Friday, April 29, 2016

Esqido 'Unforgettable' mink lashes review

Here's the thing.  I love false lashes.  I love the look, I love the definition and I love the focus it brings to your eyes.  What I don't love is putting them on, in fact I would rate myself as a poor at applying them.  I've tried every technique and tool out there and I guess it's just a case of practice makes perfect.

Esqido contacted me to see if I would be interested in trying their Unforgettable mink lashes and having seen the brand on Tasha's blog, I knew that if Tasha was raving about them, then this was a bandwagon I wanted to jump on too.

Esqido very kindly sent me not only the Unforgettable mink lashes but also their Companion lash glue to try as well.  I love the way these are packaged up but aesthetics aside, the products are both amazing too.

A quick shout out for the lash glue.  I always buy a separate lash glue and never use the ones that are included with lashes.  The Huda Beauty black one is good but I find it sets like cement and my lashes take a bit of a beating when I try to remove my falsies.

The Esqido one is basically what all lash glues should aim to be.  Packaged in a glass tube and with a wand applicator, it just makes application of the glue to the lashes so precise, non messy and seamless.  The glue is white and dries clear and it literally holds the lashes on all day and then removes easily when I want it to.

The Unforgettable lashes are subtly glamorous-the lashes vary in gradient and thickness along the band for a fluttery, winged out effect.  I trimmed mine down very slightly from the outer corner and once on, they feel weightless.  I've worn mine twice now but if you care for them properly, these handcrafted minn lashes can be used up to 25 times and are designed to be much softer and much more durable than synthetic lashes.

The Esqido website has some great features I really like-you can see the lashes on other people as they include photos from social media and there is also a 'before and after' slider you can view to see how the lashes look when applied.  There's also a whole section on caring for your lashes. Although they're based out of the US they ship internationally-in some cases for free, otherwise it's a $5 flat rate.

Unforgettable is a great all rounder-it's subtle enough for daytime because the lashes look so seamless against my natural lashes but it also adds enough definition and elongation to the lashes to make it sexier for a more smoky, evening look.  False lashes make me feel more put together, more glamorous and if it didn't take me about 20 minutes to put them on I would wear them daily.

Are you false lashes fan?

*this post contains a product gifted to me for review.  As always, my thoughts and opinions are purely my own.
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Monday, April 25, 2016

Lip Six

lipstick swatches
Happy Monday! I am hoping this is going to be my quietest week in a long time!  Apart from a hair appointment I have no other plans and I am so happy because I desperately need some downtime.  I remain open to offers though with my new mantra of 'say yes to everything'!

Here are my last 6 lip picks

Top row (L) Bobbi Brown Art Stick in Bright Raspberry (review!) Re-reading that post from 2 years ago showed me how cool the blogging community is and that all the girls I mentioned are still firm friends. (R) NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Hyde Park (review!)

Middle row (L) Dior Fluid Stick in Mona Lisette 872 (review!) (R) Dior Fluid Stick in Magique 479 (review!)

Bottom row (L) Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick in Holly (LE)  (R) Dior Fluid Stick in Rieuse 373 (review!)

I really was loving the glossy Dior Fluid Sticks last week!

Which is your favourite?  Have an amazing week xx

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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sephora haul-and make up shopping in Dubai

Sephora haul

I haven't done a haul post in ages so I thought I would do a little show and tell on what I picked up recently when Sarah and Aimee were staying with me in Dubai, with some swatches and reviews to follow.

One of the questions I get asked the most is what brands are available in Sephora in Dubai that are not in the UK.  So I thought in this post I would touch on what you can get here in Sephora that is not so accessible in the UK.  There is a Sephora in every big mall in Dubai, the biggest being Dubai Mall but it is also by far the busiest.  My favourite Sephoras are Dubai Marina Mall and Mall of the Emirates.

Sephora of course stocks its own brand make up which you can get shipped to the UK from the US website but in Dubai you can swatch and feel the texture of different products.  Sephora items I would highly recommend are the sheet masks, the make up removing wipes (which I use for touch ups only, not actually removing make up), the matte lip creams and the individual eyeshadows.  I also really like the chunky eyeshadow crayons and the Formula X nail polishes.

Sephora also stocks all the mainstream make up brands-Givenchy, Guerlain, Chanel, Estee Lauder, Dior, Armani, Clarins, YSL, NARS, Benefit, Too Faced etc etc BUT it is more expensive than the UK.

Dubai has recently introduced a couple of more cult US brands such as Kat Von D and Anastasia but currently the stock levels are quite poor.  Also Make Up For Ever is a very accessible brand in Dubai.  Marc Jacobs Beauty is also in all Sephora's here.

The brand I always recommend people check out in Dubai is the Gucci make up line.  I really like their bronzers, the single eyeshadows and their lip products.

There are a few Dubai based brands also worth checking out-Huda Beauty lashes (and I assume shortly the lip contours) are in all stores but stock can be a little hit and miss-the Marina Mall usually has the best stock levels I have seen.  A brand I learned about last week is Pinky Goat lashes-I still don't know a huge amount about them but I bought a ton of them on Sarah's recommendation so I will get using and reviewing them asap.  They are not sold in Sephora but are stocked in a store called Wojooh (there is one in every mall) which is another 'make up' department store who also has their own in house make up line.  I haven't really tried anything from there so can't recommend anything.

We also have plenty of MAC standalone stores and concessions and we do tend to be a few weeks behind the UK and US launches so on the odd occasion you can stumble upon a sold out collection in your home country here in Dubai.  Inglot also has some standalone stores here-I know there are definitely ones in Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates.

And of course Bath and Body Works is everywhere in Dubai if you want to stock up on candles and smellies.

I was recently contacted by Jessica from the US who asked what brands she could get in Dubai that weren't so accessible in the US-the ones that sprung to mind were the Gucci, Huda Beauty, Burberry and Pinky Goat but also Bourjois as I know you can't get that in the US.  Also in the pharmacies here, they stock a ton of french pharmacy brands-it's actually quite fascinating what you can pick up but off the top of my head they stock things like La Roche Posay, Nuxe, Bioderma, Avene, Filorga, Institut Esthederm.  I don't know how accessible french pharmacy skincare is in the US these days but there is a huge array of brands here.

Brands that you can't get in store in Dubai that I am often asked about-Tarte, Bite, Buxom, BECCA (but I learned this weekend it's coming very soon!), Josie Maran, Tatcha, Boscia, First Aid Beauty, Fresh, Cover FX and Elizabeth and James.  Actually we don't get any of the rollerball perfumes in Sephora in Dubai.

I hope these snippets of info are useful and if you are visiting Dubai and have any questions you can always contact me for more info.

On to my haul.....

Sephora haul

OK so I don't know what happened with my photography but I seemed to photograph this in two parts.

Starting from the left, I picked up two Sephora essentials-the Express Eye Makeup Remover wipes which come in individual packets and are perfect for clearing away mascara smudges around 4pm.  They're gentle but effective.  The only downside is that the packaging does look like a condom so it can look slightly dodgy carrying these in your handbag.  Just saying...

The second is the Targeted Eye Remover Swabs.  I can assure you that these pre-soaked cotton buds do not actually remove your eye but are great for clearing up any eyeshadow/mascara mistakes.  But your eyes will remain intact.

I picked up 3 more pairs of the Huda Beauty lashes-this is becoming an expensive addiction.  I bought another pair of Giselle which are my favourites, plus a pair of Samantha (which Aimee wore and you can see them on her instagram and they looked fricking amazing) and a pair of the Farah mink lashes.  Dubai Mall definitely has the best range of lashes but the lowest stock levels.

The lipgloss which is stood up is another of the Sephora Matte Cream lip stains and this is in the shade Pink Souffle.  I really like these lip stains-they're comfortable and long lasting and don't flake off my lips (I'm looking at you Anastasia liquid lipsticks).

The other Sephora product is the MicroSmooth Baked Sculpting Contour Trio in the shade Light 01.  I bought this for my god daughter Leah when she was visiting me in Dubai recently and I really liked the way it swatched so I went back and got one for me.  It's highly unlikely I will use the individual shades in this palette-I will just stick a fluffy brush in, swirl around and apply to my cheeks.

I picked up the newly formulated Dior Forever foundation.  I remember really liking the old version and this seems to be doing the rounds on youtube at the moment and looks to be a relatively full coverage, buildable, matte-ish foundation which is pretty much where my heart lies.

There's also an Essie polish snuck in there-it's from the cashmere matte collection and is called All Eyes on Nudes.  This is the only matte polish I have over owned and I actually like how chic this looks on the nails without looking like I have Tippex-d them.

Sephora haul

Two 're-stocks'-the Anastasia Clear Brow Gel which is a HG product for me and the Sephora Colorful Eyeshadow and Liner stick in the shade Taupe.  I recently included this in my current favourites post and it's an amazing crease-proof eyeshadow stick that I use almost daily.

In the middle you see the much coverted and hard to come by Huda Beauty lip liner in the shade Icon.  Sarah, Aimee and I tried to get these in 3 different Sephora's when they launched to no avail.  We were casually browing Sephora Marina Mall when we saw a sales associate walk across the store with 4 of these in her hand, followed by 3 Lebanese girls.  I swear I swooped in, literally plucking three from her hands before anyone could stop me and victorious, I marched to the counter proclaiming to Sarah and Aimee I had got us all one.  We didn't even swatch it lol!  The shade is actually a very wearable deep nude/berry.  I'll get a review up asap as I know there is a lot of hype around these at the moment.

Sephora haul

Sephora haul

Sephora haul

Another re-stock is the Sephora Express Nail Polish remover which is one of those 'dip your finger in' nail polish removers.  I have been having a lot of gel manicures recently because they're so fuss free but they're really bad for your nails (plus I own about a million nail polishes) so I am trying to get back into doing my own nails.  But I needed a refill on nail polish remover and I really like this one.

I had swatched the Burberry Eye Colour Contour stick in store and fell in love with Rosewood-even though it is the exact same shade as the pressed powder eyeshadow in the same name (which I own)  The eye colour contour stick is the same concept as the By Terry Ombre Blackstar/Trish McEvoy 24hr Eyeshadow and Liner stick/Laura Mercier Caviar Stick style of cream eyeshadow sticks and the formula of this is quite nice.  I don't think the shade is actually anything special on my eyes though.  I wore it recently when we went for a swanky afternoon tea but I didn't honestly love it.

Burberry Rosewood
Sephora haul

Lastly I picked up 3 more Sephora single eyeshadows, yes yes I am a little addicted.  This started because Kirsty bought and swatched Fashion Blogger on her blog and that immediately went onto my wishlist, and then when I was in store I ended up throwing two more in my basket.  It's easy to do.  I love the formula of these and have a Z palette full of them.  They're really good value, the colour pay off and longevity is excellent, they're super easy to depot-and the pans are magnetised so literally pop straight into a Z palette or similar.

Sephora haul

Sephora haul

essie all eyes on nude

So that's my latest purchases-what would you like to see reviewed first?

Let me know if you've been to or live in Dubai and I have forgotten any of the brands that might be of interest to make up loving visitors!

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Friday, April 22, 2016

The Undecideds #3

My previous 'undecideds' posts have been well received so I thought I would share four more products I sit firmly on the fence about at the moment.

Vichy Idealia Yeux

I bought this on a whim over the Xmas holidays having read positive things about it on other blogs but I find this such a faff to use with no 'wow' results.  The eye cream has a plastic paddle dispenser and I find it so hard to squeeze the product out, to the point where I actually can't be bothered.  The cream itself is lightweight and absorbs quickly-it's pleasant but I am far from bowled over.

Laura Mercier Faux Lashes mascara

You may have spotted this on my recent empties post but this mascara was great on the lashes but terrible in every other way.  The brush is chunky and scratchy-a scratchy brush is one of my pet hates!  The mascara contains tiny fibres and every time I applied it they went into my eyes which really irritated them.  The actual look on the lashes was really good-but the mascara flaked badly on me and I felt like I constantly had to check for black spots on my cheeks!  The mascara really builds the lashes and adds tons of volume.  When I first photographed this a few weeks ago I was undecided-now I am a definite no.

Make Up Forever HD foundation stick

I know this is controversial but I am just not loving this foundation as much as other people are.  I've been striping it on my skin and then pressing in with a damp beauty blender and I do like the way it applies and the finish, but I feel like it doesn't last long on my skin.  I have tried different primers and also buffing in with a brush but I just feel like after a few hours the product has sunk into my skin and disappeared.  I also find it clings to dry patches and highlights pores round my cheek, whichever primer I try.

What I do like about this foundation is that it's great for using on the neck-I have a strong red undertone on my face but a very pale neck so I tend to swipe this down my neck and then smooth in with my hands and it works a treat.

I will persevere with this foundation-if you have any application tips let me know!

I had to buy a shade lighter with this formula than my normal MUFE HD shade.  I went down from 117 to 115.

Batiste Texturizing Spray

I was excited to see this when I was back in the UK at Xmas as I am a die hard Batiste dry shampoo fan and stock pile it when I go to the UK.  But I don't really feel this spray does anything from my hair.  It doesn't really add texture or grit to my hair and I feel like my hair goes flat(ter) quite quickly.  My HG texturizing sprays are the Charles Worthington and the Label M ones-next time I am in the UK I will definitely be stocking up!

Have you tried any of these products?  Is there anything you're undecided on at the moment?
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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Recent empties

Happy hump day!  Here's a quick run down of my recent empties and links to any full reviews I have done.

Benefit Erase Paste-A very thick concealer that had gotten way past its best, this concealer is marketed as a brightening concealer for under the eyes.  I found it way too heavy for under my eyes and that it really creased up, but I did like it as a spot concealer when applied with a small brush.  The lightest shade has a slightly salmon undertone to it so it theory should be good for cancelling out discoloration but I do prefer the Bobbi Brown corrector I reviewed here.

Chanel Vitalumiere Loose Powder Foundation-I'm not generally a fan of mineral/powder foundations but I actually did really like this one.   I prefer it to the Laura Mercier and felt it was lighter and less cakey than the Laura Mercier.  I tended to buff this over my skin as a setting powder on days when I really wanted to have a full coverage and this is also great for touching up on planes, trains and automobiles.

Lush BIG shampoo*-Definitely my all time fave Lush shampoo, I love the chunky salt crystals for adding oomph to my fine hair.  I think the reason I love this shampoo so much is that it is so weird! I have never used anything like it.  It has *actual* big sea salt crystals in it and you literally need a tiny bit of this shampoo to get a rich lather and my hair has never ever been so soft as it is with this shampoo.  Aside from sea salt it also contains seaweed and coconut, lemon and lime, mandarin, neroli and vanilla.  I can definitely see me repurchasing this over and over.  Don't be put off or slightly freaked out (as I was) but the sea salt in the formula, it dissolves on contact with your hair.  Lush UAE sent me this as part of a hair care parcel and it was the thing that immediately sparked joy when I opened it!

Ole Henriksen Pure Truth Melting Cleanser-I reviewed this in full at the weekend-all of my thoughts are here.

Lancome Eau Micellaire Douceur-hands down my favourite micellaire water for removing make-up.  It doesn't dry my skin out or break me out.  Admittedly I only use this when travelling on long flights (or if I have a very late night and I cannot be bothered to cleanse....)  This is my fourth bottle.

MAC Strobe Lotion-The lighter and more liquid version of the cult Strobe Cream, I love this as a primer or mixed with foundation.  It gives a violet toned pearlescent glow to the skin and sits well under any foundation.  It also lasts forever-I did a full review of how I use this in my Faux Glow post.

Paulas Choice 2% BHA Skin Perfecting lotion-My first foray into Paula's Choice, I bought this from Look Fantastic at Xmas when I was in the UK.  I honestly wasn't that impressed-I didn't see any improvement in my skin and I thought it felt very harsh and stripping on my skin.  Not something I would repurchase.

Sarah Chapman Skinesis Rapid Radiance Cleanse-One of my favourite clay based cleansers, this is my third bottle of the Rapid Radiance cleanser.  I've done a full review of this product here and I really rate all of the Sarah Chapman products I have tried so far.

Urban Decay Deslick Make Up Setting Spray-this was a travel sized version but this is one of the better setting sprays I have tried and I have just repurchased a full size.  I have very oily skin and this definitely helps to lock my make up down and keep it in place.

Kielhs Superbly Restorative Argan Dry Oil-this beautiful body oil made it into my Top 15 of 15 it's that good.  Brilliantly moisturising, non sticky, instantly absorbed and lasts forever-probably the best body oil I have ever used for day to day use.  (This Jo Malone one is the best and most luxurious dry body oil I have ever used FYI)

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Skin Perfect Powder-This is my fourth compact of this silky finishing powder and you can read a full on product rave of it here.  The only thing I do dislike about this powder is when it gets to the stage it is in the picture above it's done-you can't eek out any extra from it!

There are 3 products in the last picture-Anastasia Clear Brow Gel (which is a HG product and an absolute must have) and 2 mascaras.  Dior Iconic Overcurl mascara is amazing-I loved it and I reviewed it in full here and you can also see it in action on my lashes here.  The second mascara was not such a hit-it's the Laura Mercier Faux Lash mascara.  The brush is very large and scratchy-it felt like the NARS Audacious mascara wand which I really did not like.  The actual mascara on the lashes looked great-my lashes were very volumised-but it flaked and smudged so badly on me and the tiny fibres in the mascara kept getting into my eyes and irritating them.  I did persevere because I like the effect on the lashes but eventually I decided it wasn't worth it.

Have you tried any of these products?
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