Review: Bourjois Colorband

25 March 2015

bourjois colorband review
bourjois colorband review
bourjois colorband review
bourjois colorband review
I for one don’t need anymore eyeshadow sticks. But, with everyone raving about the new Bourjois Colorband 2-in-1 eyeshadow & liners I literally couldn’t stop thinking about them. I’d swatched them in store a few times before committing to a purchase (I don’t know who I was kidding) and haven’t put them down since. I picked up ‘Noir Abstrait’, a matte black and ‘Brun Dadaiste’, a shimmery brown.

As you can see from the photos, the pigmentation is intense, and the texture is buttery smooth and easy to blend with fingers. You’re probably thinking, ‘yeah but what makes these so spesh?’ and I wouldn’t blame you – most shadow sticks these days can be described the same way. The most impressive thing about these sticks is the wear time and the lack of creasing. Seriously, these photos were taken at the end of the day, about 12 hours after application (I put the brown shade on my eyelid, and the black in my waterline and smudged it into the top and bottom lash lines). There’s minimal creasing (EVERYTHING creases on me so a little bit was expected) and just look at that waterline. Even Urban Decay 24/7 pencils start to wear off on me after 4 or 5 hours so this was seriously impressive. The black shade will definitely be my go-to waterline option. It’s a little chunky but the tip is pointed enough to give control over where it goes.

If you’re on the fence about succumbing to yet another shadow stick, I would totally recommend giving in.

Bourjois Colorband 2-in-1 Eyeshadow & Liners are available at Boots and Superdrug for £5.99.

French Pharmacy & Makeup Haul

23 March 2015

french beauty haulApologies for my hiatus, I was busy getting married and mini-mooning in Paris! I had the BEST time but I know how boring weddingy stuff is if it’s not on your radar so I won’t go on about it. Anyway, I was more excited to get to Paris and feverishly raid the pharmacies and Sephora. Looking at my bounty, I’m both shocked and appalled at myself for not going more wild in the aisles. However, I am rather pleased with my purchases and got my mitts on a lot of products I’d been fantasising about.

Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré
I already have this in a smaller size but it was a bit cheaper in France so I popped the larger tube into my basket. A nice and basic moisturiser for underneath foundation and great for travelling.

La Roche-Posay Serozinc
Apparently it’s sacrilege to set foot in France and not load up on this spray-on toner so I bought three. I’ve just started to use it to see what all the fuss is about and so far it’s a pleasant enough spritz, much like the Avene thermal water, just a little saltier. I’ve got some blemishes on my forehead so I’m excited to see if this magic water clears them up.

Bioderma Micellar Solution
Need I say more?

Caudalie Beauty Elixir
I’ve resisted giving into this for the longest time and still don’t really understand what it’s supposed to do but it was 7 or 8 Euros so of course I was going to buy it. Looks like a good one for the summer.

Caudalie Moisturising Toner
This French skincare haul seems to be full of things that have a very vague purpose. I’m not massively into toners but there was something about this one that caught my eye so I’m looking forward to incorporating this into my skincare routine.

Makeup Forever HD Foundation
This is what I was most excited about and despite a very dubious matching process with A LOT of language barrier issues, I came away with the perfect shade for my skin. I used this for the remainder of my time in Paris and it was flawless. I’m excited about using it more.

Makeup Forever HD Loose Powder
I’m not a big powder kind of gal but while I was getting the companion foundation, I had to stick my finger into this powder. And let me tell you, it was like stroking the undercarriage of angel kittens. I’m waiting for a decent night out with lots of sweaty dancing to put this to the test but holy moly, this stuff is special.

Review: Makeup Revolution Hot Smoked Eyeshadow Palette

19 February 2015

makeup revolution hot smoked palettemakeup revolution hot smoked palette 2makeup revolution hot smoked palette 5makeup revolution hot smoked palette 4
With my wedding 9 days away and still no flowers ordered and music still not chosen, I did what any self-respecting bride-to-be would do and rummaged through my drawers (saucy) to see if there was anything new I could waste even more time playing with. The Makeup Revolution Hot Smoked palette is by no means new, and I don’t remember buying it but it was calling out to be used.

For £4, you get a very generous 12 shades in a mixture of matte and shimmer finishes – perfect for the thrifty among us or if you’re experiencing a personal credit crunch and happen to be desperate for new eyeshadows. I’m absolutely pants at determining whether something is cool toned or warm toned, but despite its ‘hot smoked’ moniker I’d say it leans more towards the cooler end of the spectrum. There’s no mirror in this one which is inconvenient but for £4 you can’t afford to be a fusspot.

You can see from the photos that these eyeshadows swatch quite nicely. My expectations of the matte shades were low but I was pleasantly surprised. The darker shades were especially good. The texture is smooth and pretty much what we have come to expect from ol’ Makey Rev. I wouldn’t go as far as saying these are the most buttery I’ve ever tried but for the price I don’t think you can find much better.

I did a quick look using a few of the shades to get a better idea of how they’re like to work with and that’s when things went a bit wrong for me.

Here’s the thing, I have very dry skin and all the oil that’s in my face is annoyingly confined to my eyelids. As you can imagine, this conundrum makes eyeshadow tricky at the best of times and eyeball-poppingly frustrating at the worst of times. I didn’t use any primer as I wanted to get a true picture of the Hot Smoked’s performance. Also, I couldn’t be bothered. I found the eyeshadows applied a little patchily on my lids and it was difficult to get an even colour. I wouldn’t say pigmentation is an issue with these, I just couldn’t get an even wash of colour. Blending out the edges with a fluffy brush was relatively drama free which is a bonus.

I tried very hard not to get mascara on my eyelid but alas, my rubbish hand-eye co-ordination failed me. The finished look isn’t too bad but you can certainly see where the shadows didn’t apply properly in the centre of the lid (maybe I should’ve gone for the primer first). Colour wise, I don’t think it massively suits me, it all looks a bit cool and grey, so I think this is would suit blue or green-eyed ladies a lot better. On the plus side, I didn’t get much creasing and it stayed pretty decent for most of the work day. All in all, decent quality for the insane price but it’s not really for me so I’m out.

Has anyone else tried this? I want to try another one that suits me better – any recommendations?

Review: Anastasia Brow Wiz

12 February 2015

Anastasia brow wiz review ebonyanastasia brow wiz review ebonyanastasia brow wiz review ebony anastasia brow wiz review ebony
If you’re anything like me, you’d rather go naked than without your eyebrows. Unfortunately letting my jumbalayas loose comes with all sorts of legal issues so eyebrows it is. My main issue with my natural brows is the weird shortness of them in relation to my eyes. Also, my eyebrows are completely different to each other. I know they say that eyebrows are sisters and not twins but mine are more like second cousins twice-removed-in-law. I use eyebrow products to elongate the shape and fill in the sparse areas, be it pencil, shadow or wax.

Unless you’ve been living the life of a hermit you’ll probably have heard about the Anastasia Brow Wiz. It’s got a waxy tiny-nibbed pencil on one side (sorry about the shoddy shadowy photo!) and a spoolie brush on the other. Mine is in the shade ‘Ebony’ which you can see is an ashy dark brown rather than black (I believe Ebony is the darkest shade available which is just as well – I learned the hard way NEVER to use black products on your eyebrows even if they are black!). You can see that the colour match is pretty perfect, which is something that the Topshop Brow Pencil (review here) missed for me.

I’m going to be honest and say that the first time I used this, I was a bit disappointed. My eyebrows needed threading and were a bit messy, and I found that using the Brow Wiz made things even messier looking. Also, my foundation hadn’t set yet and my skin was a little slippery so the pigmentation didn’t come off all that well. I was genuinely baffled by the hype.

But then I got my eyebrows freshly threaded and tried Brow Wiz again on a dry face and everything changed. Because it’s not super pigmented, it means you can really go to town with shaping your brows without ending up looking like Helga from Hey Arnold. The teeny tiny nib makes drawing on hairs much easier and the colour match is the best I’ve ever come across.

Being a pencil, obviously it won’t last as long as Anastasia DipBrow but it still gives it a ruddy good go. I’ve worn this during my gym sessions and it’s held up well and hasn’t needed touching up. It’s also a lot quicker to get a decent result, and getting my eyebrows to look acceptable doesn’t take half as long as it does with other products.

I was going to repurchase my Topshop pencil but having got the hang of Brow Wiz, this is definitely taking its place. It’s just a shame it’s more than double the price!

All in all, I’m recommending Anastasia Brow Wiz with gusto, especially if you’re after a natural look (if you want a more sculpted look and have more time on your hands I’d go for the DipBrow). Just remember to make sure your base has completely dried before attempting to use it, and pluck any stray hairs that might be bringing your polished look down.

Brow products are notoriously hard to colour match online so if you happen to be in London, Blow Ltd in Covent Garden stocks a range of Anastasia products if you want to test them out in the flesh.

Has anyone else tried this? Did you need to give it a second chance too?

Anastasia Brow Wiz is available at Cult Beauty and Blow Ltd for £15.50

Mini US Beauty Haul

11 February 2015

sephora haul

sephora lip cream always red
It’s always useful having a friend who regularly visits the US of A, mainly because of the stuff that we can’t get our greedy little hands on in the UK. So when my good friend went home to San Diego for Christmas I armed her with a small list and told her under no circumstances was she to come back without my products ;) I exercised a decent amount of self restraint and chose only three products – I hope you’re as excited as I am (actually I did want the Lorac palette too but it seemed to be impossible to get hold of – even her local Nordstrom stores have stopped stocking it. One day it will be mine).

Elizabeth & James Eau de Parfum Nirvana Black
I read the reviews and decided I needed this. My friend and I were live texting while she was at the Sephora in her local mall and sadly the rollerball twin pack that comes with both the white and black versions was sold out so I took the plunge with the black. And golly am I pleased with myself. It’s dark, sexy, mysterious, spicy and would pass as unisex – right up my street. This doesn’t even ship from Sephora to the UK so if you’re unable to get your hands on it, apparently Tom Ford Black Orchid is exactly the same. My fiancé did actually comment on how it reminded him of Tom Ford so it seems that for once, he was onto something.

Makeup Forever Full Cover Concealer Ivory (6)
I’ve heard talk of MUFE arriving to the UK in the next couple of months but I couldn’t be bothered waiting. I’m having a bit of a concealer moment and am forever on the lookout for something that will shield the unsuspecting public from my relentless dark circles. I’ve had a quick go with this on my hand, and my god is the coverage is intense.

Sephora Matte Lip Cream Always Red
Another hyped up product that I just had to try. I tried it for the first time for the purposes of this post (photo above) and it’s actually better than I expected. If you thought the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Lipsticks were good, this trumps it hard. It’s super matte, absolutely not drying and actually makes my lips look less ‘line-y’. It also smells EXACTLY like the Stila Stay All Day liquid lipsticks (I reviewed the shade Patina here) A beautiful, true red that will look stunning on the very pale to the very darkest of skintones. I’m heading to Paris in a few weeks and the other colours of these are on the top of my list.

Has anyone else got any of these? I’ll be raiding Sephora in Paris so if anyone has any recommendations please give me a shout!

Review: L’Oreal Skin Perfection Anti-Fatigue Perk Up Cream

9 February 2015

loreal skin perfection anti fatigue perk up cream review
loreal skin perfection anti fatigue perk up cream reviewloreal skin perfection anti fatigue perk up cream review
More often than not, I don’t have time to faff around with trowelling on foundation in the mornings so I’m always on the lookout for a quick-fix option. If you ever read my review on the Garnier Miracle Skin Cream, you’ll know how much I love it, so I thought I’d try the L’Oreal version of a very similar product.

I’ll cut to the chase – it is extremely similar to the Garnier one but with one main difference. Whereas the Garnier cream has a yellow tone to it (which I like), the L’Oreal one is a lot more neutral/beige in colour. This will get a big ‘huzzah’ from a lot of women because the yellow thing just didn’t go down well with a lot of people. They both come out as thick-ish cream with tiny balls of pigment which burst when rubbed into the skin (this sentence makes me feel ill).

L’Oreal Skin Perfection Anti-Fatigue Perk Up Cream looks and feels great on my skin. It give a little bit of coverage, makes my dark circles a bit less intense, evens out my skintone (making it less yellow) and gives my skin a healthy glow. I usually finish off my base with some under-eye concealer and the effects hang around for the whole day. I will say that I end up with a few rogue balls that get caught in my eyebrows so I sometimes have to comb those out but apart from that, it is a doddle to slap on. In my ‘full face’ photo, I have just this cream on and concealer under my eyes as my base – there is absolutely no foundation.

Again, like Garnier’s Miracle Skin Cream, L’Oreal Perk Up Cream comes with SPF 20 which I feel is enough for me, especially in the winter. I had a workout in the strangely hot sun yesterday after using Alpha-H Liquid Gold the night before for the first time – I did have fears that my face, that was in direct sunlight for an hour, would be burnt off, but I had the Perk Up Cream on which seems to have provided enough protection.

If you like the effects of the Garnier Miracle Skin Cream but find the colour a bit off, I’d really recommend L’Oreal Skin Perfection Anti-Fatigue Perk Up Cream. It does indeed perk up the skin and if you have decent skin already, you’ll probably be happy to leave the house with this as your base.

L’Oreal Skin Perfection Anti-Fatigue Perk Up Cream is on offer at the moment in Boots, available for the bargainous price of £7.99.

FOTD: Matte Neutral Eyes & Glowing Skin

2 February 2015

fotd-matte-eyes cropfotd matte eyesExcuse the fact that my big ass forehead looks obnoxiously gigantic in these photos. Anyways, this is my go-to daytime look if I feel like making an effort, which when you work in an office that has more than one weak-bladdered dog wandering around, isn’t very often. I don’t always use the exact same products to create the same look, so I’m certain everyone will have stuff in their makeup collection to at least attempt it.

COMPLEXION
Revlon Photo Ready Perfecting Primer
L’Oreal True Match Foundation Golden Cappucino
Maybelline Fit Me Concealer 25
Too Faced Snow Bunny Luminous Bronzer

EYES
Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette Foxy, WOS, Naked 2 & Faint
Laura Mercier Kohl Eye Pencil Brown Copper
Maybelline Eye Studio Gel Liner Black (review here)
Maybelline Big Eyes Liner Black & Nude
Bourjois Volume 1 Seconde Mascara Black

EYEBROWS
Topshop Brow Pencil Spike Brown (review here)
2 True Mascara Clear

LIPS
Maybelline Color Drama Intense Velvet Lip Pencil Nude Perfection (review here)

Review: The Body Shop Lip Scuff

26 January 2015

body shop lip scuff body shop lip scuff

Plump, pillowy and smooth are not words that anyone would use to describe my lips (that would be my post-Christmas stomach). Rather, I’d use the the more unsavoury adjectives of shrivelled, dry and rough, which isn’t helped by my love of Sahara-desert-inducing matte lipsticks. I’ve been trying everything to inject some life into them, but nothing seems to work long term. My lips will form a scaly, peeling texture (do you feel sick yet?) most days which does not translate well under bold or matte lipsticks. I usually use the Lush sugar lip scrub beforehand but my pot has got to the point were I have to dig in with my finger and it gets stuck under my nails, which makes me feel a bit horrible.

I stumbled across the Body Shop Lip Scuff when I was buying yet more lipsticks I’ll probably never wear. Being in a lipstick-like form, it’s perfect for anyone else who’s averse to sticking fingers into messy pots, you just twist it up and rub it over your lips.

From what I gather, it’s made mainly from coconut oil – it’s solid at room temperature and gently melts into your lips on contact with heat. The little exfoliants within the stick aren’t too rough but do a decent enough job of smoothing away dead skin, helped along with lanolin and marula oil, which help condition dry lips. It’s also minty, so leaves a pleasant cooling sensation on the lips.

Long term, this hasn’t really improved the condition of my relentlessly dry and scaly lips but it’s definitely something I reach for when I’m doing my makeup and decide to go for a matte lip. I still use the Lush sugar scrub in my evening cleansing routine every few days for a more industrial effect but I really like the Body Shop lip scuff as a quick fix at the dressing table. I just pop it on, leave it for a few minutes and wipe off with a bit of micellar water on a cotton pad. Like I say, it won’t work miracles but it’s perfect for prepping your lips before lipstick with minimum effort.

The Body Shop Lip Scuff is available in Body Shop stores and online for £8.00.

3 Rules for a 5 Minute Face

15 January 2015

makeup time saversWhen I’m pushed for time or just can’t be bothered with a full face, there are a few rules that I follow to make sure I don’t look like I’ve just rolled out of bed and straight onto the bus.

Don’t underestimate eyebrows
Neat, filled-in eyebrows make a surprisingly big impact on your face, making you look instantly more groomed. Have you ever done a full face of makeup and not put your eyebrows on? See?! Getting brows perfect can be time consuming, so after sorting out any kind of all-over base (if I’m wearing any), I always do eyebrows next to get them out of the way. There’s nothing worse than trying to get them done when you literally have 30 seconds left to hurl yourself out the front door. Don’t bother with a brush or wax or shadow – a brow pencil is your friend here. Lately I’ve been using the Topshop Brow Pencil in Spike (review here) to fill in my weirdly short eyebrows which has an extremely useful spooly on one side and a dark brown pencil on the other.

Forget the foundation
Obviously some people will recoil in horror at the thought but if your skin allows it, ditch the foundation. Trying to get a flawless base in less time it takes Usain Bolt to run 200m is, unsurprisngly, impossible and will only end in rage-inducing cakey disappointment. Instead, use a perfecting cream (I love Garnier Miracle Skin Cream – review here) which you can slap on in 20 seconds, instantly perking up your complexion.

It’s in the eyes
Hide all evidence of your hectic schedule by focusing on brightening your eyes. For me, my biggest issue is dark circles. Making sure my under eye area is well moisturised, I take a brightening concealer (usually something like Maybelline Eraser Eye Concealer (see it in action here) or Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer) and pat it into my skin in a triangle shape. When you’re in a massive rush it’s absolute clown shoes to think about eyeshadow – arm yourself with a pair of eyelash curlers and a lengthening mascara instead for a wide-awake fresh look. Keep away from anything too volumising – thick lashes and no liner or shadow will just look weird.

Remember to keep a tinted lip balm or a sheer lipstick in your handbag that you can deploy once you’re on the bus – and there you go! An acceptable face in no time at all. I hope you’ve found these tips useful – I’d love to know what you do when you only have 5 minutes to put your face on!

Review: Topshop Brow Pencil Spike Brown

14 January 2015

topshop brow pencil reviewtopshop brow pencil reviewAnother day, another eyebrow product to try out. I’ve been using the Topshop Brow Pencil in Spike pretty solidly for the past few months. On the days when I can’t be bothered with my Anastasia DipBrow, this is all I’ve been using and it could well become a staple.

As far as finding the perfect eyebrow pencil goes, I don’t think there is one, however the Topshop offering comes pretty close. I love any eyebrow pencil that comes with a spoolie anyway but this pencil is legitimately great. You can see from the photos that the colour isn’t 100% right but it’s not enough of a big deal to keep me up at night. It’s almost there, which for a cheap-ish pencil is quite impressive.

A lot of people like much harder, waxier textures (perhaps like the Soap & Glory Archery pencil) – the Topshop one is much more pigmented and doesn’t require as much exertion to get the colour translate onto the skin. However, it certainly isn’t so soft that it will end up all over your face. Because it’s a little softer and more pigmented than a lot of other eyebrow pencil, it blends out nicely with the spooly, I especially like the effect it gives at the front of the brows which can easily go horribly wrong otherwise. And because it needs sharpening, you can always make sure you have a sharp point for more precise work – something that a lot of wind-up pencils struggle with.topshop brow pencilI will say that this isn’t the one for the gym or any strenuous activity as the tails will slip off – you’d better stick to a waterproof wax for that. I do MUCH prefer this to the Soap & Glory Archery and the Sleek Eyebrow Stylist (review here) – it’s one of the best budget options I’ve found.

On a side note – MAC do a brown eyebrow pencil also called Spike which I had a few years ago. I’m guessing it didn’t make enough of an impact for me to repurchase – you might be better sticking to Topshop’s Spike.

Topshop Brow Pencil in Spike is available at Topshop, John Lewis and Selfridges for £6.00

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