Category Archives: Reviews

Review: Kiko Volumeyes+ Active Mascara

24 November 2014

kiko mascara reviewkiko mascara reviewkiko volumeyes mascara review

There are two things about the Regent Street Kiko store that really rattle my cage. The relentless crowds of European teenagers who insist on swatching every single product in the building, and the nightclub lighting. However, a few weeks ago I was feeling particularly steely of mind and squeezed myself into the store as I was passing, ‘just for a look’. As ever, I left with enough makeup to warrant hiding the evidence from Mr TBL.

I tried the Kiko Volumeyes+ Active Mascara for the first time yesterday and I was impressed enough to knuckle down and bash out the review today. Take a look at the photos, it is mesmerising. No, that isn’t a tiny black Christmas tree on a stick, it is the mascara’s cone shaped applicator. I was glad to see it had a proper brush wand and not a plastic one, as I’m convinced they grab the lashes with a bit more wellie. It’s a pretty big wand but the shape is actually genius. The tiny, tiny tip is a boss at getting to tiny, tiny lashes and I was able to do that without making the usual amount of mess. The other end is massive and really helps fan out the outer lashes. And LOOK at those bottom lashes. I’ve got two or three coats on and it didn’t clump too badly at all.

Kiko Volumeyes+ Active Mascara isn’t waterproof but as I type this (10 hours after application), it has managed to hold the curl much better than my other mascaras. My lashes don’t feel as hard and crispy either which is a bonus, and so far, there’s no fall out.

This mascara contains some magic ingredients that are supposed to thicken your lashes after a month (obviously I can’t verify this) but I suspect that’s bumf. Not that is matters, it’s a great mascara and has zoomed into my top three favourites.

Kiko Volumeyes+ Active Mascara is available at Kiko online and instore at £7.90 but I picked mine up for a brain-tickling £3.90 so do check the bargain bin by the till next time you’re in a Kiko store.

P.S. Sincere apologies for the my messy brows – I’m having one of those days.

Review: Gosh Forever Eyeshadow Sticks

14 October 2014

gosh forever eyeshadow stick reviewgosh forever eyeshadow stick reviewgosh forever eyeshadow stick reviewgosh shadow sticksI don’t know about you but I was never one of these people who was particularly bothered about using eyeshadow sticks on the ‘mobile lid’. But these Gosh Forever Eyeshadow Sticks hurled themselves into my life and my mobile lids and I haven’t looked back. These sticks of shimmery joy are extremely creamy, extremely pigmented and extremely wearable. And my love for them is extreme.

I picked up the shades ‘Light Copper’ (which is clearly more of a goldy-bronze shade) and the unimaginatively-named ‘Brown’ which is so much more than a bog standard brown. Swatched, they look much more shimmery than they translate on the eyes which is good news if you like to keep it subtle. In the photos, I did blend mine out but if you layer it on you can get a much bolder look.

I do find that as the day goes on, these Gosh Forever shadow sticks don’t crease too badly at all, but the shimmer does wear off. Just try to avoid touching your eyes when you pop these on.

I like to use these as both eyeshadows and eye liners – the lighter colour gives an intense inner corner highlight, and the darker one is fab smudged into the lower lash line. They can also be used as eyeshadow bases but this is something I’m yet to try.

Good news for the more slack-minded – these have a wind-up mechanism so don’t need sharpening. Fine if you plan on using these as eyeshadows but sad if you use them as eyeliners, although a brush could be used. Potentially laborious though.

Gosh Forever Eyeshadow Sticks come in an array of beautiful, wearable colours and I for one, can’t wait to get my paws on them

Available from Superdrug at £5.99 each.

Review: Beauty Blender Solid Cleanser

25 September 2014

beauty blender solid cleanser reviewI was milling around Oxford Street a couple of days ago, killing time before an appointment and got dangerously close to Selfridges. So, being aware of the potential detrimental effects on my honeymoon savings account, I turned on my heel and scuttled in the opposite direction, saving myself vital pounds. DID I HECK. I hurled myself into the revolving doors and spent some dolla.

I’d recently discovered that Selfridges stocks the Beauty Blender so I went in ‘just for a look’, knowing full well I was not leaving empty handed. Five minutes later, I was handing over my debit card in exchange for the famous pink sponge and its solid cleanser counterpart.

On first impressions, I’m loving both items but the solid cleanser has blown me away and I felt an urgent need to write this review. At the risk of sounding like – quite frankly – a total skank, I can go weeks upon weeks without washing my makeup brushes. Call me what you will but I find the whole process soul destroying and futile – my brushes are never completely clean and my skin never really suffers. Famous last words. HOWEVER the Beauty Blender Solid Cleanser has revolutionised my life. In the past two days, I’ve cleaned my most used makeup brushes twice, as well as the Beauty Blender. “What makes this cleanser so full of wonder and joy?” I hear you ask. Chill Bill, I’ll tell you.

After wetting my makeup brush under the tap, I swirled it into the solid cleanser, building up a luxurious and fabulous lather. I did this for 10-15 seconds and rinsed under the tap. And by Jove, the brush looked good as new. After drying, the brush felt soft and free of residue, which is a problem I always have when using more laborious cleaning processes. The cleanser contains glycerine and aloe which I’m guessing lend to the conditioning effects, and it’s lavender scented, making the cleansing process all the more…sensual.

The original Beauty Blender cleanser is a liquid which I haven’t tried and doubt I will. The whole point of the travel-friendly solid is its criminally easy use which actually makes brush cleaning fun. I managed to get through cleaning about 20 makeup brushes in less than five minutes. Huzzah!

(I’ve literally just found out there’s a little drying rack inside the pot to set the Beauty Blender on as it dries – double huzzah!)

Some might say it’s a bit pricey for what is essentially a bar of soap but I’d happily pay £20 for it. You may think it’s just a gimmick but I promise you, this stuff is quite possibly a thing of sorcery.

Beauty Blender Solid Cleanser is available at Selfridges for £13.

Review: Ciate Flower Manicure Bad-a-Bloom

21 August 2014

ciate flower manicure reviewciate flower manicure reviewGone are the days when I’d painstakingly create tiny masterpieces on my nails – my patience has since worn far too thin for such frivolity (living with a semi-feral cat and a man who can’t make his own sandwiches will do that to you). But when I saw the Ciate flower manicure set, I was instantly drawn (nothing to do with the fact it was half price in the bargain utopia that is TK Maxx). The results on the box look simply stunning, and it’s available in blue (which I’ve got) and pink, which is aptly named ‘Strike a Posy’.

The set includes a pastel blue nail polish and a clear topcoat (both full size), two pots of dried flowers, a nail file and quite a decent pair of tweezers.ciate flower manicure review I whipped out this set on a Saturday night home alone when I had no distractions and plenty of time which are ideal conditions when you’re trying to focus on such a fiddly project. I put on a couple of coats of the pale blue (I’m personally not a massive fan of Ciate nail polishes, they tend to be quite slow-drying and this was no exception). Colour was nice though. Once dry, I put on a layer of the clear topcoat and as quick as I could, fished out a bit of flower and positioned it on my nail. Before it dried, I put on another piece to finish the formation. Once dry, I filed off the over-hanging bits and put on a final layer of topcoat.

The whole process was extremely fiddly and took an eye-watering amount of time. I’m not exactly the most patient gal in the world and frankly, I was glad when it was over. I liked the finished result from a distance, but you can see on the close-up what the problem was. Because you need so many layers of nail polish, you end up with a bit of a gloopy, air-bubbly effect. And because the flowers are more 3D then you’d expect, you don’t get a smooth finish like it looks on the packaging (which I suspect has been heavily photoshopped). The bits were quite sharp and I found they’d catch on everything. Longevity was decent, and even though little bits of flower snapped off during the course of the week, it wasn’t too noticeable.
ciate flower manicure reviewciate flower manicure review All in all, I really liked the look of this flower manicure but I was too embarrassed for my nearest and dearest to get too close. I doubt I’ll try this again any time soon but if I do, I’d probably take a bit more time and try to stop the dreaded bubbles from forming. If I’m being completely honest, I’d save yourself the time, hassle and frustration and just get yourself a set of nail wraps.

Ciate Flower Manicure in Bad-a-Bloom is available at Feel Unique for £18.

 

Review: Nivea Daily Essentials Double Effect Eye Make-Up Remover

16 August 2014

nivea daily essentials eye make-up remover

More and more budget brands are doing bi-phase eye makeup removers and I’ve been quite the floozy when it comes to trying them. I’m already a fan of the Daily Essentials range from Nivea (well, I’ve tried one other product – the Hydration Primer, review here) and I picked this up for the crazy-ass promotional price of £1.79.

I’d say this eye makeup remover sits somewhere in the middle of the L’Oreal version and the Garnier. It’s much less greasy than L’Oreal but more effective than Garnier. It takes off my eye makeup really easily (although I don’t use waterproof mascara), requires absolutely no scrubbing and doesn’t leave a greasy film. Definitely a repurchase.

The only downside is the sheer speed that this separates again after shaking. We’re talking maybe two seconds so you need to rather nimble-fingered. But at that price it wouldn’t be fair to demand it all.

Nivea Daily Essentials Double Effect Eye Make-Up Remover is available now at Boots for £1.79 (usual price £3.59).

Review: Maybelline Eye Studio Gel Liner Black

13 August 2014

maybelline gel linermaybelline gel liner review
It took me a while to get into gel liners but ever since giving Maybelline Eye Studio gel liner a proper go, I haven’t looked back.

It comes in a little glass pot and you get a brush too (people seem to like this brush but quite frankly I can’t stand it for applying eyeliner. It’s better used as a lip brush). The texture is creamy, matte and super black, apparently a dupe for Bobbi Brown. Because it’s thick and almost a solid, I find it much easier to work with than a liquid, and it seems to create less mess. I wrote about my favourite method of applying this here. A little unconventional for some but it works like a dream. The gel liner really glides along the skin, creating a smooth line and doesn’t drag.

It’s waterproof so wear time is great and stays pretty much perfect until I take it off. It even works in the waterline without stinging (however, the feeling of it will most probably make you feel queasy). I love this stuff, and can’t fault it. I was even stopped in John Lewis recently by a girl who was gagging to know what it was. Do you instantly like a product more when you get complimented on it? I know I do.

Maybelline Eye Studio Gel Liner is available at Boots and Superdrug for £7.99

Review: Sleek Eyebrow Stylist

9 August 2014

before and after.jpgsleek eyebrow stylist sleek eyebrow stylistsleek eyebrow stylist

If I was only able to make up one part of my face, it would be eyebrows every time. Even on my no-makeup days, I have to put my eyebrows on. Otherwise I’m left with short and gappy brows which make me look like a 12-year-old boy. So, every time I see a new brow product, I have to give it a go – this time it’s Sleek Eyebrow Stylist in Dark.

I’ll be honest, the thing that attracted me most about this eye pencil was the spoolie, which are surprisingly hard to come by on their own. I’m also a huge fan of Sleek products so I knew I wanted this as soon as it came out. There’s the spoolie on one end and a waxy wind-up pencil on the other. The pencil itself is slanted so it stays tapered which is a nice touch.
sleek eyebrow stylist
The pencil isn’t super pigmented but can be built up, which can take a bit of time. This is good news if you’re after a natural look or just want to quickly fill in the sparse bits. Because the nib is never going to be sharp, it can be difficult to draw in tiny hairs, so it works better with the spoolie brushed through afterwards to blend it all out. If you like pointed eyebrow tails, this probably isn’t the best thing to use, but perfect if you’re into a more organic look.

You can probably see that the shade Dark is a tiny bit off for my brows but not horrendously so. In terms of longevity, the Sleek Eyebrow Stylist stays put pretty much all day, even through the sweaty weather we’ve been suffering through recently.

I probably seem a bit indifferent to this eye pencil, and I’m not too sure how I feel about it. I like it for the sheer ease and the spoolie comes in especially handy whether I use the pencil or not. If I’m going to use an eye pencil, I do prefer a sharp nib which is the only sad thing about this. Nonetheless, the Sleek Eyebrow Stylist is definitely worth having in your makeup bag for days when you can’t be bothered spending hours on your brows.

Sleek Eyebrow Stylist is available from Boots and Superdrug and costs £5.99

Review: Garnier Miracle Skin Cream

3 August 2014

garnier miracle skin cream before after
If you’re in the UK you’ll probably know how sweltering it’s been recently. Other than lying on the floor in my pants and being surgically attached to any ice-based foodstuff, there’s not been a lot I’ve felt like doing. Trowelling on layers of heavy foundation certainly isn’t on my list of priorities right now so I’ve been opting for lighter bases, and last week I bought the Miracle Skin Cream from Garnier as I’d heard good things.
garnier miracle skin cream
Garnier Miracle Skin Cream is supposed to be an instant skin transformer, making it look more even and firmer, etc etc. It’s also meant to be full of anti-ageing properties, although that remains to be seen. It also comes with SPF20 which is just as well as I almost always forget to put sunscreen on until it’s too late.

It comes out of the tube as a thick-ish yellow toned cream with little beads that burst with a slight tint when you rub it onto the skin – you know the ones. It’s meant to be self adjusting to every skin colour which is usually a pretty tall order. I found that the colour was fine for me, although it did make my face look a tiny, tiny bit lighter but that could just be the brightening effect. It’s super easy to put on and blends in quickly. I must say, that I absolutely love the results. It doesn’t drastically change my skin but it does even things out a little bit, especially around my somewhat ruddy cheeks. It feels fresh and light, and I just feel like it makes my skin look glowing and natural. I usually wear this on its own but it works well under makeup as it makes my skin SO smooth and soft. You can see from the before and after photos what I mean, the results are subtle but pleasant.
garnier miracle skin cream review
The only issue someone might have with Garnier Miracle Skin Cream is the colour. I’m guessing anyone much darker than me won’t like this, it might make your skin look a bit odd. Similarly, anyone with very pale skin might find it’s too dark or orange.

All in all, this is a great one for summer and has replaced my Benefit Big Easy (review here) and Laura Mercier tinted moisturiser this past week. If you’ve got good skin to begin with, you will love Garnier Miracle Skin Cream as a base, it’s so effortless!

Garnier Miracle Skin Cream is available at Boots for £12.99 but is currently on sale for a much more enticing £8.99!

Review: Gosh Boombastic Mascara

16 July 2014

gosh boombastic reviewI mentioned Gosh Boombastic Mascara briefly in my June Favourites but seeing as I’ve used it every day for a month I thought it deserved to come out of the shadows and be publicly showered with compliments.

Horrible name aside, along with bothersome mental images of Shaggy, I’ve been entangled in a web of lust with this mascara. You can see the transformation my lashes are obviously enjoying (sorry about the poor quality of the before photo), going from shy and retiring to loud and proud. The formula is a tiny bit on the gloopy side so you need to wipe off the blob on the end (not nearly as vulgar as it sounds). The tiny, short plastic bristles really grip your lashes and help you get right in the roots so lashes are nicely coated. Because the formula is quite thick, it helps hold the curl, and I don’t experience any dreaded flaking. In the photo, I’ve put on one coat but sometimes I do two. A bit of clumping does occur if you’re too hasty between coats but I personally don’t mind spidery lashes now and again. Removal is a doddle too. I’ve had this tube for a couple of months and it hasn’t dried out or changed much in that time so it’s a big thumbs up all round.gosh boombastic mascara reviewIf you’re a fan of Max Factor False Lash Effect, I implore you try this. Even if you’re not a fan, I implore you to try this. Be warned though, it took me a couple of weeks to track this down and even then there was only one left on the shelf, so if you see it, buy two. All in all, a great mascara and definitely one to repurchase.gosh boombastic mascara review

Gosh Boombastic Mascara is available at Superdrug for £8.49

Review: Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick Patina

14 July 2014

stila stay all day liquid lipstick patinaHello pals!

Having finally gotten off my fat ass and uploaded my June favourites last night after a three-week hiatus, I can safely say I’ve been bitten by metaphorical blogging ‘bug’. To mark this huzzah-worthy occasion I’m bringing you a review which I’ve been agonising over for weeks.

Stila is one of those brands I was never really bothered about (probably because the font reminds me of a pet shop) but my rampant desire to find a nude matte liquid lipstick could not be quenched in Boots. I was passing the big Marks & Spencer on Oxford Street and remembered that trusty M&S is no longer just for the aged middle classes and big pants – they stock some surprising brands in their ‘beauty hall’ including Philip Kingsley, Nuxe and of course Stila. I picked up the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Patina, which is a brown-toned nude-pink – a perfect match for my natural lip colour.stila stay all day liquid lipstick patina stila stay all day liquid lipstick patina First off, the smell is incredible. I’m not usually one for such twee-ness but these lipsticks have a vanilla cupcake scent which makes you want to devour the whole tube. The formula is not at all sticky, and is extremely smooth and velvety. So smooth in fact that my hand slips and slides all over the shop, making it impossible to get a neat finish with the applicator,  so this is definitely a job for a lip brush. The formula is very liquidy but dries down to the mattest finish I’ve ever seen and really adheres to the lips. Because the formula is so opaque, any wonky lines will be extremely obvious. This is absolutely not one for moving vehicle application. As it is so opaque, it’s perfect for over-drawing your lip line and covers up the real one brilliantly, giving you Leslie Ash lips if your heart so desires. To be fair, when I put this on in the morning, it does hang around for a good few hours. However, any prolonged liquid consumption causes it to flake horribly and it leaves a bit of a line. Because Patina is nude, it’s not as obvious as it could be but I dread to think how one of the bold shades would look.

As I said, the finish is very, very matte which causes some dryness issues. The first time around, Stila Patina looked absolutely awful – my lips literally resembled an elephant’s backside. They looked super cracked and dry, it was probably the worst finish I’ve ever seen. Although it feels smooth to the touch, it’s the only lip product I’ve tried that feels genuinely uncomfortable on. I didn’t include photos of it at its worse as it would simply be too graphic. Trying again after exfoliating with a sugar scrub and moisturising with Nuxe Reve de Miel overnight improved the situation a little bit but it still didn’t look great.stila patinaI’ve found the only way to make this wearable is to intensely exfoliate and moisturise beforehand, then patting on a tiny amount, using it as more of a lip stain.

These are described on the Stila website as being ‘enriched with Vitamin E and avocado oil’ which I feel might be a bit of an exaggeration. Unless you have lips made of butter and the patience of a saint, I really don’t recommend this. Other reviewers seems to like Stila liquid lipsticks in other colours so maybe some of them fare a bit better than Patina. If anyone has had any experience with these lipsticks do let me know, I want to find away to love them!

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Patina is available here for £15 but honestly, you’re better off not bothering.

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