Category Archives: Reviews

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.

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 Beverley Hills 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

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.

Review: The Body Shop Lip Scuff

26 January 2015

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.

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

Review: Maybelline Color Drama Intense Velvet Lip Pencils

4 January 2015

maybelline velvet lip pencil reviewmaybelline velvet lip pencil review
2014 seemed to be the year of the lip crayon and with good reason. If like me, you’re rubbish with lip liner and lipstick but still want to look like you’ve at least made a bit of an effort, lip crayons and pencils are your friend.

When Maybelline released the Color Drama Intense Velvet Lip Pencils, I was so excited to see a drugstore matte pencil that I bought five of them completely blind. We’ve got In with Coral (a neon coral pink), Red Essential (a blue toned, deep red), Fab Orange (an orange-red), Nude Perfection (a brown toned nude) and Berry Much (a deep reddish purple). I think there are 10 shades in the collection so you are guaranteed to find something that tickles your fancy.

These pencils are easy to apply and extremely pigmented. I’d say that In with Coral is almost too pigmented – to the point that it’s a bit too intense and creamy. It covers absolutely every trace of your natural lip line so you’ll need a steady hand otherwise you’ll end up with clown-face. I get a few hours of wear with these but I would recommend you moisturise well before putting these on otherwise they do drag a bit and look a little dry. But with a little lip balm on underneath, these pencils are creamy, comfortable and a joy to wear. The finish isn’t completely matte – there’s a little bit of sheen which stops your lips feeling like the Sahara but it’s by no means glossy.

A lot of people moan about these needing sharpening rather than being twist-up but personally I like that as it means you always have a sharp end – and with such intense pigmentation, you need it. Yes, you do end up wasting a bit of product but at less than a fiver each can we really grumble?maybelline velvet lip pencil reviewmaybelline velvet lip pencil reviewMy most worn shade is, unsurprisingly Nude Perfection. It makes me look ‘done’ but isn’t over the top. If you’re after a nude that isn’t pink – try this one. My favourite one however is Berry Much which I whip out on the weekends – it’s striking and sexy but I don’t feel too self-conscious wearing it. As for the other three, I tried them for the first time taking these photographs and I was flabbergasted at the loveliness of Red Essential. To me, it’s basically a much easier to wear version of Ruby Woo. A darker, blue toned red that will look good on literally anyone. The only one I don’t like is In with Coral – I’m sure it would look absolutely hot on other people but for me it just looks wrong. It’s far too bright on my skintone and the texture like I mentioned above is far too intense. Weirdly, I quite like it in the photo but in real life it’s a no from me.

I’d recommend these in a heartbeat, especially if matte lips are your thing. It’s nice to see the high street taking matte lips more seriously – well done Maybelline.

Has anyone tried any of the other colours? I’d love to see what they look like on.

Maybelline Color Drama Intense Velvet Lip Pencils are available from Boots and Superdrug at £4.99.

The Best of 2014

3 January 2015

best of 2014You might have noticed a lack of festive posts on TBL so I thought I’d bid farewell to 2014 by revisiting my most popular posts according to Google Analytics. This idea is totally ripped off from Jen, aka British Beauty Junkie so go check hers out if you haven’t already.

Interestingly (actually not that interestingly), the top posts were all reviews and month after month there wasn’t much change in the most popular ones. Reviews are my favourite to type of posts to write and read so hopefully they’re yours too – otherwise you might want to skip this one. Looking at this type of stuff is useful too for knowing what people are searching for and gives me an idea of what sort of products or brands to review. It also gives me a chance to revisit products that I loved at the time and have forgotten about since – much more sensible than buying yet another neon pink lipstick that I’m never going to wear.

Review | YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat
My most popular page by far was my review of the YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat foundation. I loved this over the summer and wore it pretty solidly for a couple of months. I’m sad to say I’ve barely used it since August as it’s a little dark for my winter skin but come spring, I’m definitely going to whip this one out again.

Review | Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick Patina
This lipstick breaks my heart every time I see it in my drawer. I LOVE the colour and the smell of this – it’s the perfect nude for my skintone. However, I was never able to get on with the texture of it once it dried. Dry, peeling flakes are not my thing but I’m keen to persevere with it – everyone else seems to love these lipsticks.

Review | Soap & Glory Make Yourself Youthful CC Superfluid
Another one that I used constantly earlier in the year but recently has been relegated to the back of the drawer. Looking back at my review, I can see why I loved it so much and it’s something I’ll give more attention to on days when I want less coverage.

Review | Laura Mercier Under Eye Perfector Orange/Yellow
Ah, this was one of my first ever reviews and one that still gets a lot of page views. Although not a popular product in the beauty world, it really is a gem. I use it on days when I want my complexion to be flawless and is one of the few truly orange correctors that counteracts darkness that I’ve come across.

Review | Rimmel 3D Plumping Topcoat
I don’t know what possessed me to turn up the exposure on these photos in such a garish manner – I can only assume I was pretending to be P Diddy at the club and wearing sunglasses indoors. Anyway I have no idea why so many people Google this topcoat but there you are. I can’t say I’ve used this since as nothing has topped my beloved Seche Vite – soz Rimmel.

Review: Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment

17 December 2014

glamglow supermud reviewglamglow supermud reviewHere ye, here ye. Today’s review is of the fairly overexposed Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment – which I’d relentlessly been hearing about and agonising over the decision to buy it. But as Aristotle himself said, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. I snapped up the 30ml version as part of a gift set at Marks & Spencer a few months ago which came with the Youthmud (I can’t remember exactly how much it cost but there was an offer on, making the set cheaper than buying the Supermud on its own – so keep your eyes peeled at M&S – they have surprisingly good beauty offers on now and again.

I’ll cut to the chase as all of you are probably aware of the ins and outs of the Glamglow mask. I’ve used this a couple of times and have enjoyed it each time. You can see from the photos my forehead and nose are a little less shiny and the pores on my nose look a bit smoother. It does leave my skin clean, soft, smooth and ready for makeup application, albeit a little on the dry side. However, I’m going to go against the masses and say that, for me, Glamglow isn’t necessarily worth the price tag. BUT I will point out that I have a pretty anal skincare routine and quite honestly, there isn’t a lot that will make my skin any better – it’s at its best ever right now. Nevertheless, I’ll keep using this before big nights out to get my skin as soft and smooth as possible.glamglow supermud reviewglamglow supermud reviewglamglow supermud reviewUnless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ll know that most people rave about this mask and they’re probably justified. All I’d say is that if you’ve already got great skin, this isn’t necessarily going to stand out from the crowd as much as you were expecting. In all honesty, the Una Brennan Super Facialist Pore Purifying Clay Mask (review here) will do a very similar job at a fraction of the price (and without having to stick any curious fingers into any pots).

Apologies for my close-up gormless resting-face.

Please let me know how you got on with this mask – anyone else a bit on the fence?

The 30ml version is available a little cheaper at £34.99 from Look Fantastic here.

Review: Laura Mercier Angled Eye Liner Brush

7 December 2014

laura mercier angled eye liner brush reviewlaura mercier angled eye liner brush reviewlaura mercier angled eye liner brush review
If you read my eyeliner post a few months ago, you’ll know I swear by this winning duo. However, my liner life of late has been turned upside down with this purchase – the Laura Mercier Angled Eye Liner Brush. Take a look. You might be thinking ‘Er…I think it’s broken, you blind old bat’ but its bent shape makes it unlike anything else I’ve ever used.

Getting a thin line close to my lash line has always been impossible. You know that eyeliner meme with the eyes not matching? That is literally my life. Doing my left eye is always a traumatic experience and I usually have to set aside 10 minutes of my makeup routine if I dare decide to wear winged liner.

I’d heard that using a bent eyeliner brush makes the winged liner process a bit less time-greedy and allows you to get a better view of what’s going on. Needless to say I was keen to get my hands on one. A few brands do a similar brush (Smashbox, Elf and Coastal Scents to name a few) but for me, Laura Mercier is the easiest brand to get hold of in real life…but also the most expensive. It did take me several attempts to get hold of this brush as most places were sold out but I finally tracked it down in Space NK in Battersea – it was the last one in the store so there seems to be some kind of national shortage. Or you could just cut to the chase and get it online – you won’t be disappointed.

The Laura Mercier Angled Eye Liner Brush is made from synthetic fibres so it’s perfect for gel liners. I’m still using the Maybelline one (review here) every day and they are a match made in winged liner heaven. The handle is quite short too which you might feel will give you better control. I love that the tip is super fine and if you apply more pressure, you get a thicker line – ideal for creating the perfect outer flick. The bend in the brush somehow just works – I can’t explain it but it makes it impossible to mess up your eye look.

I’m LOVING life with this brush and get my eyeliner perfect in less than a minute. If you’ve ever struggled with eyeliner, I URGE you to pick this up. It will truly make the process a little less frustrating.

The Laura Mercier Angled Eye Liner Brush is available at Space NK, Selfridges and other Laura Mercier stockists and costs £16.

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