31 October 2012

..Boo! October Favourites & Fails :)

Today is the start of the string of holidays that makes this time of the year one of my favourites - Halloween, Bonfire Night, Thanksgiving, Christmas then New Year's. Is everyone else as excited as I am? :)

Anyway, this month I got to try loads of new things - I dug around, I shopped around, and I got to go to lots of events and try new things - so lots of products I've never spoken about before, and many of them I am just so in love with! Unfortunately I didn't have to time to record a video, so apologies for the bad lighting and the text if you, like myself, prefer videos :( But nonetheless, here are some of my favourites (+) from this month, and regrettably, one fail (-)!



+ CoverFX Powder Brush*
This is a fantastic brush that is like a denser equivalent of the MAC 129 - it's great at multitasking, applying and buffing products like powder, blusher and especially bronzer/contour. The fibers are so thin but absolutely packed, making it one of the softest brushes I've ever used! If you like a slightly heavier application or you have sheer products, this will be a total winner. I could swirl it on my face all day!

I recently wrote a post about this, but basically, the colours are absolutely perfect for the upcoming holiday season. The formula is lightweight, thin, yet extremely pigmented and fast-drying. The brushes are flat and flexible. Honestly can't say anything bad! :)

+ Essie Body Language
Body Language is a taupe-tinged milky grey that is perfect for the colder seasons, but not as dark and intense as some other polishes that are popular around this time of year. Don't expect much from the formula though, it's horrid! However, the colour makes it so worth it :) Check my Instagram for a better photo!

+ Dior Addict Miss Dior 343
This is what I think all tinted lipbalms and lipsticks should be like. Even with my highly pigmented lips, the formula is just enough to make my lips look lighter and peachy, but not completely masked. It's extremely hydrating and easy to use without a mirror :)

+ MAC Satin Taupe Eyeshadow
My long lost love, this is one of my favourite eyeshadows from MAC. It's a plummy brown, and a great crease colour if you want an every day, day-time smokey look which is a look I'm back to sporting after a very long break! :)


+ Clarins Hydra-Matte Lotion
This has been my saviour this month as my oiliness on my combination skin has calmed down, and the formula is just right to matte that out, but also hydrate the normal and dry parts of my face. I wouldn't say it makes my skin normal, but I don't need to powder or blot during the day with this which is a massive relief! This used to not work when the oiliness was crazy but for the mildly oily ladies out there, this is a must-try! :)

+ Dr. Jart+ Most Moist Water-Up Serum*
For me this has been the star of the Dr. Jart+ skincare that I've been trying, and truly the only product I've ever used that I feel hydrates from deep down and actually works on your skin from within, making a long-term difference. It's like moisturising your body - it wont make a long-term difference unless you start drinking more water! (granted that should help your face too haha)
My dehydration lines have minimised and my skin looks a lot healthier and brighter than before. You can tell it sinks in because after looking wet after application,  in about 1-2minutes, you'll notice your face is back to being matte. An absolute star and a recommendation for any skintype, as it doesn't make me oilier or drier, just hydrates from within and keeps you looking healthy :)

- Real Techniques Travel Essentials Brush Set
Oh I was so excited to try my first ever Real Techniques set, but alas it was a no-go for me. The foundation brush I felt was a bit small, and the eyeshadow brush didn't pick up powder very well at all. Although it was okay in blending concealer under the eyes. The Multi-Task Brush I didn't feel picked up powder well either and more than anything, I felt like it didn't deposit much at all. The shape I also found slightly awkward - round, pinched but not very tapered. Very sad indeed to see a fail in a product so many people love! :(


Anyway, those were my favourites and fails of the month! Some absolute gems in there that I was so excited to share with you guys :)
Have you tried any of these products before? What were your favourites & fails this month? Oh, and before I forget..

Happy Halloweeeeen!
Oh I do love a bit of Halloween, me
I do miss the good old days of Trick or Treating, not gonna lie!

<3yu

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*Items received for consideration
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30 October 2012

Holiday Nails? Sorted.

Every holiday season since starting a blog, I've been looking for the perfect holiday nails. First year, I think I painted my nails gold, green and red - acceptable. Last year, I bought Mavala's Pure Diamond. Inching ever so close to the perfect Holiday Nails, this year I've discovered..

Ted Baker Nail Duo in Golden Girl and Totally Twinkle




These new Duo Nail Sets are perfect in so many ways - they're a great formula, they're so light-reflective and perfect for that glitter-covered look, and they are super affordable at £8.50 a pair. They come in two other shades - a blue set (Blue Moon and Space Dust) and a pink set (Cherry Bomb and Sugar Rush). If you're more creative you can even use these separately from each other, but with other polishes from your collection. A great example is the ever so creative and talented Fee!

The curse of a DSLR is that it captures more than the naked eye can see. If you were to see my nails with your bare eyes, you'd think it was a glitterbomb! No matter how you use it, this particular duo is perfect for the festive season with the bling and oomph needed for a proper celebration.



As you can see Golden Girl is actually not as plain of a golden pearl as you may think. It's actually a pearl base with flecks in it, which catches the light like crazy and gives it more edge and a glimmer factor than a smooth pearl. It ups the bling, if you will, and even on its own is perfectly celebratory yet classy. The formula on this one is what you'd expect from something much much more expensive- it's very pigmented yet thin, so it's lightweight on your fingertips and dries super quickly. I was beyond impressed.

Totally Twinkle is a clear base with glitter - but LOTS of glitter. It can be built up quite a lot even in 3 layers, so great if you want aforementioned glitterbomb nails, but also good if you just want a few sparkles here and there. Because the base is quite creamy you can better control where you want the glitter. The drying time was no problem even for an impatient soul like mine, and removing it was not as tedious a task I've known removing other glitter polishes to be.

On both, the brushes are wide and quite flexible, making application very quick and easyThe only thing that annoys me are the square lids that never screw on to the perfect angle once you open it - which is why I popped them off, and they're looking slightly more Chanel than MUA at the moment haha - brilliant! Other than that, I genuinely cannot say anything bad about them.


Not only have I worn the whole shabang to a wedding few weekends ago, I also used them in a slightly obsessive Bond-inspired nails for going to watch Skyfall (I'm a lover of the Bond films! You can see my Solitaire, from Live and Let Die, tutorial from She Said Beauty here.)

It's nice to have a few celebratory nail polishes here and there, and this duo definitely fits the bill with its bling paired with affordability, flexibility and absolutely fantastic formula! :) I will undoubtedly be sporting these on my fingertips closer to the holiday season this year! I do hope Ted comes out with a few more nail polishes because I want more - the formula is too flawless for the price!

You can get the Ted Baker Duo Nail Sets from Boots and in selected Ted Baker stores.

<3yu
*Received for consideration.
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28 October 2012

Fluttering Boudoir Lashes

For the past four years, I haven't tried a single set of fake lashes from the UK which suited my eyeshape. Because of my forward set eyes, lack of a visible hollow and thick eyelids, many of these fake lashes can look, well, fake.

So yes, I'd thought about lash extensions before, wondering if they'd be more customised and 'real' looking than glue-on lashes. To find out the answer, I was given the opportunity to have a go of the half-set from Asma's Boudoir Lashes.


The process..
The process was a synch. The business is run within a Becca salon in South Kensington, by the lovely Asma. She's super nice and very good at what she does. You basically lay down, and the most uncomfortable part is when she tapes down your lower lashes. But that's it and the rest is her doing her thing.

The lash extension business was much more complicated than I had initially thought. There are various brands that make these extensions, and some are more tapered at the ends than others, making them look more natural and flirty. All of the ones Asma uses are black, which means if you have lighter lashes, then Asma will tint your lashes beforehand for a small fee. The basic sets are made with plastic, but Asma also offers cruelty-free Siberian mink fur lashes as well.

As I said, I got the half-set or the Mascara Effect service, which was a 60 minute treatment. And this is how it turned out.


The result..
I absolutely loved the effect. I loved how natural it looked, and I felt my eyes appeared more open. I've found that since I've found the Shu Uemura eyelash curlers, that I just looked more awake, more feminine and my eyes looked bigger - so to have that without any effort whatsoever was absolutely amazing.

What I was most impressed by was how Asma can assess your eye shape and customise lashes for your eye shape. They seemed to be just like my lashes, but longer and more curled.

In terms of how long these last, they looked completely normal on me for 4-5 weeks before I started using mascara/they started looking wonky. They completely fell out just over a month and 3 weeks later - so quite a while! It's a lot longer than I've heard most last, and I think that's primarily due to Asma's techniques and experience. They definitely give you the bang for your buck.

Did the plusses weigh out the minuses?
I think it depends on what you're going for. It's nice to have such a natural look, especially for when you don't wear a lot of make-up i.e. during the warm weathers or when you're super busy.

There were other downsides to this too. One major one was that I couldn't use products with oil or glycols in it - which meant that my favourite Kose Oil Cleanser went out the window, as did my REN Micropolish. Second was that when I wore darker eyeshadows, my lashes would get lost in the colour - this might be different for the Full Effect set. I did also experience some discomfort in the 2nd week with tangling and pulling but that seemed to have been temporary.

You can see my real eyelashes in between the long gorgeous ones ;)

So yay or nay?
There's no denying the ease, quality and prettiness of these. But in terms of cost, it's whether I would pay £90 for this. To be perfectly honest, I probably wouldn't - not for everyday, anyway. As much as I love how it looks, I find £90 to be quite high price for anything temporary. But then again, I've heard cheap and unexperienced application can cause pain and a set that does not last very long - so if you have the dosh, I would highly recommend going to Asma.

The great news is, Boudoir Lashes offer a 2 for 1 deal during the week, so you can bring along a friend for half the price. For £45 I would definitely get this if I'm going on holiday, when I don't want to spend ages getting ready, and I want a natural look and not wear a lot of make-up! No need for lash curling, mascaras or eyeliner really, and I completely trust Asma in the quality of these babies.

Costs aside, I know most people get extensions for special events, but perhaps because I got the half set, I wouldn't recommend these for events where you'll be wearing heavy eye-make up. I'd assume the the Volume Effect, or the full set, would be much more appropriate for upcoming events like Halloween, Christmas or even as far as New Years.

So overall, I think the half sets are more suitable for busy times and holidays. You really can't deny the quality and the benefits of getting lash extensions, but there are a few downsides as well. For £45 though in certain circumstances, I think it'd be completely worth it!

Have you had lash extensions before?

<3yu

*Received for consideration.
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24 October 2012

Today's Make Up Bag.. Wedding Style.

Like most girls, weddings get me excited. It's generally a pretty experience especially when, like in this case, it's a celebration for two lovely lovely people who I've come to adore over the past few months. The tables were adorned with pine cones, vines, pebbles, and wait for it - jars of sweets! - and the atmosphere was just lovely, especially in such a beautiful setting like the countryside in Wiltshire. It was just heartwarming and extremely enjoyable - congratulations Stuart and Carrie! (Hope you are enjoying Turkey, lucky lucky people.)

Now let's not forget here - I'm a beauty blogger. So of course I thought long and hard about my make-up for that day - perhaps too long to mention without a level of embarassment! I don't have a FOTD for you sadly, but I do have the contents of my make-up bag that I pranced around with that day (literally), and some tips and new products that I've fallen in love with..


MAC Studio Fix Fluid
Long-wearing, full-coverage, matte - what more could you want for a long day and a dance-filled, slightly pissed, evening do? This baby did me proud and stayed put, kept the oils at bay and gave me a great canvas for the rest of the face. Granted it has SPF that may cause ghost-face in flash photography, I did manage to avoid most - except for at the summoning of the bride in the 'family photo' - I'm not even family haha!

MAC Studio Fix Powder
For good measure, a dusting of this will ensure an even longer lasting and more flawless base with that extra bit of coverage. I took this with me in case I got oily, but one dusting in the morning was enough to last me!

Estee Lauder Pure Colour Eyeshadow in French Vanilla and L'Oreal Super Liner in Black Crystal
Let's face it. Everyone needs to prepare for some eye make-up ruin-age at weddings.


CoverFX Powder Brush*
My new love. This is a fantastic brush that is unlike any other powder brush. Basically it picks up product like no other, it's soft like no other, and it is multi-tasking like no other - and I don't just mean multi-products, I mean multi-techniques! A perfect brush for on-the-go, especially for those who like a bit more of a heavy application. More on this in the future, I'm sure!

This has been a firm love of mine for the past few weeks, as it gives a stunning glow to your face, as well as really lighting up your under eye. Sometimes I have to stop myself from just slathering my face in this.. true story.

My undereye concealer of choice recently - I had ridiculous bags this weekend so I wasn't going to cast a shadow with these on the dancefloor! Luckily this lasted quite well, and I didn't need a top up at all.

Dior Addict Lipstick in Miss Dior
Perhaps the only thing that I actually used in the evening out of the whole make-up bag (typical), this was this perfect lipstick. No need for a mirror, just a low coverage peach lipstick with enough moisture to double as a lipbalm. Perfect.

So that was that! For the rest of my face I wore some standard Urban Decay Naked Palette smokey eye, and a bit of Tarte Amazonian Clay blush in Blissful! We had a lovely weekend (yes I realise I've said it was today's make up bag haha.. OCD me!), it was a lovely ceremony and I think my boyfriend especially enjoyed being an usher - I enjoyed the pate and the wine, thoroughly. Probably too much as I forgot to charge my phone for all the Instagramming I should've been doing! Very bad blogger, very bad.

And before I go, a quick sneak peak at my nails for the wedding..

Which I will tell you about at a later date ;)

Have you been to a wedding lately? What's your favourite part about them?

<3yu

*Product received for consideration.
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17 October 2012

Launched: Dr. Jart+ Skincare

It's not often that I'm "allowed" to continue my beauty musings at the dinner table, i.e. swatching away, sniffing away - but in this rare occasion earlier this week, I swatched and sniffed to my heart's content, as I got wined and dined, and learnt about Dr. Jart+ at Bibigo, a Korean restaurant off of Oxford Street. There, we were introduced to the new Dr. Jart+ skincare line that launched in September, and for a Dr. Jart virgin like myself, I also got the chance to learn about the famous BB cream.

Instead of waiting to do a review, I thought I'd do a quick intro to the line so you guys know about it incase you are on the lookout for new skincare! I wanted to do this, because I felt this line was very promising due to its dermatological background and most of all, their success in South Korea.

The skincare is comprised of three lines - the Pore Refine series, the Most Moist series, and the V7 series. I love how they've tailored it for different needs, which is great for everyone, even combination skinned people like me who can cut and paste as we need!


This is a lightweight, light coverage and creamy base that you can use on its own or as a primer. It's slightly tinged with the grey you find in a lot of Korean BB creams. It's meant to improve skintone and scarring over time, as well as being infused with moisture with ocean water and hyaluronic acid. It also has a high SPF25. Sadly, it only comes in one shade which I don't feel adjusts very well to my warm skintone, but I usually fix it with some powder or bronzer, or a foundation if I want a heavier coverage. This is very lightweight so it doesn't really add that much weight!

Dr. Jart is one of the few genuine BB creams you can get in the UK, so I'd encourage anyone to give it a go! The Garnier, L'Oreal, Origins, Maybelline "BB creams" are NOT BB creams - tell me it is, and I'll just go headbutt a wall.

The Pore Refine series is for more combination, oily and spot-prone skin. This mask is made from natural clay, contains rosemary and witch hazel extracts, all of which are meant to clean pores, control blackheads and absorb sebum. Sounds delightful for my oily t-zone and large pores! It's quite lightweight - not completely 'mud-like', and it definitely isn't drying at all. I'm not a huge mask girl, but I'll definitely be giving this an intensive test run in the next few weeks!

L to R: Water Fuse BB Cream, Re-Tighten Mask, Water-Up Serum, VitaLaser 2.1

Dr. Jart+ Most Moist Water-Up Serum (£30.00)
This contains hyaluronic acid, cactus extract and oat extract, and is free from GMO, mineral oil, talc and pigments - yes, this makes me very happy indeed. This is a very gel-like texture but to my relief, it doesn't leave any sticky residue and genuinely sinks into your skin leaving your skin looking as it did before you applied it. As the name says, this is meant to infuse moisture into your skin, and create a barrier so moisture doesn't evaporate. Although I haven't used this for very long, I feel it sinks in so nicely and really smoothes dry patches. I'm excited to see what it's capable of over time, hopefully hydration from deeper down!
Lastly, perhaps the most hyped about product from the line is the VitaLaser 2.1. The V7 line is for brightening the skin by accelerating skin cell regeneration, protecting skin and providing it with anti-oxidants. It's almost like an ointment for freckles and blemishes, and I use this on my chin where I have acne scarring and existing acne. This leaves a slightly sticky finish, so it's something I use in the evening or if I'm not doing much that day. I have high hopes for this due to its popularity, but it apparently takes 7 days for first signs of improvement and 7 weeks to see full effects - super excited! If it works (which I've been feeling like it does so far), it'd be worth the slightly higher price point.

I really enjoyed the food as well - it's absolutely brilliant and I highly recommend giving it a go :)

The packaging for all of these products are great. Not only do they look very pretty (especially the V7 line - they are like Dr. Perricone's brown glass bottles), they're very practical - pumps, tubes, etc.. My favourite is the serum, where the deep click of the lid is very satisfying indeed! You also get a hefty amount with each product, more than you'd get from most other brands - 30ml of the serum, 100ml of the mask, 30ml of the VitaLaser and 50ml of the BB cream.

These are only a few of the products that are now available in the range at Boots. By the way, did you know the Dr. Jart isn't a person? The products are made by 22 doctors, who created the name to signify the marriage of medicine (Dr) and art - joined together by the junction of the J? Oh yeah, CLEVERRRRR!

How do you feel about Dr. Jart+, will you be checking them out?

<3yu
*Received for consideration.
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16 October 2012

The Real Deal of Jumbo Pencils

Now I started this post thinking of framing these as the best products from Sephora. But then I realised - no, these are the best products in the whole category of pencil eyeshadows! So how could I not tell you guys about it?!

SEPHORA Jumbo Liner 12hr Wear Waterproof Pencil



I think many companies struggle to make EVERYTHING perfect about a crayon eyeshadow - they seem deceptively difficult to design. Some mush up and are impossible to sharpen; some are so hard they tug and water your eyes - and the part that I find most struggle with, is their lasting  and anti-creasing power.

However, the Sephora Jumbo Liners are nothing of the sort. They're soft, but don't mush; they're pigmented and don't tug at your eyelids; and what's most - they don't crease nor budge. Although I need primer with most eyeshadows and they still crease on me, these are my foolproof option. In fact, I'm sat here with red hands and arms because I was trying to rub off the swatches with a towel, but the buggers wont come off!

When you swatch them, they are so so smooth, they apply evenly, blend nicely with your fingers and come in loads of great colours. The ones I have are Taupe and Gold, which are both great, useable shades. As you can see from the second picture, the shine on them is fantastic as well. Although many of Sephora's products are great, these are the cream of the crop - forget the NYX Jumbo Pencils, these are the real deal!



If you are ever near a Sephora, I'd highly recommend grabbing one, if not a few! Given the chance I'd probably pick up the whole lot! These are an absolute winner amongst crayon eyeshadows, most of which I find are always short of the big time. They're also super affordable at $12/€9.90, and pretty to look at - nope, nothing bad to say here at all!

Have you tried these pencils?
What are your favourite products from Sephora's own brand?

<3yu

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*These were given to me as a gift by my best friend - second one was from my request though teehee ;)
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14 October 2012

Instagrunday #9


1. Found my long lost MAC Viva Glam Cyndi! 2. Trying some Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Gels* 3. Got spoilt rotten by Dr. Jart to a lovely Korean dinner* at Bibigo 4. The Stylist did an amazing piece on lip colours and lipsticks 5. Delicious Korean pancakes 6. A little Space NK purchase :) 7. Meza Bar with primary school friend - it'd been 15 years! 8. Got to meet Alesha Dixon and the Pixiwoo sisters at the Avon Arctic Goddess launch* (post here) 9. Sephora goodies from my best friend's care package - so sweet :)

How was your week? :)

<3yu
*PR event/received for consideration.
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13 October 2012

Launching November: AVON Arctic Goddess Collection

Aside from my boyfriend's mom's catalogue and my SuperShock eyeliner, I'd never really come in contact with Avon, so I was quite intrigued when I was invited to the launch of their winter collection:

Arctic Goddess (Limited Edition)



Given the blue hues, this isn't a collection I would have set a finger on normally, but as I got the chance to play around with it - it's actually not as hands-offish as I thought it'd be! There are some gems that I quite enjoyed :) The collection consists of an eyeshadow palette, three nailpolishes and a lipgloss.

1. True Colour Eyeshadow Quad in Arctic Goddess
This quad - for me - feels like it was made to fit into the collection, not necessarily to be a staple or very useable. They're gorgeous, don't get me wrong, but they're not exactly friendly. You've got a blue-based pastel purple sheen, a sheer shimmering aqua, a matte sky blue and a very gorgeous and very dark dusty navy. The look on Alesha Dixon on the promotional pictures are gorgeous - but I think it's a catwalk look rather than an 'everyone'-look.

The aqua is super sheer with tiny glitters - given the bright hue, it doesn't look great sheer in my opinion.
The navy is deep, dusty and with a tinge of green - gorgeous and is what I wished NARS's Dogon would be. It would look gorgeous to deepen a golden look, and the application is smooth.
The sky blue is a lot duller than in the pan, and is a bit hard to blend. It's the most pronounced shade on Alesha - pretty, but again, pretty catwalk-y.
The pastel purple may look like dangerous waters as it could easily be used a la chav, but it's actually relatively sheer and slightly duochrome blue. It's very smooth, applies evenly and has a very pretty sheen - it kind of reminds me of Digit from MAC.

Sadly to me, I can't imagine any of these shades going very well together, but I can see 2 being used really nicely on their own!
The winners in this palette are the navy and the pastel purple, in both use and formula!

Some other eyeshadow palettes from Avon - Arctic Goddess is the second from the right in the middle row :)

2. Nailwear Pro+ in Arctic Waters, Chilling Teal and Green Goddess (L to R)
These were what caught my eye the most! My least favourite was Arctic Waters, which is a paint bottle sky blue with slight shimmers - something I imagine most would use for nail art rather than on its own. Chilling Teal is a very very glittery sheeny mint - absolutely stunning, and I can feel a bit of a shiver go down my spine as it really does scream "arctic"! It would be great as a gradient on clear or white nails. My other favourite is Green Goddess, a metallic forrest green with gold shimmer and sheen. The duochrome-like sheen on this is fantastic, and really makes for an interesting dark green. Very showy though with its yellow and green elements, but a great mix of fun without being too bright, and would look great with a very plain outfit.

The brush is flat and super easy to use, but the formula does require a bit of patience when you're waiting for it to dry, which is why I won't be rushing to try other shades from this line. That being said, I wouldn't hesitate to buy one if the shade catches my eye. The packaging is standard and nice but don't expect anything luxurious - the glue between the lid and brush on my Green Goddess seems a bit loose, but given the price, it's nothing I can't work around :)

3. Ultra Colour Rich Brilliance Lip Gloss in Pink Icicle
If you click the link above, you'll find that the brush is the defining part of this lipgloss - it's dinky! But this give you lots of control as well as precision that you can't get from typical applicators (granted it takes a bit longer to apply). Pink Icicle is a watermelon pink with the tiniest blue and pink glitters. When swatched, it's pretty much clear with hardly a tint of pink, with the gloss and tiny glitters taking most of the attention. But this again is hardly noticeable on the lips, and just comes up as a generic pink and blue tinge on your lips. For me, it turns my lips quite berry-like. In terms of the formula, it's very smooth, glossy and lovely - I can't fault the formula and it's something I could recommend to people who don't need quite as much pigment as I do!

 Me being a fan girl of Alesha Dixon and the Pixiwoo sisters, Nic and Sam!

Overall, the collection is fun and different - but some items might require more imagination than most. The winners for me are the mint and green nail polish shades and the gloss's formula. The eyeshadow palette seems to be a hit and miss, and I'm tempted to get a different, more useable one to see what formulas on other palettes are like, because there's obviously some great formulas under Avon's sleeves!

The collection launches in November - you can find the stockists at www.avonshop.co.uk for the UK and www.avon.ie for Ireland! Products start at an affordable £6 :)

What are your thoughts on the collection?
What are your favourite Avon products?

<3yu


*PR event, items received for consideration.
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7 October 2012

September Favourites & Fails

With September being a slightly less hectic month, I had chances to go shopping, time to be more experimental and generally be a more interesting beauty-addict!

However, as with anything, when you try more things you also find the not-so-goods among the gems, so I've decided to throw in a few "non-favourites" each month (I know 'Fail' is a bit harsh, but a little alliteration never hurt anyone ;)). I always find videos and blogs that talk about products that the maker disliked really helpful, because I feel like it's always a warning sign that I take into consideration when I'm shopping. At the end of the day, I suppose most bloggers start because we want to help people find the good and avoid the bad in the beauty world, so it makes sense really to highlight both sides!


So yes, I'm having lots of fun with make-up, more than I have in a very long time! I'd love to hear what you've been loving, I'm back into my super researching mode and could always do with more things to read about! :)

What have you liked this month?
Anything you despised?

<3yu


*Details of products in the YouTube page.
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5 October 2012

Enrapture's Extremity Heated Rollers

A few weeks back I posted a rave review of the Enrapture Totem Styler. I love it, and I still can't get enough of it. Now, I've had a go at another one of Enrapture's creations:

Enrapture Extremity Heated Rollers





What You Get..
As with the Totem Styler, this product is high quality. It has a nice strong cable, the body is sturdy and the clips are gorgeous. The lid is slightly flimsy, in that it just kind of rests on the top and doesn't clip. There's a velvet-y coating around the rollers that helps the hairs from catching, and the clips also have metal plates to keep the heat in. I find these help in making your curls turn out very glossy! You get 10 big rollers and 10 smaller rollers.

Now this is probably enough for most but for me, it's shy another 3 or 4 rollers. I have lots and lots of hair as you may know, so even when I stretch to the biggest chunk of hair a roller could hold, I usually end up with just two rollers to do my entire crown. So for those with super thick hair (I'd say averagely thick hair is okay), I'd be slightly wary unless you plan to use rollers just for one part of your hair.

What surprised me however, is that the length of your hair doesn't matter. Granted your roots will never curl completely well with rollers, that's not really the look most people go for with these. If you have ever read Corrie's blog (and if you haven't you have no excuse not to now), you know her hair is lusciously long - and she gets on with these just fine. In fact, 'fine' is an understatement - I wish my hair turned out like hers with these! (More on that later!)



How easy is it to use?
In terms of ease of use, let's just say I was as "beginner" as I could possibly have been - I don't think I'd ever even been in the same room as a set of heated rollers before! For me, it wasn't the machine I found difficult to use, but rather the rolling itself. There's a lot of things that you kind of grasp as you go, so you have to be willing to invest that time to learn how to use them if you are also a beginner. I think it took me about 5 go's before I was willing to go out with what I'd rolled!

But I think the quality of the rollers, how quickly the rollers heated (5min) and how easy it was to understand how they worked made it a lot easier for me to keep persisting. The heat penetrated the rollers so well (when I go back to rewrap a chunk literally right after I'd just clipped them in, it's already slightly curled!), the clips were easy to attach and remove, and it's never tugged or pulled my hair - even with my kack-handedness! Trying is hardest when you know the result is impossible with what you have, but it was always quite clear it was me and not the rollers :P.



How does it make your hair?
Now in terms of results - I must say I'm not as big of a fan as the results the Totem Styler give me, but that's just taste. The results are what I imagine you'd get if you used a curler and a styler - lots of big waves and volume up at the top, and big bouncy curls at the bottom. It looks quite classy, elegant and very sophisticated - adjectives to describe myself? Not by a mile! (I'm more of a cray-hair person, as you may know from my last perm.. no, no link, not making it easy for you to find that shot! :P) But it's definitely a good one to have up my sleeve should anything of that sort come up at a very short notice.

Given my problems with big hair, and not liking the above hairstyle for everyday, I've been trying to use the big rollers on my crown and fringe, and my Totem Styler on the rest of my hair. I found the big rollers are absolutely superb for getting that airy big-ness at the top that looks very polished but not overdone (a la beehive). These are my favourite part of having the rollers, and what makes these rollers so different from curlers in my opinion!

I still haven't got these rollers down to a T, even after a month, although the bends and kinks have slowly disappeared. If you're a beginner, be prepared to be patient! :)



Verdict?
Overall, I can't deny it's a great product - it's high-quality, easy to use and very different from what a curling iron can give you. I think whether it's worth the higher price tag (definitely by no means the most expensive product, but there are cheaper options) is how familiar you are with it, and if you aren't, how much you plan on using it. Either way, I think it's hard to be dissatisfied with the product itself because I genuinely cannot see a fault!

Apologies for the slightly vague review - I know without comparisons with other products and "how-to"s, these things can be slightly annoying. Hopefully in the future I'll master these like a boss, and bring you guys a tutorial!

Have you tried heated rollers before?
What are your thoughts on Enrapture's products?


You can get the Enrapture Extremity Heated Rollers for £75 on Debenham's, BootsArgos or other stockists.

<3yu


*Received for consideration.
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3 October 2012

Illuminare, The World's First Liquid Mineral Foundation

Just a few years ago, I'd have automatically assumed that mineral foundations were always loose powders. But we all know it's since changed - recently, the likes of The Body Shop and Maybelline have started transforming these mineral foundations into liquid and cream forms. However interesting, I realised that I'd never stopped to think who was the first to make that shift.

It turns out to be Illuminare, an American brand created in 2000 who are vegan and animal-friendly. Pretty excited at the prospect of what the first ever liquid mineral foundation was like, I was given the chance to take one of their foundations, the Concealing Mineral Foundation, for a test run.

Illuminare Concealing Oil-Free Mineral Foundation with SPF 20


Packaging

First of all - I love the packaging. It's absolutely tiny and highly adorable - the tube without the spout is the length of my middle-finger, and it's so practical, super light, and easy to control how much comes out.

However, this means you get less for your money. At £21.95 for 15mL, you are getting half the size of most foundations for the typical middle-range price point, which makes this probably the most expensive foundation I own per mL. That being said, it'd be nice if other expensive base products like those from Chantecaille or Hourglass would offer half-sizes so customers can at least give the products a go before they decide if the full size is worth the arm and a leg! But read on, as there's a way to try before you shell out! ;)

Formula

I suppose there is a bit of a justification, in the sense that you really don't use much. The coverage is medium to full, and a little really does go a long way - which completely surprised me because my image of mineral foundations, is that they're quite low coverage! If you see the swatch below, the blended swatch took one dot of foundation - the dollop on the left could cover my whole face.

As you can probably tell, the finish is what the package claims to be - semi-matte and very natural. It's very comfortable for people with acne-prone skin as it covers blemishes well, and it also holds in the oils relatively well too. I also found it gave a very smooth finish to my skin. However, it's not quite light-weight and you can definitely feel something - not much - there. But given the coverage, I think this is quite common!


What's also worth mentioning is that unlike most foundations which are matte/semi-matte AND full/medium coverage, this foundation is super creamy, and a dream to blend. This is what usually makes or breaks a foundation for me, but this is really really easy to use and apply. It's so smooth, no tugging, or early drying, and it applies very evenly with either your fingers or a Real Techniques Expert Face Brush.

Shade

This is where my heart sinks. Sadly, the shade range is is only 6 shades, and most people will have to pick this online. You see where this is going - I've got the wrong shade :( The shade I have is Porcelain, the third lightest which is a few shades too light and also pulls pink - I do realise this doesn't show in the picture. I'd probably recommend Porcelain to NW20-ish shades (I'm currently NC30).

Ranging from lightest to darkest is Alabaster, Florentine Fair, Portofino Porcelain, Sienna Sun, Tuscan Toast. Judging from Porcelain, I believe the swatches online are a bit lighter than the actual products. Although the disadvantage is that you may never see the product before you buy it, the good news is that Cocktail Cosmetics do offer samples of the middle three shades for 50p or even a trial foundation pack for £4.50. Much more risk averse than getting the wrong shade, or shelling out £21.95 for a small amount of foundation.

Verdict

I love the formula - it's super smooth, the coverage is great (even when it's lighter than my skin!), and the finish is really natural but on the slightly matte side. If you can find a shade that matches you, and you like semi-matte finishes that are still natural, but you also really want that coverage, I think this may be a great one to try.

But again, I highly recommend ordering some samples before you buy this product - it will be worth the extra few quid! I have a feeling that the 'jumps' in between the shades may be quite severe, given there's only 6 shades. Given the high coverage, if the shade and tone isn't right, it can be very disappointing!

Overall, very impressed that this came from the creators of the first ever liquid mineral foundation - it's pretty blimmin' impressive for a first go! I'll definitely be ordering a sample in my next order to Cocktail Cosmetics (watch out for their P&P though, it's a hefty £3.95!) - I feel like I'm missing out on using this foundation! :(


Had you heard of Illuminare?
What are your thoughts on mineral foundations?


You can get Illuminare's products from Cocktail Cosmetics :)

<3yu

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*Received for consideration.
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1 October 2012

NOTD: Paint Your Pinkie Pink!

In the spirit of Breast Cancer Action Month which kicks off today, I thought I'd join in on Breast Cancer Campaign's Paint Your Pinkie Pink campaign, and do a NOTD.. or rather, a NOTM!


My first pink pinkie look is quite standard and slightly understated, with an overall theme of pink but with two different shades. This makes it slightly more work-appropriate I think, but still accentuating the pink pinkie (very different from the ring finger accent I'm used to!)

The shades I used are OPI Kiss on the Chic for the baby pink, and OPI Elephantastic Pink for the pinkie. These two are great shades, and the latter was a summer favourite of mine last year.

Here are other pinks from my collection that may be making an appearance over the course of the month..


(Click on shade names to see swatches :))
Mavala Vegas Pink - my favourite hot pink, which is a few shades deeper than your typical hot pink, and an absolute showstopper!

OPI Teenage Dream - a stunner since its release, this is a sheer pink with rainbow and silver glitter. See my favourite use of this colour here.

OPI Kiss on the Chic - a slightly blue-toned baby pink, this is the shade you see above!

OPI Elephantastic Pink - slightly warmer than Mavala Vegas Pink and slightly lighter, this is your standard, but not neon, hot pink.

Rimmel Rose Libertine - for those looking for something more salmon-ey and less 'hot', this is a fantastic and unique shade that is perfect for more classier or toned-down approaches!

As I stated, Paint Your Pinkie Pink is a campaign run by the charity Breast Cancer Campaign. They've also teamed with nail giants Nails Inc., to bring an exclusive breast cancer awareness nail polish. If I didn't have Teenage Dream, I think this would be an instantaneous purchase! Breast Cancer Campaign's work is absolutely fantastic, and awareness campaigns like this is so crucial and effective for health causes like theirs! I enourage you to give their site a gander! :)
Will you be participating in Paint Your Pinkie Pink?
What are your favourite pink nailpolishes?

<3yu
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Launching Today! Liz Earle Botanical Essence No.15 EDP

I'm sure there's hardly anyone on the bloggosphere who has never had the scents of Liz Earle grace their vanity or their bathroom. I personally loved the smell of her Hot Cloth Cleanser - it was so unique, so down to earth and pretty at the same time.

So I'm pleased to announce that there is a new Liz Earle perfume that will be joining her original award-winning perfume, No.1 (which I haven't had a sniff of yet, bad Yu), and that the brand new No.15 does not disappoint in any way, shape or form.

Liz Earle Botanical Essence No.15 Eau de Parfum (50mL)


Firstly, the packaging is exquisite yet down-played - one of those that you never want to chuck. It's adorned with graphics of the scents included in the perfume, and is a magnetised folding box that is easy enough to open should you wish to keep your perfume in it. It's very classy, and very vanity and travel friendly. It would be excellent for a Christmas gift - or any other gift, for that matter.

What's more, inside you will find the names of the plant illustrations used for the scents, as well as some information about the perfume itself. The slot for the product is covered in a suede-y material - very luxurious but not over the top.


The same can be said about the actual bottle. It's very different from No1, but very in sync with the rest of her range - a matte, earthy beige-white with a slightly rubbery texture, that without the feminine glass lid, would be quite unisex and plain. It's elegant, feminine and simple. Absolutely stunning.


The scent - it's exactly what the bottle hints it will smell like. Elegant and composed - but not quite so simple. It's quite oriental and spicy, with a dominant scent of what I assume is bergamot, cedarwood and patchouli (ashamed to say I'm not quite sure what these smell like exactly!). I can also smell strong undertones of the cinnamon and rose, and for those of you who know scents quite well, this is what Liz Earle says:


"Feminine tones of pink pepper, cinnamon and bergamot create a spiciness that is beautifully sexy and skin-like. A hint of captivating Damask rose and sandalwood wrap you a rich feminine sensuality while the almond and caramel-like qualities of tonka bean and Bourbon vanilla cocoon you in softness and warmth. Beautiful amber musk combined with cypriol and cedarwood creates a clean, fresh undertone."


For me, this is a very fresh yet spicy scent - one that's aimed for perhaps women over 30, but also appropriate for younger people in more official situations. In fact, I think it's also suitable for men - the boyfriend agrees! I say this because it has no sweet tones at all, and I find that often denotes a more 'fun' or 'youthful' image. Therefore it's not really a celebratory scent, but very professional, understated yet elegant. I think I'll get the most use of this for meetings, interviews and other situations where I want to smell nice, but not let it overpower my image. If you want to be taken seriously, basically, this is a good scent to choose! (Not that Lady Million means looney, that scent is gorge!)

As ever, Liz Earle has stuck with her ethics, making this product both 90% natural and animal-friendly. I don't know enough about perfumes to know what common ingredients are animal-derived, but this is something I'll be recommending to my vegetarian friends (you know a few when you studied human rights!).


Overall, I'm very impressed and glad to have this in my collection. I think it's unique and unlike anything I have, but something anyone (including men!) could find a use for. I highly recommend giving this a sniff because, especially if you are in your early 20's, this could fill in a gap in your collection. And more than anything, it's just a really nicely presented and nicely executed scent!

Liz Earle Botanical Essence No.15 EDP launches today and will retail for £45 for 50mL.

Will you be giving this a sniff?
Have you given No1 a go?

<3yu

*Received for consideration.
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