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Monday, 9 July 2012

Chanel Dragon Rouge Allure Laque

So, following on from my posts about Bare Minerals Upper Class Red, and Beaute Weightless Lip Creme in Masochist last week, I thought I'd show you what is considered to be the uber-red liquid lipstick, and that is Dragon, by Chanel.

A classic red, both deep and bloody, and lightly glimmering with gold, this is an undoubtedly gorgeous lip colour.  Sadly, I don't like it very much.  I'll get to why later, but first, here are some pictures:

Chanel's Rouge Allure Laque has an innovatively shaped applicator, ostensibly lip-shaped, the dip in the middle of the doe-foot makes it easier to follow the outline of your lips, and this lends itself to a simpler application than with other, flatter applicators.

The shade itself is almost faultless, a warm, rich, deep shade, it contains golden micro-shimmer to stop the colour looking flat and one-dimensional on the lips without becoming a disco-ball:

It's almost a "geisha" red shade, and is truly beautiful.  Sadly, I don't like the formula much.  I find it has a bit too much slip, and, as a result, can be prone to seepage.  You will need a lipliner with this, and blotting is highly recommended too.  I also find that it doesn't last as long on my lips as other deep reds, which is a disappointment.

So, how does the shade compare with other reds?  Here, I'm comparing it to the two other red liquid lipsticks I've already mentioned:

As you can see, Dragon is a little darker than either Upper Class or Masochiste, and the comparison makes the glimmer just a little more evident too.  It's a little less orange than the other two, having a slightly more blue undertone.

There have been rumours about Dragon being discontinued from the Rouge Allure range for about a year now, but I picked this one up just a couple of months ago.  Overall, I'd say it was nice to have, but ... later on this week I have a replacement for it that is EVEN BETTER.  Yes, you heard me, a liquid lipstick I love.  Possibly a bit too much, now I come to think about, I'll keep you posted ...

 The Fine Print: Chanel Dragon was a purchase.

This post originated at: All rights reserved.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Dear National Magazines,

A journalist from one of you contacted me this week.  You said you wanted to interview me about my makeup collection (I'd responded to an RT on Twitter that I didn't understand, and you emailed me to explain), and you invited me along to a photoshoot too. You said I was "perfect".  I was the right age, had the right kind of collection, and you loved my blog so you really wanted me to take part.

So, in spite of it being a hellishly busy week - it's month end, I'm an accountant, I'm training up a new member of staff, plus we've moved to a new office - I rearranged my day, and gave up the one lunch hour (actually 30 minutes) I've managed to grab in two weeks, in order to do a phone interview with your journalist. I didn't get any lunch in the end. After that, I proceeded to rearrange my weekend plans to fit in your photoshoot.  I inconvenienced a few people, not least of all myself.  But it was okay!  I had a photoshoot in a national magazine to make my excuses about!  People grumbled, but they understood.

I agreed because your magazine was one I felt fit right with my blog.  I'm in your target audience, I have a "don't tell me I can't" attitude, I'm open-minded, optimistic (What?  I am!  Occasionally), and modern in my lifestyle choices. Heck, I'm so modern in my lifestyle choices that I write a blog.  On the internet.  Get me, being all crazy with that new-fangled technology shizzle!  Did I mention I'm down with "the kids"?  They love it when we get all crazy with their hippity-hop slang.  They really do.  Anyway, I'm digressing.  The point is that I get approached by newspapers and magazines quite regularly these days, and I say no to 95% of the offers that I'm made because they don't feel right.  In this case, I thought we were a good match, and that you weren't one of those magazines that take the mickey out of their readers.  I grew up reading my mum's copies of you, and I thought I knew you.

Except, of course, I was wrong.  You've dropped me from your article, and I'm not allowed to be featured, or to go to that "lovely" photoshoot and it's all because my "lifestyle choices" are a little "too" modern for a magazine.

You know why, don't you?  It's because I write a blog. And you "don't want to publicise bloggers".

The day after I gave up my time, and rearranged my week to fit in with your schedule (at very short notice), you rang and told me that you've had a "new editorial directive" and it's about the aforementioned publicising of bloggers.  You said sorry, you were very polite, and seemingly a bit upset at the directive, but it was still a massive smack in the face for me.  

You contacted me!  I didn't email you, begging for publicity, then tell you to bog off after you'd made massive schedule changes at short notice, and sorted everything out, by cancelling on you, with less than 24 hours notice to boot.  No, you wooed me, courted me, made me drop everything for you, then dumped me, even though the thing you didn't like about me at the end was the one thing that made you contact me in the first place!   You found me because I write a blog, and you wanted to feature me because you liked my blog.  But, because I write a blog, you can't feature me, because you don't want to give me publicity?

Sorry, what now?  

Did I even ask you to mention the blog?  I don't think I did, actually.  You mentioned it a lot when you got in touch though, oh boy, didn't you!

Magazines, there's one really big thing that you always forget about bloggers, and that is that we are your readers too.  Our readers read magazines as well.  I love magazines so much I now write for one, part-time, admittedly, and it's only been a couple of week, but still, it's in print and I love it.  My mum will love it too, I don't think she gets the internet, and she's a massive fan of magazines - it's where I got my love of them from. Indeed, from where I'm sitting, right here and now, I can see a pile of magazines six inches high.  I dread to think how many are under the bed.

Now, most magazines are simply falling over themselves to court bloggers, and, whilst it's refreshing to discover one that isn't, let me ask you one thing: why did you bother?  I don't need publicity, really.  Whilst it's always nice to see my name in print, I already get far more attention than a short, fat, bad-tempered, kinda funny-lookin' accountant with three jobs can handle, so I don't really court it  (although, I have taken part in a feature for a national newspaper recently, which I suspect will come back to bite me on the bum at some point. More about this at a later date), and I'm actually too busy living my busy life, making my modern lifestyle choices, and being as "can do" as I can possibly be without being either Pollyanna or a massive walking cliche.

I've had a troubled relationship with magazines for a while now, ever since a (former) idol of mine wrote a blog post about how dreadful bloggers were (oh, the irony! Using a blog to slag off other people with blogs!), calling us hairy-armed blaggers and there was a cacophony of beauty editors literally falling over themselves to chime in with how much they agreed with the article, and patting the author on the back for "telling it like it is".  There was an air of "they had it coming, those uppity bloggers, let's give it to them".  Nice. Ironically, I've worked for several national newspapers, which is far more media experience than some "journalists".  Does it make me a better blogger?  Not really.

The author (and former idol, did I mention that?) then turned it back on the bloggers who had an issue, suggesting that the only bloggers who would have a problem with it were those self same "blaggers".  Actually, very much not true, whilst there are undoubtedly bad bloggers around, suggesting that the only good bloggers around are those who have been journalists first is not only fallacious, it's egregious.  Some of the best writers around don't even want to be journalists, why should they be?  

As a result of all this, I even considered giving up the blog.  These were people I respected and have looked up to for a long time, and if they can think that about their bloggers - of whom I am one by choice, as well as by inclination, and yes, I do consider myself a "blogger" rather than an "online writer" or whatever we're supposed to call ourselves this week - well, what am I doing with my life?  It passed, but, every now and again, I have my doubts about why I do this.

I'm digressing (slightly) again.  It was a distasteful episode for a variety of reasons, and I lost a lot of respect both for the author of that article, and the beauty editors who cheered the author on.

It was distasteful because some of those beauty editors work for magazines which run those "best beauty blogger" award schemes, which usually involve the "winning" bloggers getting an opportunity to write for the magazine!  For free, of course.  But first, those self-same bloggers are "gently encouraged" to write articles about the awards begging their reader to go and vote, thereby giving the magazine tonnes of free publicity!  Oh, and linkbacks to the voting pages of the magazine, lets not forget those. Lots of nice SEO links for the magazines there, lots of nice (free) publicity for the magazines, lots of traffic to the magazine website from the bloggers readers and hey, at the end of it, guess what?  Free content for the magazines!  Again, nice. For the magazine.  The blogger never gets much out of it other than a byline on an article (online-only usually), but hey ho, it's nice that the magazines do something for us, eh?


The magazine who wooed me and dumped me this week wasn't one of those magazines, which is why I thought it would be good to work with them.  I was wrong, there's just as much contempt for bloggers in the magazine-world as I thought there was last year.  They just hide it better.

Let's get a couple of things straight.  Movies didn't kill off the radio.  Television didn't kill off cinema. The internet hasn't killed off TV.  None of those things killed off books, and blogs won't kill off magazines and newspapers.  Yes, some of those industries have had to adapt to survive, and none of them are really in their heyday any more.  Bloggers aren't really going anywhere either, and barely any of us have any plans to "replace" magazines.  We're doing something magazines either can't or won't.  There's room for both.  And when the thing that replaces blogging as the next "big thing" comes along, us bloggers will have to adapt to survive too.  You'll get your laughs in when that happens, national magazines, oh yes you will, just you wait.

In the meantime, I'll be sending this national magazine an invoice for my time and inconvenience.  You betcha.  I won't, however, be buying a copy of it ever again.  And I'm going to tell my mum on you. So there.

Love and kisses, 


This post originated at: All rights reserved.

Friday, 6 July 2012

MAC Club Vs Bare Minerals Mirage

Club is one of those iconic products from MAC that most appear to have in their makeup bag.  Described as a "red-brown with green pearl" it is, in fact, a beautiful, and versatile eyeshadow that deserves its cult status. When I was sent the new Bare Minerals eyeshadow duo in "The Vision", I thought one of the shades looked familiar, so I thought I'd do a comparison post.

Can you see what I saw?  The Vision eyeshadow duo (on the right there), contains a pistachio shade ("Illusion), and, what Bare Minerals refer to as a "deep lagoon" colour "Mirage" on the right.  I immediately thought that this was a dead ringer for MAC Club!  Take a closer look:

Mirage's texture is a little more reflective than Club's, so it looks a little more washed out in these pictures, but next to each other you'd be hard-pressed to say there was any difference at all.

So, how do they swatch?  

Swatches applied with finger, no primer - MAC has two layers, and Bare Minerals has one. Now, it must be said that many MAC shadows need a primer, but just look at the pigmentation of the Bare Minerals!  And you can see the pearl straight away, too.

Here's another look:

Can't deny that the MAC has disappointing application.  Club is one of their Satin finish eyeshadows, and mine is a couple of years old, so it may be that my pot has dried out a little, but I've often found that MAC shadows can be a little hard and underpowered in the pigmentation department over the last few years, I can't deny.

Mirage is from Bare Minerals' new "ready" range which features their famous loose mineral powders made solid - they're not "pressed", by all accounts, but they are a really lovely, soft, buttery texture with excellent pay off and wear.  Just in case you want to see both shades in The Vision palette swatched, here they are:

Again, there is rich pigmentation, but I find the shade itself a little chalky, and, I have to admit, it's not a shade I'd ever wear in a million years, but it's definitely a high-quality shadow.

MAC single eyeshadows cost £12 for 1.5g, and the Bare Minerals duo is £19 for 3g,  (which works out at £9.50 each)

The Fine Print: Purchases and PR samples all mixed up ...

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Thursday, 5 July 2012

Beaute Weightless Lip Creme - Masochist

Let's get one thing out of the way, it's not out of focus, it's arty, mmmkay?
Beaute Weightless Lip Creme in Masochist was inspired by the works of noted fashion photographer Helmut Newton, who was, it might be fair to say, rather taken with images of red lips:

Canadian brand Beaute Cosmetics, brought to us by makeup artist Beau Nelson,  specialises in feather-light lip products, and it may be that Masochist is the most famous product from the line.

It's a gorgeous, deep, blood red, that comes with a standard doe-foot applicator making application very easy.  I find this sets quite quickly, but as with all liquid lipsticks, you need to apply it very carefully.

It's a very light texture, one you really can't feel in wear, so it's lovely for people who don't like the heavy, waxy feeling that you can get with some heavily-pigmented lipsticks.

Again, my cooler skintones make this colour pull a little orange on my skin, but this is a really beautiful shade, and one I've worn very often since I purchased it in a blog sale a while ago.  I only wish these were easier to get hold of!  You can buy Beaute Cosmetics from for £21.

For fun, I thought I'd compare this to the Bare Minerals in Upper Class that I showed you on Tuesday:

As you can (possibly) see, Masochist is a little more orange, and the texture is a little lighter.  There isn't a whole lot between these shades though, so if you aren't a red lip addict like myself, there's probably no need to have both ... I do though, so ...

The Fine Print: Purchase.

This post originated at: All rights reserved.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Summery Coral Lipsticks from Clinique, Max Factor and Sisley

It's summer - allegedly - and I normally swap to more coral-shades in summer.  Whilst the sun hasn't really blessed us much this year, we do have some top lipstick shades around at the moment.  I picked up three at random, and thought you might like to see them:

So, we have Clinique Runway Coral, Max Factor Bewitching Coral, and Sisley Sheer Peach, or, in my words, the orange-coral, the pink-coral, and the peach.  Take a look:

They're all lovely in their own way, the Runway Coral from Clinique is one that I saw a Sales Assistant wearing at one point, and HAD TO HAVE, and the Max Factor is one that I initially trialled last year, and fell in love with.  The Sisley is, well, it's Sisley, and sometimes you just really want a very expensive lipstick. Or is that just me?

The Max Factor is probably the best all-rounder for me, the pinker-shade makes it more wearable with a variety of looks, but the Clinique definitely has more of the wow-factor on the skin, even if it does need more dramatic makeup to carry it off.  The Sisley sheer peach is lovely, but might suit a different skintone better, someone either really fair, or very dark I imagine would look wonderful in this.

What are your picks for summer lipstick shades?

The Fine Print: PR samples.
This post originated at: All rights reserved.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Bare Minerals & Virgin: Upper Class Red Lip Colour

When you think of Virgin Atlantic, what's the first thing you think about?  Well, I normally see red, to be honest, the livery of the planes, the uniform, the  ...  lipstick?

Well, with that in mind, Virgin Atlantic have teamed up with Bare Minerals to create their perfect red shade, matched to the uniforms worn by all Virgin Atlantic staff, designed to last through long-haul flights and not be drying.  Initally it's available on Virgin Atlantic flights, and it's due to be released through Bare Minerals stores later this year.  Oh, and it's actually now part of the VA uniform, so it's the only lipstick the staff can wear!  Having worked for several years in the travel industry prior to becoming an accountant, there's actually nothing particularly new about this, lots of holiday companies dictate the shades of lipstick their staff can wear, but this is the first I've heard about a brand creating the shade in the first place ...

So, how does it measure up?  This is a gorgeously pigmented red, that slips beautifully over the lips, and stays put for quite some time.  However, it does fade, and it will give you the Red Ring Of Doom (the RROD - you'll see this acronym a fair bit over the next couple of weeks, btw) as it does.  

The applicator is a wonderfully flexible springy thing of beauty, but I do find that the wider bits at the base can lead to a slightly smudged application if you're not careful with it.

I find that you must (no ifs, ands or buts) wipe off the excess lipstick back into the tube, because if you don't, you will end up with a lipstick/teeth-type situation that you won't appreciate, but if you apply lightly, in layers, then you'll have a lovely glossy finish that eventually dries down to a stain.

This is a lovely tomato-red, it's actually fairly blue-based, but it pulls a little orange on my cool-toned skin. 

Overall, this is a good liquid lipstick, if you apply it carefully.  I like the shade, don't love the applicator, and like how long it lasts (again, if you apply it carefully), but how does it measure up to other red liquid lipsticks?  Well, I'll let you know that over the next two weeks, where I'll be comparing it to other iconic red liquid lipsticks (from Chanel, Beaute and Guerlain, for a start), and I'll keep you posted.

The Fine Print: PR sample.  From Bare Minerals, not Virgin Atlantic.  Dear Virgin Atlantic, if you're reading, I'm planning a honeymoon.  This is "not" a hint.  Okay, it is a hint.  I'm cheap, sue me. 

This post originated at: All rights reserved.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Bourjois One Seconde Gel Polish: Shades 3, 4, 5, 6, 9 & 15

(L-R: Shade numbers 6, 4, 15, 5, 3, and 9 Didn't realise they had numbers when I lined them up - sigh)
Whilst hanging around in Superdrug (you know, like you do) recently, I had my eye caught by these colourful little numbers!  Also, they were on 3-4-2, so it would have been rude not to pick up a couple or three.

My nails are horrendously ridged at the best of times, and I was intrigued by the gel-like finish promised by these polishes, I was hoping that they would give me a smoother-looking nail.  Oh, and they're pretty, so very pretty!  I'm not much of a fan of pastels, but Bourjois do a nicely saturated, not too white based selection of pastel shades normally, so I'm always willing to give them a try.

(L-R: 15, 9, 6, 5, 3, 4)
Most of the shades have a cream finish, aside from 15, which is a clear coral (which makes an excellent top-coat, to darken other colours), and 5, which is a coral with golden shimmer.  Here's a closer look at the finishes:

As to my ridge-filling requirements, well, I've been very impressed, I mentioned my nails are very ridged at the moment (no ideas why, alas), but I've found that these polishes have a nice, "cushion-y" finish, which minimises their appearance:

My ring finger in particular has the worst ridge on my left hand, and here you can see how smooth it appears here, I couldn't be happier!  The brush is a wide, flat and has a curved edge, meaning you can cover most of the nail in one stroke, I have a bit of trouble with this brush, as I have extremely narrow nail beds, but, once you get used to it, it's very easy to use.  The picture shows two coats with a topcoat, I found that two coats was more than sufficient to a) colour the nails, and b) cover any ridges.  The formula is a little on the thick side, so three coats might be one too many.

Bourjois have informed me that they're releasing more shades in this formula later in the year, and are including some metallics in the range, I can't wait!

The Fine Print: Some are purchases, some turned up on the doorstep AFTER I made purchases, thanks to the existence of the Nail Varnish Fairy. I love the Nail Varnish Fairy, she's a very nice ... um ... mythical being.

This post originated at: All rights reserved.
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