Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Disappointing products #3

I've been storing up the products that just haven't been making the grade.  Here's five that are being banished from my cosmetic collection.

First up is a lipstick from YSL.  It was so bad I dedicated a whole blog post to it here back in September.  Sadly it was so drying it was literally peeling off my lips within a few hours, I couldn't get it to work at all on me.  The colour though is Uh-mazing so it makes me so sad to give it a bad review.  Reviews of the Rouge Pur Couture line in general are good though-this was a limited edition for Fall so I wonder if they tweaked the formula a bit?  Also, the packaging was beautiful to start with but after a couple of days in my make up bag look at the state of it! It was covered in tiny scratches.

The second item is a foundation brush from Sephora.  Just as the colour of the YSL is gorgeous, the buffing ability of this brush for applying liquid foundation is perfect.  The problem with this brush is that it sheds so much.  There were literally little black hairs everywhere on my face.  I've washed it a couple of times to see if that helps but sadly it doesn't.  I have a lot of the Sephora Pro brushes and as a whole they are absolutely excellent and I would highly recommend them but this one belongs in the bin.

Astalift is a brand that doesn't seem to be blogged about very much.  It's a Japanese anti ageing brand which you can purchase from Debenhams, Cult Beauty and Feel Unique.  The oil is slightly rose scented and orange in colour and does a decent job of breaking down make up.  The problem I have with it is that it broke me out after just two uses.  I have noticed my skin has become intolerant to oil cleansers-so I am not saying this is a bad product at all, it just didn't work for me.  It gets very good reviews on the Debenhams website.  I am actually using the Astalift make up remover gel now as my first cleanse in the evening and I like it so I definitely haven't been put off the brand.

Remember the much hyped 'Archie's Girls' collection from Mac?  I purchased this eyeliner in 'Black Swan' which is black with gold pearl sparkle through it.  The pearlglide eyeliners are softer than the normal kohl liners but this one is so soft I can't use it without making myself look like I have been punched in the eye.  I have never been very good with eyeliner so this is a miss for me.  I have the pearlglide eyeliner in Undercurrent which is a gorgeous green but for some reason Black Swan is much softer and crumbles and smudges when I try to use it.

Finally, my last disappointing product is the Murad Instant Radiance Eye Cream.  This is only a deluxe sample size, I think it was a 100 point perk from Sephora.  Again this has good points which are overridden by one really bad point.  When you apply this eye cream it feels really nice-the formula definitely has silicone in it because it feels velvety soft and when you apply it you can actually see it smooth out fine lines.  The problem for me is it literally burns the skin under my eye.  It's not a tingle or slight discomfort, it literally feels like the skin is burning.  The first time I used it the skin puckered under my eye like a burn mark and didn't look right for about 5 days.  I tried it again this week and although the skin didn't pucker again (I guess it reacted with some other skin product I was using the first time) but I felt that awful burning sensation again.   I would love to know what individual ingredient irritated me because actually you could see instant benefits from the formula.

I have a question-what do you think about blogsale-ing disappointing products?  From these I would probably blog sale the cleanser as it's only be used twice and is in a sealed bottle and maybe the lipstick because it's been used twice as well even though I would make any buyer aware the case is scratched.  I wouldn't blog sale the brush because I don't want anyone suffering the tiny black hair syndrome and definitely not the eye cream as it's in a pot and not hygienically sealed.  Not sure about the eyeliner.  Is it a case of one beauty bloggers trash is another beauty bloggers treasure or do you think the whole lot should just be binned?  I would love to hear your thoughts.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Mac Divine Nights for Holiday 2013-my picks

What happens at night stays there. M•A•C captures the moment when flashing lights illuminate a flair for finery and limitless luxury that can only be described as divine. Gorgeous colours in rich finishes inspire an evening on the scene and to be seen. Enjoy yourself - past midnight, the darkness keeps the secrets.

MAC has released two collections for the Holiday Season-Divine Night and Stroke of Midnight.

Both are available in the US now (I purchased mine from Nordstrom) and will be released in the UK on November 1st.

Sadly for me, most of the things I have picked up I am not a fan of-this is the peril of online shopping I guess and not doing your research before going crazy with the 'click to buy' button or having the ability to see the items in store before buying.

I love the idea of MAC Mineralize Skinfinishes-they always look so pretty and I get suckered in on their looks alone.  I know they generally have a frost finish which isn't the most flattering but I thought the pink tones of Scene to be Seen would work well as a blush and that Centre of Attention would be a lovely highlight.  

Scene to be Seen contains an outer section named as 'mauve with pink sheen' and a smaller inner section named 'brick rose with gold reflects'.  They can be worn separately or swirled together.

Unfortunately, on me the metallic sheen is just too much and emphasises small pores on my cheeks.  The colour is easily buildable but even with the lightest touch the metallic finish was very prominent.   This MSF reminds me a lot of Estee Lauder Tease blush so if you lusted over and missed that limited edition this might be a good substitute.

Centre of Attention has an outer section named 'pastel peachy pink with fine pink shimmer' and the small inner section is named '24ct gold shimmer'.  I had initially thought the outer shade would be a cool champagne colour, maybe even similar to Lightscapade which is my favour MAC MSF of all time but it actually runs much peachier and pinker than that and for me, too glittery as a highlight.  The gold colour is very gritty in texture and together the colours are just unusable on my skintone.

The eyeshadows fair a little better with Until Dawn being the best of the bunch.

Mineralize eyeshadows tend to be quite powdery, lacking in pigment, glittery and have a bit of fall out-and yet again I still purchased two more!

Exquisite Ego contains an outer disk of a coppery bronze with a metallic finish and an inner core of a peachy champagne colour.

When applied, both shades have a bit of fallout which is difficult to remove but they both blend well.  I like the shimmer finish on my eyes but you do need a fair few layers of the lighter colour to get decent colour payoff.

Until Dawn is definitely the highlight for me in this collection but again it's by no means mindblowingly good.  The larger section of colour is a gold toned beige with silver shimmer running through it-again you need to pack the shadow on for the best effect.  The smaller section is a beautiful taupe-a complex colour with purple, grey and caramel tones under different lights.  Very easy to blend through the socket even though they are not the smoothest and pigmented forumla.  Much less fallout across this compact but with the same frost finish.

The final thing I picked up was the Flair for Finery lustre lipstick.  Again it's another 'miss' for me because the colour is far too milky for my skintone and will make me look like the living dead!!  I was hoping it was going to be pinker than it is having seen it described as a cool pink nude but it would wash me out if I were to use it.  The packaging is really nice though-a twist on the norm being gold and black instead of black and silver.  I always think it's nice for limited edition collections to have some kind of twist on them to make them stand out.

There are some great swatches of the entire collection here on Make Up And Beauty Blog if you would like to see the full range.

Sadly for me, this has been in lesson about impulse buying and it's perils-this collection overall is a miss for me, Until Dawn being the only item I don't regret buying.

Have you seen the Mac Holiday collection?  Will you be splurging on anything?


Saturday, October 26, 2013

6 brushes to love

I have the most insane collection of make-up brushes, I like nothing more than finding a brilliant brush.  Here are 6 of my current favourites.

I picked up this Japonesque kabuki style bronzer brush on a whim from Harvey Nichols Beauty Mart in May this year and I swear I have used it nearly every day since.  It is amazing quality, not one hair has shed from it in the past 6 months, it washes easily and is fantastic for setting your foundation with powder or applying bronzer.  The synthetic bristles are densely packed yet soft.

You can find this brush on Cult Beauty for £19.50

I own not one but four Mac 239 brushes-they are the perfect brush for packing on eyeshadow onto the lid.  I also use it to apply my crease colour, tapping the colour into my crease before blending out with a blending brush.  It can also be used to apply shadow under the eye.  The brush has a tapered rounded edge and has densely packed bristles-perfect for building up colour on the lid.  It is made of goat hair and washes very easily with baby shampoo.

The 239 brush retails for £20.

The Real Techniques deluxe crease brush is a really versatile brush.   It's synthetic bristles are domed and soft-I use it mostly to blend in my under eye concealer which is does perfectly without tugging the skin.  It's quite a large brush so good for overall blending of eyeshadow on the eye but not fine detail work.

It's a bit annoying that you can only buy this brush in the Real Techniques starter kit that retails for £21 (or $18 in the US which is ludicrous considering Sam Chapman is British-surely it should be cheaper in the UK as she is more well known there??) but the rest of the brushes in the kit all get a lot of use from me.

The Sephora Pro brushes were a recent discovery for me-exclusive to Sephora which I know is not in the UK but it is in Dubai, the US and Europe.  This is the best crease blending brush I own-it picks up the right amount of product and the tightly packed pony and goat hair domed bristles allow for effortless blending.  It's not fluffy like the Mac 217 blending brush, it's stiffer and more dense but I actually prefer it for greater control.  It is definitely just for blending though and isn't as versatile as the Mac 239 brush around the eye.

The Sephora Pro Domed Crease Brush #16 retails for $18.  If you ever get the chance to check this range of brushes out I highly highly recommend doing so.

The Dior Full Coverage Foundation brush was an 'on a whim' purchase whilst I was shopping with Danielle in Westfield.  I didn't use it for ages because it was quite expensive and I was worried I was going to be disappointed.  I wasn't-this is a great brush for a very full and flawless coverage.

The brush head is made of a combination of natural and synthetic fibres and is short, dense and angled for fast, flawless application.  It really does give a heavy coverage so will not be everyones cup of tea-but for a special occasion or night out when you want to wear that little bit more coverage this is ideal.  The finish is still natural, it's just heavier.  This is not the easiest brush to clean due to the denseness of the bristles and you must reshape it as its drying.

The brush retails for £43

Finally I love this Illamasqua Highlighter Brush.  It's shaped like a smaller version of a rounded blush brush but the smaller size makes it perfect for adding highlighter to the tops of your cheekbones.  It's not as soft as some brushes I own but it's a really versatile brush that you can use for blusher and highlighter.  Another synthetic brush, if you like a light finish you can also use this to buff in foundation-especially mineral products.

It retails for £24.50

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Friday, October 25, 2013

Mac Retro Matte collection

Mac recently released a collection of Retro Matte lipsticks-some which would become permenant and some which were limited edition.

I loved RiRi Woo which is the same formula so chose 4 from Marc's new line.

Relentlessly Red is not red-well not in my opinion anyway.  It's a beautiful bright cerise with a velvet matte finish.  The most difficult to apply from the bullet as the formula is very stiff and tugs at the lips-but a lip brush does the job nicely.  A stunning colour-bold and daring but it's very pigmented and did stain my lips.  I applied this without moisturising my lips first and it did cling to any dry bits but did not make them any worse.  This shade is permenant.

Flat Out Fabulous is a blue toned magenta and unique to my lipstick collection.  The softest of the 4 and easiest to apply straight from the bullet.  Glossier in finish than Relentlessly Red and All Fired Up, it doesn't look like a matte lipstick.  Wear time was a massive 6 hours with even fading.  Again this shade is permenant.

Admittedly after 4 days straight of testing matte lipsticks my lips were feeling a bit dry!  This is the matte-est of the four and is a peachy nude.  I did experience a bit of flaking with this lipstick but that could be because I tested it last of all.  It's not my favourite, I am much more drawn to the bright shades in this line.  This is the only one of the four that was limited edition.

All Fired Up is similar to Relentlessly Red-a smidgen darker.  It's very similar in the finish-that lovely velvet matte.  Again I applied with a lip brush for a more precise line as it's quite dry in the bullet and again tugs at the lips.  But I think this is my favourite of the four.

In summary, these lipsticks are bold, bright and long lasting.  I highly recommend exfoliating and moisturising your lips before applying for the best and longest lasting finish.

Here's a cute picture of Ali guarding the lipsticks!


Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Repurchases

Being an expat has it's upsides (sun, sea and sand at the weekend) and it's downsides (miss my family and can't get certain make up in Dubai) so when I was home recently there were a stash of repurchases I made of things I have used up, loved and needed back in my life.

The first was the Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm.  I have a love-hate relationship with it, it's a bit melty for my liking but it's so effective at removing make-up and skin feels baby soft afterwards.  I thought it was breaking me out at first but I persevered and my skin really started to like it.  I ordered mine online from Feel Unique.

Next up was another cleansing balm-the No 1 Purity Cleansing Balm from Ren.  I really like this balm, it's slightly thicker than the Emma Hardie but the packaging is much more travel friendly and I take it away on my frequent trips to Egypt for work.  I got mine from Space NK along with the rest of this massive haul.  It's also one of the cheaper high end cleansing balms out there if you want to dip your toe in the water of luxury cleansers.  It retails for £23 whereas the Emma Hardie retails for £34.

From Beauty Bay I ordered 2 bottles of the Opi Rapidry spray.  This spray literally dries your nail polish in an instant-which is perfect for people like me who wait until bedtime to paint their nails and don't wait to wait around for the polish to dry.  You spritz it over your nails 45 seconds after your last coat and ta-da, dry nails in seconds.

Part of my Space NK haul was another Ren Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask.  I reviewed this mask here in my July empties and said I would definitely repurchase this glow giving, marmalade like mask-it's such a pleasure to use.

In my July empties I also raved about Serozinc.  Still unavailable in the UK, I purchase mine from the french online pharmacy Le Guide Sante.  I ordered 3 more from them and shipping is about £5 but is really fast and the toner itself is only about £5 (some ebayers are selling it for more than double).  If you have been living under a rock and haven't seen people raving about Serozinc, it's a zinc sulphate, anti bacterial toner and I have been misting it on my face after my exfoliating toner morning and night.  Amazing stuff.

Lastly I love these wide oval cleansing pads from Superdrug.  Strictly speaking I didn't repurchase them, my best friend Danielle bought them for me and now my mum knows I love them and bought me another 4 packets of them when they came to Dubai a couple of weeks ago!

What things do you repurchase again and again?


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The review: Dior Rouge Dior lipsticks in 958 Sterling Red and 775 Darling

Dior's latest lipstick offering is the Rouge Dior-Couture Colour Voluptuous Care lipstick.  Somewhat of a mouthful so lets just call them Rouge Dior.

My interest in these lipsticks was piqued by reading the reviews posted by Sunny at Mostly Sunny.  Pretty much anything that gets Sunny's seal of approval immediately goes on my 'must check out' list and this was no exception.

I picked up 958 Sterling Red and 775 Darling during my recent Dubai Duty Free Haul and got to try them out this week.  You can find links to all of Sunny's reviews of this range in that link too.

Firstly, the packaging is sleek and understated.  Glossy navy blue with silver detailing.  I like it.  It will look swish in my make up bag.  The lipstick bullet has the word Dior embossed into it.

The formula is consistent on both-very creamy and smooth to apply with no tug on the lips.  Sterling Red was more difficult to apply directly from the bullet but only from a precision not an application point of view.  I used a lip brush to apply Sterling Red in the end just to try to achieve the most precise finish.  It's quite a 'slippy' formula to apply but once on the lips it's not moving-no bleeding to be seen.

Both colours are very pigmented, bold and opaque.  The finish is smooth and glossy.  The formula is comfortable and hydrating-not as lightweight as the Giorgio Armani Rouge Ecstasy lipsticks are, I can definitely feel I am wearing something on my lips.  The Rouge Ecstasy lipsticks are so easy to apply from the bullet and feel weightless, the Rouge Dior feel as hydrating as the Rouge Ecstasy but heavier-probably because they are so much more pigmented than the Rouge Ecstasy.

958 Sterling Red is a bold opaque blue red with a glossy finish.  I was surprised how close in colour it is to Mac Riri Woo-Riri Woo has a matte finish and Sterling Red is the other end of the spectrum and is super glossy.  Both have teeth whitening properties because of the blue undertone.  Wear time was about 3 hours and a bowl of bolognase-after eating I had a bit of a red ring around my lips but it was nothing a quick smudge using my finger couldn't fix to bring the colour back to life.

Here's RiRi Woo and Sterling Red compared-you can see the colours have the same blue red tone but the finishes are very different.

Darling is a blue toned fuchsia, almost magenta.  Wear time was a little longer with even fading.  I love this lipstick!  As much as I am into nudes at the moment you cannot beat a bright lipstick.  This pink brightens my face as soon as I swipe it on.

The bottom line?  A great lipstick from Dior.  No wonder I have already picked up a couple more.
NB I just read back one of Sunny's posts about these lipsticks to see if she made any other valid points about the lipstick I had missed and I noticed she road tested one of these lipsticks with a bowl of bolognase too!  Great minds....

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