Monthly Archives: December 2013

Review: Nivea Daily Essentials Express Hydration Primer

19 December 2013

Express-Hydration-Primer-3I first bought this Nivea Express Hydration Primer about six months ago and have been meaning to write this review for a while. I’d been in one of those moods where I was in Boots just chucking things into my basket willy nilly and ignoring the consequences. Needless to say, it was a very mixed bag, but this little saviour has now become one of my most used skincare products, and i’m now on my fourth pot. It comes in Dry/Sensitive Skin and Normal/Combination Skin. I’ve used both and can’t really tell too much of a difference, although I tend to buy the Dry/Sensitive only because it was the first one I’d ever bought and I loved it, so why fix it if it ain’t broke?

Firstly, what I will say is the packaging is a bit misleading – the box is much bigger than the pot so unless you sneakily open it in the shop, you won’t experience the disappointment until you go home (or the bus, if, like me, you get too excited and open everything en route). A bit annoying but hardly the sort of thing that will keep you up at night. Plus, there’s 50ml of product which is quite generous, and the chunky glass pot gives it a more high end feel.Express-Hydration-Primer-8
Right, on to the good stuff. The primer has a gel-like consistency, a bit like if you were to mix your moisturiser with a normal primer. It’s light and fresh, with Nivea’s usual cucumber-y scent. It really slides onto the skin with ease and it does dry very fast. It’s my product of choice in the mornings because it sinks in so quickly (I’d say in less than a minute) and leaves the skin smooth and really soft. If it’s just for a daytime look, I’ll use this one product instead of a separate moisturiser and primer, perfect for when you’re doing a bit of a rushed job (pretty much every day for me). It leaves a perfect base for foundation and keeps everything in place for most of the day, as long as I’m not doing anything particularly sweaty or strenuous. On days when I really can’t be bothered, I use Nivea Hydration Primer on its own as it helps me feel and look little more polished.
nivea express hydration primer reviewnivea express hydration primer review
I’ve read lot of reviews for Nivea Express Hydration Primer and generally, people rave about it but a handful have mentioned a problem with pilling (I think that’s what it’s called?). This has happened to me on occasion with this product but only when I’ve either used a dedicated moisturiser first or slapped on my foundation too soon. If I avoid doing these two naughty things then I don’t tend to have a problem. I’m pretty sure the recommendation from Nivea is not to use any moisturiser beforehand so it was my own fault!

Nivea Daily Essentials Express Hydration Primer is definitely something to have on your makeup shelf, especially as it’s so cheap. I always think of good skincare when I think of Nivea, and it has been a joy to use. It’s one of the things I often recommend to friends and genuinely don’t see pricey primers as being much better.

Nivea Daily Essentials Express Hydration Primer costs £3.99 from Boots and Superdrug.


15 December 2013

kiko haulkiko haulA few weeks ago I scuttled down to the KIKO shop in Westfield Stratford in search for a metallic gold eyeshadow. The good news is I found exactly what I was looking for. The bad news is I ended up buying 6 surplus items. But it isn’t really bad news because I’m in pigment heaven. I’ve since had a quick try with the bits and bobs and will do reviews of the most interesting in the coming weeks. Here’s a run-down of what I bought.

KIKO Water Eyeshadow 208 Light Gold (£8.90): This is the eyeshadow I was hoping to find when I embarked on my KIKO trip. It can be used dry or wet for extra colour payoff, and really, I couldn’t resist the stunning swirl design.

KIKO Eyeshadow Matte 158 Dark Violet (£2.90): Great pigmentation for a matte eyeshadow, at an unbelievable price, this was a no-brainer.

KIKO Eyeshadow 134 Pearly Cocoa (£2.90): Again, I didn’t need this but at that price, how can you actually say no?

KIKO Colour Sphere Eye Shadow 16 Gold Special FX (£5.90): The whole range of the Colour Sphere eye shadows was mesmerising. I was in a goldy mood so bought this in this goddess-like gold glitter shade.

KIKO Glamorous Eye Pencil 400 Gold (£4.20): Surprise, surprise, gold again. This looks fabulous in the inner corners of the eyes for an ethereal kind of look.

KIKO Double Glam Eye Pencil 104 Misty Green and Blue Teal (£7.90): You know when you’re paying for your goods at the counter and the cashier asks you if you’d be interested in the special they’ve got on? (Incidentally, does anyone ever buy those massive Milky Bars at the WH Smith till?!) Well, for once, I said yes I’ll take one. I didn’t even realise it was almost double the price of the regular eye pencil. Anyway, this is a double ended pencil with a complementary shade either side. I’ve not worn these properly yet but when I swatched the two colours on my hand, they literally DID NOT BUDGE for the entire day. Impressive!

KIKO Full Coverage Concealer 04 Dark (£7.50): Finally, I idly picked up this little concealer pot from the sale section. I’ve no idea if it’s any good but I was seduced by the NARS-like packaging. It was £5.90 so there was a nice little saving to be had.

KIKO is available online at or instore in both Westfields and on Regent Street, all in London. If you do pop in the store, just a word of warning. From what I remember, the colours are only named by number. I had to go online to find the actual names so keep that in mind if you’ve chosen what you’ve wanted online before popping in – make sure you’re armed with the numbers!kiko haulkiko haulkiko hau

Review: Maybelline Color Sensational Vivids Lipstick Neon Red

4 December 2013

maybelline neon red
You know me, I’m a nude lip girl at heart. So much so that most of the time I don’t bother with any lipstick at all. You don’t get much nuder than that. But recently I’ve been trying to smarten up my act and give my lips some attention.
maybelline neon red
I knew I wasn’t ready for this season’s dark berry lips (I’ve tried – goth gone wrong) so I thought red would be easier to handle. I do own some red lipsticks but never wear them. They always look fine swatched on my hand but when they’re on my face, they just look awful. I can’t really explain, they just wash me out and make me feel like a drag queen who hasn’t had much sleep recently. Then I realised what I was doing wrong. I was buying the wrong tone. I’m still trying to get to grips with the whole tone thing (blue-toned red? I don’t see any damn blue!) but after some digging, I had an epiphany. Because of my yellow/golden skin tone, I’m apparently advised to choose an orange-based red. So, armed with this new-found knowledge I scurried to Superdrug and picked up Maybelline Color Sensational Vivid Lipstick in Neon Red. I don’t know if it’s just me but I find orange-based reds much easier to identify than blue-based reds so I was thrilled to find this little guy with relative ease.

It looks significantly more orange on the lips than it does in the barrel but not so orange that it’s not red any more, but an orangey red. Apologies, I’ll give you a moment for your brain to process that.

Now. I’m the worst lipstick user in the world. I always go outside the lines (I’m much worse at colouring in now than when I was four years old) and end up looking like a sorry clown. Plus, I’m wary of colours that aren’t nude and will draw attention to my tiny mouth (my lips aren’t particularly thin, but the mouth itself is tiny, either it’s not wide enough or my chin/jaw area is far too spacious). But I found this lipstick surprisingly easy to apply. Creamy, pigmented and pretty much opaque. It looks nice and neat without the need for lip liner and I love the juicy, shiny but not overly glossy finish.
maybelline neon red
maybelline neon red
Sadly, at the moment, I can’t comment too much about longevity. I’ve not been brave enough to leave the house with this lipstick on, let alone let Mr TBL see it, he’ll think I’m having a quarter (third?) life crisis. Anyway, I’ve heard it lasts most of the work day and leaves quite a nice stain when it comes off (I can confirm this).

I took all these photos a couple of weeks ago and had forgotten I’d taken them, but after finding them on my laptop I was pleasantly reminded of how much I like the colour – it really goes with my skin tone without causing too much offence. Personally, I can’t wait to acclimatise to these exciting colours and wear them on a regular basis and stop being a negative (nude) nelly. All in all, a really good buy which I have promised myself to start wearing more often.
maybelline neon red
maybelline neon red
I believe the Vivids range comes in five colours (Shocking Coral looks amazing too) although in the States I think there are ten.

Maybelline Color Sensational Vivid Lipstick in Neon Red costs £7.19 at Superdrug and Boots.

Review: MAC Eye Shadow Cranberry

3 December 2013

MAC cranberry eye shadow review
I’m not usually the most au fait with what’s ‘in’ and usually end up using what’s ‘so last season’ but I’ve seen lots of red eye shadows doing the rounds recently and wasn’t sold at first. I’ve seen far too many unfortunate cases of red eye shadow applied in the wrong shade or tone which ends up with the wearer looking like the latest victim of pink-eye (is it true what they say about that?). Occasionally I’d stumble upon a photo of red eye shadow looking great but assumed it wouldn’t suit me. A bit like tartan – all well and good but when I tried it on I looked like I was in fancy dress.

Anyway, I came across this glorious MAC eye shadow in Cranberry on someone’s blog and new I had to meet the little guy in the flesh. So off I toddled to my nearest MAC counter where I tracked it down, swatched it, fell in love and bought it.

MAC cranberry eye shadow review
MAC cranberry eye shadow review
You can see that it’s not very red. It’s the nervous girl’s red. Red enough to make you feel a bit adventurous but not so red that you feel like a knob. It’s in MAC’s frost formula which is shimmery and buttery soft, and a dream to apply.
MAC cranberry eye shadow review
I like to use my finger to apply then blend into the crease with the MAC 217 brush. I also used an angled brush to apply a little Cranberry the outer lower lashes. By sticking to the outer corners of the eyes, I feel like the conjunctivitis look is kept at bay. You can see that it looks quite coppery on my eyes which won’t be the case for fairer skin – I’d imagine it shows up truer. I also didn’t use a primer (I can’t remember why, I’m going to go with laziness and/or being in a rush). Again, with a primer or MAC Paint Pot in Painterly (or similar) Cranberry will show literally, its true colours. Wow – look at those eyelid creases – I really should have laid down some sort of primer.
MAC cranberry eye shadow review
I’m sure you’ll agree it looks fab with a bit of eyeliner and mascara and a lot more subtle than it first seems.
MAC cranberry eye shadow review

In regards to longevity, I’ve not had any issues. Seems to last and I haven’t noticed any sort of slipping or sliding.

Apologies, I had use my camera flash for most of these shots as the limited daylight we’re getting at the moment is having adverse effects on my photos and my mental well-being.
MAC cranberry eye shadow review
MAC cranberry eye shadow review
MAC Frost Eye Shadow in Cranberry costs £12.50 (£10 for the refill) from MAC online or at MAC counters.

Review: Accessorize Merged Baked Blusher Scandal

1 December 2013

accessorize blusher scandal review
I’m quite sure I’m not on my tod when I say I don’t usually think of Accessorize as being a go-to makeup brand. I hadn’t realised they even had a makeup range until I stumbled upon it on yet another lunchtime trip to Superdrug. I had a look at a few of their bits and pieces and the baked blushers caught my eye.  I swatched them on my hand and, impressed by the beautiful colour payoff, settled on Scandal.
accessorize blusher scandal review
The blendy-blendy formation is reminiscent of MAC Mineralize blushers – it’s a shimmery blend of rosy pink with swirls of gold throughout – all very nice. I remember being bowled over in the store by how amazing it looked and was excited to try it out on my face. It’s finely milled too so has a pleasing soft and velvety texture.
accessorize blusher scandal review
accessorize blusher scandal review
Having used the same MAC blusher relentlessly over the last three years, I’ve been lulled into a false sense of security when it comes to pigmentation. Once the Accessorize blusher is on, it does look nice, and it’s much more subtle than you’d expect. It also gives a good highlighted effect on the cheekbones but I found I had to be pretty heavy handed to get it to show up. Lightly dabbing a blusher brush into the pan as I would with something like MAC wasn’t enough, and I found it worked best either loading quite a bit on the brush, or even going in with fingers.

I’ve included a selection of photos with and without flash (I’ll let you figure out which is which) so you can see how it looks in different situations.

I tend to put this on before work, in my bleary state it’s nice to use as you don’t have to be too careful and don’t end up looking like you’ve overdone it. I’m the worst person in the world for re-applying makeup throughout the day – I just lose the will and don’t particularly like looking at my face in office strip lighting. But, this holds up till after lunch I’d say then it could do with a little perk-up.
accessorize blusher scandal review
accessorize blusher scandal review
accessorize blusher scandal review
As for the packaging, I really don’t like it. I’ve read several reviews on the Accessorize blushers and everyone has talked about the pretty butterflies – I’m not into that. The plastic compact does feel a little cheap too but for the low price tag I can’t expect too much.

All in all, a nice blusher for an everyday look which can be built up for a more pronounced effect. Not the best blusher in the world and looks more impressive when heavily swatched, but the price and the colour makes it well worth having.

Accessorize Merged Baked Blush in Scandal costs £4.95 from Superdrug and Accessorize.

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