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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 ...

Monday, 2 August 2010

Nail of the Day - China Glaze Re-Fresh Mint

Long-time readers of this blog will know of my (possibly irrational) hatred of pastels.  I don't like them, and what's more, they don't like me.

So, it was a surprise to find that I like this shade:

China Glaze Re-Fresh Mint, from the Up, Up, and Away collection, which I largely avoided as it was ALL pastels.  Or mainly pastels.  Or even possibly just partially pastels.  I forget.  But anyway.  This is a pastel green.

And I like it.  So there.

It was on the thick side, a little, but this shows two coats with a sticky base from Orly, and an OPI topcoat.

It lasted a day before I took it off, btw.  While I liked it, it was still a pastel too far.  I am now sporting greige.  I like greige.  Greige doesn't give me The Fear.
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