Monday, September 30, 2013

The new additions-and a rediscovery

I quite like doing these 'new additions' posts as it makes me evaluate what new things I am using and give my initial impressions.  Here is my new additions post number three with a sneaky rediscovery thrown in at the end!

I was genuinely sad to finish up my Elemental Herbology moisture milk moisturiser but this Caudalie one is quite a nice (and cheaper) alternative.  The Elemental Herbology had a runny gel like texture whereas this is more cream based-it's described as a sorbet but I would say its a light (almost fluffy??) but dense cream.  It contains grape water and chamomile making it suitable for sensitive skin and I find it nourishing without being heavy.  The squeezy tube makes it easy to dispense the amount you need without wastage as well.

Lancome Genefique Light Pearl is 'an eye illuminating youth activating concentrate' and as soon as this was launched I picked it up in duty free but have only just got round to using it.  It's not an eye cream, it's a serum and is therefore quite runny.  It has a unique and unusual 360 degree revolving ball applicator which you use to apply it to your skin and massage the product in.  Lancome has a video for you to watch on how to apply it correctly.  I had to watch it twice.

I have to say, I'm not blown away.  Without doubt you get lots of product but it is a faff to apply and takes ages to dry.  I also think the 'rotating ball' applicator picks up too much product so I do feel like I am using too much and overloading the eye area.  I'd love to hear anyone else's opinion of this but I have been using it for 4 weeks now and not seen any particular eye illuminating improvement.

I bought the Melvita Rose Extraordinary Water from Harvey Nic's Beauty Mart and have been using it as my 'hydrating toner' for the past week or so since my lovely Elemis Apricot Soothing Toner finished up.  The texture is that of a thick runny gel which is a change from spritzing my face with the Elemis toner and I apply it to a cotton pad then swipe over my face.  Probably too early to form an opinion yet but I have notice my skin is SO soft after using it and it dries really fast.  I actually thought this was quite a 'cheap' toner, I was sure it cost around the £8 mark but the label is still on it and it's actually £14 so more expensive than I initially thought.  This is the first Melvita product I have used and my interest in it was sparked by Rebecca at Be Beautiful who gave the orange version of this a glowing review.  It contains hyaluronic acid which is a key ingredient I look for in a hydrating toner and now that my Hydraluron has run out this will go some way to adding the moisture back into my skin after cleansing.

You may have seen me talk about this cleansing balm before.  After receiving two very generous samples from Space NK with a GWP I really fell in love with it and purchased the (hideously expensive) full size.  The packaging is gorgeous but it's the contents that really matter and this light cleansing balm is super effective.  First off, if you struggle to use cleansing balms because of break outs caused by Shea Butter or Beeswax, this cleansing balm doesnt contain either.  It's much lighter in texture than the Emma Hardie and the Elemis balms I have been using recently but it gets every scrap of make up off and can be used round the eyes without irritation.  But its an eye watering £48 and considering it is fairly similar to the Ren No 1 Purity cleansing balm in texture but double the price I probably wouldn't repurchase.  But I do love it.

As always, I apply this balm to dry skin, massage in, rinse with water then remove properly with a wet flannel.

My skin had a major dickie fit around February this year and I completely scrapped my entire skincare routine including this Estee Lauder Idealist serum which I was using in the morning before my moisturiser.  This has been lying untouched in my every day make up box since then but when my hydraluron ran out I decided to replace it with this rather than opening something new.

I loved Idealist when I first used it for its skin brightening properties and for the fact my skin felt like velvet after I used it.  It is a yellow toned gel serum you apply before moisturiser.  Estee Lauder state that it minimizes pores, evens skin tone and brightens.  I agree with it evening out skin tone and brightening even if the effect is only temporary.  It seems to reduce redness and almost give a soft focus to the skin.  It is silicone based hence the velvety feeling but because silicone makes a decent base for anything else you put on top of it I find I need a lot less moisturiser.  I hope I fall in love with it again!

Do you use and love any of these products?


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Huge Space NK splurge

So yesterday I put up my first UK haul post showing you my Charlotte Tilbury purchases and today I thought I would share with you my Space NK haul.

I do LOVE Space NK.  To me it's like Disneyland for a make up addict like me and my favourite store is the Hans Crescent one right next to Harrods (and also right next to my London office so it's a good job I am not required to travel to London very much!).

I think the beauty of Space NK is that there isn't a counter representative selling their brand on each section.  So it's not like going into Selfridges where on the Estee Lauder counter they only talk about Estee Lauder and on the YSL counter they only talk about YSL.  The shop assistants in Space NK tend to be knowledgeable about pretty much everything meaning you can have a detailed and informative conversation about a variety of brands.  Now don't get me wrong, I am not naive and I know that there are probably brands they are encouraged to 'push' more but I don't feel like I am in a pushy sales environment.

If you're going to Hans Crescent you have to seek out Alice.  Alice is the redhead Kiwi with the impeccable 50's style make up.  And she is lovely.  I always always seek her out because she's honest, plain speaking, knowledgeable and helpful.

With Alice's help and guidance this is what I picked up whilst in London.

The first couple of things were repurchases of two things I have used and loved from Ren.  The first is the No 1 Purity Cleansing Balm which is a great dupe for the much more expensive Rodial Glamtox I rave about and the second was the much hyped, but oh so worth it Ren Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask.  I haven't read one negative review about this gloopy, marmalade like, glow giving 10 minute treat.

More skincare was next in the basket, I wanted to try the much hyped Kiehls SPF50 (I don't wear as much SPF as I should considering where I live) and I was intrigued by the Rodial Hyaluronic toner.  I'm all about the skincare this year and use an exfoliating and a hydrating toner daily.  This would fall into the 'hydrating toner' category and I especially like the fact it's in a spray bottle.

After proclaiming my love for the original 'black' Glamglow mask here, Alice told me the white version is even better!  My original Glamglow is almost finished so I can't wait to try this one next.  I also picked up this serum from Sunday Riley who seems to have come to the forefront of good skincare this year with her highly rated and 'sold out everywhere after Caroline Hirons raved about it' Ceramic Slip cleanser.  I picked up the 'Good Genes' serum after reading a great review on it on the flight over to London.

Everything I have tried from Aesop so far (which have been mainly masks) has been amazing and I really wanted to try a cleanser from them so I went for their 'fabulous face cleanser'.   I've potentially spotted two problems with this cleanser though-no pump to dispense the product and a glass jar-knowing me that could end up smashed all over my shower floor!

Next we talked about new launches and I fell in love with these brand new lipsticks from Lipstick Queen when I swatched them.  The packaging looks like a roman column, heavy, solid and golden and I chose a red and a nude from the range.  What I didn't realise at the time was that these new lipsticks cost an eye watering £35 each!  The most expensive lipstick I have ever bought I suspect and I bought two!  And honestly I don't know what is so special about them, especially as Lipstick Queen polishes normally retail for £20.

There are 6 shades in total and definitely one to whip out when you want to look glam re-applying your lipstick!

The one item I definitely wanted to look at were the Hourglass Femme Nude Lip Stylo's which I knew had just launched in the UK.  If you have seen my recent 5 Mac nudes post you'll know I am on the lookout for the perfect nude.  There weren't too many swatches online so I was keen to see them up close and personal.  I told Alice I was looking for nudes that were NOT 'my lips but better'.  She assured me that none of the 6 shades in the range were and recommended number 6 for my skintone.  I also picked up number 4 and can't wait to try them.  I wish I had picked up number 5 as well though!  I have some N'Dulge reward points to spend so that may be purchased using them!

I also fell for another high end lipstick, this beautiful bright pink shade called Pink Party.  I don't own much from By Terry but this lipstick is so beautifully packaged.  Firstly in comes in it's own purple silk pouch which houses the simple silver metal case.  The bullet has 'Terrybly' engraved into it and the case has By Terry embossed on the inner tube.  Utter luxury.

More lipstick?  Yes (I did purchase 30 in total during the week eek), this time two from Nars-Manhunt and Cat Fight.  Did I buy Cat Fight just because it had the word 'Cat' in it?  Hell yes!

We also talked foundation and Alice told me she had been really impressed with the newly launched Nars Radiant Creamy Compact foundation which comes in a refillable compact.  She advised it's best applied with the sponge but is very easy to build and blend.  I really want to pick up the Nars Sheer Matte foundation next time I am in the UK (we don't get Nars in Dubai).

I utterly adore the Nars duo eyeshadows-I always go for the shimmery, velvet textures over the flat matte textures as they offer much better colour payoff.  I decided to add Cordura and Bellissima to my ever growing collection.

Finally Alice wanted to show me a new palette from Chantecaille.  I don't own anything from Chantecaille, again it's not a brand we have in Dubai.  On first glance I thought it was pretty but nothing special.  If it had cats embossed on it I would buy it regardless but this palette has been designed and embossed with Wild Horses and will benefit the Humane Society of the United States.  It's also limited edition.  Alice said she had felt the same, that it was 'just ok' until she swatched it and was then blown away and she said it was her favourite Fall launch of any brand.  When I swatched the palette myself, it was literally wow and immediate love.  The colours and textues are amazing and I am so excited to own this palette.  The packaging is utterly beautiful too!

Quite a haul and a very enjoyable 30 minutes chatting to Alice and filling my basket.  I haven't had chance to play with all my new purchases yet so let me know what you would like reviewed first!

Good job I am not back in the UK until December so my debit card can cool down again!


Friday, September 27, 2013

Charlotte Tilbury haul

So as you can see I amassed quite a haul when Charlotte Tilbury launched her much anticipated make up line earlier this month!

Being 3 hours ahead in Dubai has it's advantages sometimes-whilst the UK were sleeping on the launch date, I was on the Selfridges website clicking 'add to basket' like a lunatic.

It's been a very hectic couple of weeks-we were on holiday when these launched and I had them sent to Danielle's so I could collect them whilst I was in London but then it was straight back into the madness of work and I have spent the last 5 days in Cairo working.

So the upshot is, this is a photo heavy, haul post to show you what I picked up, because I haven't had time to play yet.  You can read two really good reviews though on Vanessa's and Antonia's blogs (who have both actually met the lady herself) on the bits they acquired.

My initial thoughts are I love the look of everything.  The packaging to me is overall very 'Gatsby-esque' but does anyone remember the old Rimmel packaging that was brown and cream?  Sadly some of the packaging is reminiscent of that.  The lipsticks and the Filmstar Sculpt and Glow have the best and most expensive feeling packaging-they feel most deserving of the price tag you'll pay for Charlotte's first foray into retail cosmetics.

So here is what I picked up.......

Have you picked up anything up from the collection?  Leave me your link to any reviews you have done as I would love to read them.   If you've not purchased anything yet, what would you like to see reviewed first?


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Lip Six

Good morning from Cairo!  I'm flying back to Dubai tonight and ready to sleeeeeeeeeeep tomorrow before my parents arrive in Dubai on Sunday for a week. #BusyBusy.

Here's a quick post for you on my last 6 days lip choices.

Top row: (L) Mac Pro Longwear Gloss in Full Speed Ahead (R) Clarins Rouge Prodige 134 in Orchid Pink

Middle row (L) Chanel Rouge Allure 82 in Incognito (R) Clinique Long Last Lipstick in Runway Coral

Bottom row (L) Buxom lip gloss in Creamsicle (R) Lush liquid lipstick in Believe

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Giorgio Armani Rouge Ecstasy Lipstick-review and swatches

This last week will go down in my history as the week I purchased 30 lipsticks.  Now I am well aware that is more than some people own full stop.  During my trip to the UK I hauled a massive 27 lipsticks-it was easily done (for me)-a bit of shopping here and there and buying one or two each time, I'd ordered 'some' things to Danielles and 'some' things to my mums and voila, 27 lipsticks.  And then when I got back to work there were 3 waiting for me that I had ordered from the US.  30 lipsticks.

Here you can see 5 of them.  A new formula from Armani that I have been waiting to be released after seeing this amazing post from Rae at The RAEviewer swatching all 36 in the range.  A hit list of 5 was drawn up by me immediately and here they are.  Each is housed in a bold red tube with the silver GA initials embossed on the join between the bullet and lid.  The case contains a magnetic fastening to ensure the lipstick stays closed in your bag which has become a common feature on high end lipsticks-I notice all my Burberry ones have this as well.  I LOVE the packaging, to me it's very Louboutin-esque but I have been surprised at some of the comments on other reviews of people hating the packaging.  For me, it's a win, it works and it differentiates itself easily in my make up bag.

This is the worlds first 'CC' lipstick.  I can see you rolling your eyes.  I have never got on the bandwagon of BB or CC creams-to me they're just rebranded tinted moisturiser but whereas CC means 'colour and correct' in the balm, in this lipstick CC stands for colour and care.

I've been testing these out this week and all of them are consistent in texture, wear time and finish. In truth, every item I have bought from Armani cosmetics I have loved in the past so I was expecting them to be good!

Armani say these lipsticks 'offer the comfort and softness of a lip balm' and that this 'velvety soft everyday lipstick coats lips in saturated, ultra luminous colour with impeccable hold'.  I have never heard a lipstick being described as an 'everyday lipstick'-it seems an unimpressive term but actually having tried them I completely agree.

If you like a bold, 'one swipe and it's opaque' power pout these lipsticks will annoy the hell out of you.  The lipsticks all offer a very sheer veil of colour with one swipe of the bullet and are super easy to apply straight from the tube.  But, this is one of the most buildable lipsticks I own and you can keep on layering until you get a decent colour pay off-but it takes a bit of work.   Once on the lips they feel balmy and light, yet not as slippery as the (much cheaper) lip butters available.  They dry down semi matte but with a definite sheen to them and lips stay hydrated all day, I didn't even need to apply a lip balm first.  I'm actually wearing 'Skin' now as I type this and I have to say I do like the way my lips feel with it on-this is a seriously moisturising lipstick.

If you like easy to wear, comfortable, hydrating 'everyday' formulas these will definitely be up your street and with 36 colours in the range there is bound to be one you love.  I can't honestly say this is the best lipstick ever, but I can say I am 100% sure there will always be one or two floating around my handbag.

Do you think you will be checking these out or do you suspect they might be overpriced lip butters?

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