completely in keeping with the slightly retro-feeling case.

It looks rather matte in the bullet, but this is misleading. It's actually a lovely, glossy shade of plum. not quite as dark as it appears here:

I don't think it does last quite as long as six hours on the lips because of the glossy formulation. Certainly, if you eat or drink something you'll have to top-up quicksmart, but it's an average-lasting shade, and it very definitely delivers on the hydration feeling both cushion-y and rather balm-y, and it has excellent pigmentation.  It doesn't, however, stain the lips at all.  Once the gloss is gone, the lipstick's gone completely, I found.

It's a glorious deep, cool raspberry shade on the lips.   Not quite as "milky" as my camera is making it appear here (it's definitely closer to the hand swatch colour, for some reason), it's definitely a statement shade, without being too "vampy".  The formulation is easy to wear - the press bumpf mentions "feather-lightness", and for once, I'm inclined to agree.  It doesn't last quite as long as you'd expect from the box, and the advertising materials, but reapplying is a pleasure.

Overall, I definitely prefer the Rouge in Love over the Gloss in Love formula (though I adore the unusual "click it" opening for Gloss in Love), and I'm delighted with this shade.  After a couple of weeks of £30+ lipsticks on the blog, £21 is beginning to seem positively mid-range ... I need to investigate some mega-cheap makeup soon, I think!

The Fine Print: Purchase.
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