Saturday, January 31, 2015

MAC Lightness of Being collection-my picks

MAC Lightness of Being collection review

I have to admit I struggle to keep up with the seemingly constant MAC launches and if I do pick up anything from the limited edition collections I don't tend to blog about it as they sell out by the time I have received it.  But I think the new Lightness of Being collection is worth a mention especially as it is still available online and in store.

Here are my picks:

MAC Lightness of Being collection Please yourself review

MAC Lightness of Being collection Uplifting review

I picked up the two Mineralize blushes (£21)-the bright pink 'Please Yourself' and the coral toned 'Uplifting'.  I love the embossed pattern on the blushes.

My experience in the past of Mineralize blushes is that they are on the more shimmery/metallic side and I have made a few impulse purchases I have regretted later but luckily these two don't cause me any feelings of regret.

They both have an overlay of glitter over them which comes away with a couple of brush strokes but you can see it quite clearly in the pan of Please Yourself.  Please Yourself swatches as a bright but cool toned pink but on the cheeks gives a wonderful light sheen-similar to Estee Lauder Cheek Gelee in Tease if you missed out on that blush.  It is a little on the frosty side and you don't need to use a highlighter with this blush.  I have been reaching for it a lot though the past couple of weeks.

Uplifting looks and swatches very coral but actually there is a tan shade running through it that is most prevalent on my cheeks.  After a couple of uses the shimmer dies away but there is prevalent silver glitter as you can see from the blush on my face below.  If you're looking for a coral blush though, this definitely runs more tan on my skin (which is NW15 for reference)

MAC Lightness of Being collection review

MAC Lightness of Being collection review

MAC Lightness of Being collection Force of Nature review

MAC Lightness of Being collection Leap review

I also picked up two of the Mineralize eye shadows (£17) from the range of 6 launched.

Force of Nature is a beaut!  Again I have had some real misses in the past buying MAC mineralize eye shadows as they have proved to be quite poorly pigmented but Force of Nature has great pigmentation.

The shadows have two halves and the pattern reminds me of a cable knit jumper.  The two halves are very similar in shade but are described as having two different finishes-a frost and a pearl.  I don't think it's immediately obvious when you use them which is which but the shades definitely compliment each other.

Force of Nature goes on so smoothly and blends like a dream.  I am wearing it in the picture above.  It's just a very pretty, usable everyday shade without much sparkle and appropriate for daytime shimmer.  I love it.

Leap swatches beautifully, I love the shimmery lavender tone.  However it does take a bit of work on the eyes to build up the pigment.  But once you build up a few layers it's very pretty.  It's definitely not as easy to work with as Force of Nature and it has more glitter.

MAC Lightness of Being collection review

MAC Lightness of Being collection Poetic review

MAC Lightness of Being collection Poetic review

Finally I picked up the Mineralize Lip Glass in Poetic.  This is a very sheer glossy champagne gloss with silver sparkles.  I really like the MAC Mineralize lip products-they rarely get spoken about on blogs but I think the lipsticks especially are fantastic.

Poetic is an easy to wear sheer gloss, it's not particularly unique and isn't overly sticky.  You can see my natural lip line shows through when worn alone but it works really well layered over something like Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat liner in Pillow Talk for a peachy nude lip.

Did you pick anything up from this line?


Friday, January 30, 2015

Currently Loving

Really loving a lot of things at the moment but here are 5 of my absolute faves!

First up we have two body products-Yog Nog soap from Lush (pictured is one of two that I picked up in the UK rather than the manky looking one in my shower currently) and the Laura Mercier Creme Brulee souffle body creme.

Vanessa and Aimee told me I needed the Lush Yog Nog soap and I was a bit like 'nah I don't like Lush soaps' having found them very hard and difficult to lather in the past.  But one of them said it smelled of fudge and the other that it lathered really well so I took the plunge and bought some online.  Sweet baby Jesus and the angels (Classic Phoenix Nights quote right there) they were right.  It smells amazing.  It's heady and spicy and like smelling christmas pudding batter mix.  It won't be to everyones taste I guess (my other half isn't a fan) but I really love the festive smell.  And it does lather really well and lasts ages.  Massive thumbs up and another two purchased at Xmas.

I actually bought the Laura Mercier body creme as part of a Space NK sale gift set last year and whilst I have used the other components of the set, the body creme was still untouched until recently.  I thought it might be very thick and sticky and I am not a huge fan of heavy body creams.

But I was so wrong.   The texture is slightly heavier than a milk and feels amazing on the skin.  It feels so light and absorbs quickly with no residue.  The scent is sweet without being cloying or interfering with my perfume.  It's lush.

MAC Blue Brown pigment

MAC Blue Brown pigment

Next up is the MAC pigment in Blue Brown which was my festive staple this year.  I am really into MAC pigments at the moment, I love the way they can be pressed over a cream eyeshadow to add depth and dimension.

Blue Brown is a stunner.  It's very duo chrome in that it runs from teal to blue to red to brown under different light and you can even change the tone of it by using different coloured cream shadows beneath.  Here I have used the Trish McEvoy 24hr Shadow and Liner in Topaz as a base (obsessed!!!) and then used a MAC 239 brush (anything with short tightly packed bristles is best) to pat the pigment over it.  Pigments are of course messier than normal powder shadow but start with a little, tap the excess of your brush and build up the colour.  When I am really lazy I just use my finger.  Love. 

Burberry Oxblood Lip Cover

Burberry Oxblood Lip Cover

Burberry Lip Cover in Oxblood was another winter fave, it's a vampy wine tone, great for whitening teeth.  Oxblood comes in three formulas-I have Lip Cover, the heaviest duty of the three.  Opaque and long lasting.  It also comes in the sheerer Lip Mist and the glossy Lip Glow.  The bullet is beautiful with the Burberry embossed check and the lipstick applies smoothly and offers comfortable wear. It currently has handbag lipstick collection status.

Tarte Gifted mascara

Finally, Tarte Gifted mascara is really floating my boat at the moment.  I hate the packaging.  I'm not a fan of wooden packaging at all, I think it looks old fashioned and clunky.  It's a bargain price at $20 and can be shipped to the UK from Sephora in the US.  At first I didn't like it so much, I felt the formula was very wet.  But I persisted and after 4 weeks it was uh-mazing.  The best thing is it doesn't flake or smudge no matter how much you put on.  It's very black and lasts all day, holding a curl and keeping lashes looking long and fluttery.  It's not the most volumising mascara I have tried but it's easily buildable for a more intense look.  I am liking it a lot.  It also has a very 'normal' shaped bristle brush.  I have a post coming soon about some disappointing mascaras with weird and wonderful brushes but this mascara has a normal old school brush which does the job perfectly.  It's also brilliant on bottom lashes leaving them separated and smudge free.

Tarte Gifted mascara

Do you love any of these products as much as I do?


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Current nail favourites

I am clinging onto the festive season even though it's almost the end of January and glitter is so Christmas 2014.

But I still can't get enough of Marc Jacobs 'Petra' and Picture Polish 'Majesty'-the microglitter in them means they're a more subtle take on festive nails.

Petra is the darker of the two shades and is extremely complex.  It has a bronzey, plummy undertone and then multi-tonal microglitter leaning mainly golden in colour.  In dim light it can look look a standard dark polish-the light catching it makes it special.  The formula is great-non streaky and fully opaque in two coats.

Majesty is the lighter more golden toned of the two and is the polish I wore every single day from Xmas to New Year.  Because it is lighter in tone, any eventual chips or nail growth show up less which is perfect for lazy girls like me.  It's unbelievably pretty, a metallic pale gold with golden and pink sparkle.  Incredible under artificial lighting, my mum and dads bathroom lighting make the polish look mesmerising.  3 coats of this gets the best finish I have found.  Picture Polish is an Australian brand who ship worldwide.  Their polishes are full on amazing and also 3-free.  I have been gifted a couple of shades from their UAE distributor Emerging Beauty Brands but I bought this shade from Bloomingdales in Dubai Mall where they have great stock levels. 

And because both polishes contain the teeniest, tiniest micro sparkle they remove with normal nail polish remover with no trouble at all.

As a top coat I have also been loving the Nails Inc Kensington Caviar Gel Effect Plumping top coat.  I use it like Seche Vite, applying a 'bead' of polish at the base of my nail and then sweeping upwards applying quite a thick coat.  I find Seche Vite can try quite unevenly, leaving streak marks on the nail but the Nails Inc top coat not only dries evenly but super quickly as well.

I know it will soon be time to start breaking out the corals and pinks but for now, these two polishes have my heart.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Lip Six!

This weeks lip picks!

Top row-(L) Tom Ford Violet Fatale (R) NARS Velvet Matte lip pencil in Dragon Girl

Middle row-(L) Burberry Lip Cover in Oxblood (R) NARS Audacious lipstick in Brigitte

Bottom row-(L) Tom Ford Francesco (from the Lips and Boys collection) (R) Lancome Lip Lover in 337 'Lip Lover'

Which is your favourite?


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick review

Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick review

Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick review

Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick review

If ever a lipstick divided opinion as to whether it was great or terrible it seems to be this range from Kat Von D.  The Studded Kiss range is a relatively new range, not easily accessible in the UK but orderable online from Sephora for shipping to the UK.  And that's how I got my hands on these four from the range.

I resisted testing them for a few months mainly because my lips were in really bad shape following my surgery in July.  In fact it took about 4 months for them to be back to normal meaning I avoided anything matte that could even be remotely drying for fear of making them worse.

I have always thought this range was 'matte' but actually online descriptions on Sephora just say these are 'innovative lipsticks with a bold colour, 10 hour wear and luxe comfort'.   But the ones I have are all matte/semi matte.

So here are the answers to some burning questions I always consider when reading reviews.

Can I apply it straight from the bullet?  Yes, you can.  The pointed angled tip makes it easy to navigate the lip shape.

How is it to apply?  Good.  All the shades offer smooth application, no tugging on the lips and feel relatively creamy.  The formula isn't overly slippery meaning that application from the bullet is easy.

After I have applied it, am I going to have lipstick on my teeth?  No.  Phew.  And it's not going to bleed outside of the natural lip liner either.

What about two hours later?  Will it still be there?  Yes most definitely.  The staying power of these lipsticks is great.  You're looking at at least 6-7 hours.  And it easily survives my yoghurt and special k with berries current breakfast of choice.  Lovecraft and Backstage Bambi fade really evenly, the other two faded and left a bit of a ring round the outer lip line.

It's a matte formula.  Does that mean my lips will be parched?  Happy to say no.  I would describe my lips as dry and sensitive but I didn't find these lipsticks to be drying or clingy or chalky in the slightest.  I always prime my lips with lip balm, to keep these lipsticks 'matte' on the lips blot off any excess balm off your lips before applying.

So as someone who tries at lots of lipsticks, do you recommend this?  Yes I do.  I am not a massive fan of the packaging.  Yes it's unique in design but its a bit clunky and dare I say it, cheap looking.  It feels very plastiky.  But the formula offers rich, saturated, even colour on the lips, has great lasting power and doesn't strip the lips dry.  I love the shades I chose and would definitely consider trying more.

Have you tried any of these?  Everything I have tried from the Kat Von D range has been really good so far-I am impressed!


Friday, January 23, 2015

MAC Pro Palette-the Quads

I've done reviews of all three of my MAC Pro Palettes here (that will link you into palette 3 and that post has links to palettes 1 and 2 in it) and today I bring you my 3 MAC Pro Palette quads to finish this mini series.

Personally I love these kinds of posts for MAC shadow inspiration as I know the selection can be very overwhelming in store so I hope you enjoy it!

MAC Bronze, Swiss Chocolate, Sketch and Star Violet

Bronze is pretty much what it says on the tin.  It has a slight orange undertone so basically if you have blue eyes you need this shade in your collection.  It's really very versatile though and will pair well with browns, greens, plums and blacks.  A good all rounder.

Swiss Chocolate is a red toned brown matte.  I find MAC matte shadows to be a little on the chalky side in general but you just need to take a little extra time blending for seamless results.  Swiss Chocolate makes an excellent transition shade and looks particularly spectacular with green eyes.

Star Violet is a stunning shade with a very slight duochrome and a veluxe pearl finish which is my favourite of all the MAC formulas.  It's less red toned than MAC Cranberry and has a brown/pink tone to it.  There is a shade in NARS Dolomites that is similar.  Have a look at this beautiful eye look using Star Violet and Sketch on Heather Davern Make Up-that post made me buy both shades!

Sketch is a matte dark burgundy shadow with a velvet finish.  It works really well with Star Violet and other purple and plum toned shades.  I mainly use this in the crease and it's pretty easy to work with.

MAC Divine decadence, cranberry, tempting, sex and the oyster

Divine Decadence was a limited edition shade from 2013 but could be duped with something like MAC Antiqued.  It has warm copper and red undertones with a bronze base and a velvet finish.

Cranberry is a winter favourite-this deep cranberry red works particularly well patted over any cream eyeshadow base-I have been pairing it with the Trish McEvoy 24hr eye shadow and liner in Topaz.  It's frosted and jewel toned.  Here's some 'how to wear' inspiration again from Heather Davern.

Tempting is one of my all time faves.  It's just one of those shades that looks good on everyone but especially green and blue eyes as it has a slightly red undertone.  It's a metallic bronze which is very easy to work with.

Sex and the Oyster was another limited edition shade from the same collection as Divine Decadence.  This is a blackened teal, it's not duochrome like MAC Club but has a veluxe pearl finish.  It works well with browns, greens and greys.  Urban Decay 'Hijack' would be a good dupe if you like this shade although the undertone is slightly bluer.

MAC Honesty, Mythology, Soba and Haux

Honesty doesn't work well on my skintone.  MAC describes it as a pewtered bronze but it has a weird orange duochrome undertone and when applied it looks very sheer and glittery.  I am not a fan of this shade.

Mythology is a medium copper and is very similar to Trick from the Urban Decay Naked 3 palette.  It has excellent pigmentation and is easy to work with.

Soba is fantastic on blue eyes and another good all rounder.  This is a great matte neutral and is a warm gold brown shade.  It's an excellent crease shade and blending out shade.

Haux has similar properties to Soba in that its an excellent crease/blending out shade.  It's matte but easy to work with.  Its a warm toned plummy mauve and works really well with other purple tones.

MAC Nylon, Filament, Electra, Gleam

I only use Nylon as an inner corner highlight.  It's frosty and a pale yellow gold.

Filament has fairly poor pigment and large glitter particles.  Again this isn't a great shade to apply, it's uneven and has a lot of fallout.

Electra is a light grey shade with excellent colour payoff.  It works well with other greys and purples and would look good on everyone.

Gleam is another shade I am not a huge fan of-the Lustre formulas seem to be the worst ones MAC do (Gleam, Filament and Honesty are all Lustres).  It's a peach and gold duochrome that I don't use very often because of the poor pigmentation.

So there we have it, mini reviews of 16 MAC eyeshadows here and 45 more herehere and here.  You can also read a review of MACs pre made 'cool' palette here and my guide to depotting MAC eyeshadows here.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The complete 180º-Nuxe Rêve de Miel

Nuxe reve de miel review

Nuxe reve de miel review

I hated my first tub of this.  I thought it was difficult to apply with its putty texture and it just peeled on my lips.  Am pretty sure it must have been binned.

But then I just kept seeing rave review after rave review about the Nuxe Rêve de Miel lip balm and, never one to not give in to hype I went and repurchased one.  And then it sat in my lip balm stash, unopened, untouched and unloved.

After my surgery at the end of July my lips were an absolute mess.  Painful, cracked corners-so dry they used to actually bleed.  I tried everything-and I mean everything.  Blistex, Carmex, my usual trusty Dr Lipp Nipple Balm, vaseline, the Body Shop Vitamin E lip balm and Zovirax-absolutely nothing gave me any relief.

Out of desperation and not expecting anything at all I dug out this balm.

It literally sorted my dry, painful, cracked lips out overnight.  I had found a miracle.

This is the thickest lip balm you're ever likely to come across and definitely works best when slightly warmed from the heat of your fingers.  I love the scent of oranges and honey and it just has this dreamy thick nourishing texture.  It's also matte so perfect for under lipstick but I do prefer to wear it at night and leave it on as an overnight treatment. 

I will never be without one now-a total 180º turnaround from my initial opinion.  I am so glad I gave it a second chance!


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Dior Kingdom of Colors Spring 2015-Fairy Gray mono eyeshadow

Dior Kingdom of Colors Spring 2015-Fairy Gray mono eyeshadow

Dior Kingdom of Colors Spring 2015-Fairy Gray mono eyeshadow

Dior's Spring offering for 2015 is it's Kingdom of Colors collection but there was only one piece that caught my magpie eye and that was the Fairy Gray mono eyeshadow.  First of all let me say that none of my pan photos/swatches do the prettiness of this shade justice, it really comes alive in direct sunlight-a kaleidoscope of shimmering white, green, blue and red micro glitter on a silver sheer base.  Hopefully you can see it in my eye swatches. I kind of want to invite you all round to my apartment to inspect it.

Dior Kingdom of Colors Spring 2015-Fairy Gray mono eyeshadow

Dior Kingdom of Colors Spring 2015-Fairy Gray mono eyeshadow

Dior Kingdom of Colors Spring 2015-Fairy Gray mono eyeshadow
without flash

Dior Kingdom of Colors Spring 2015-Fairy Gray mono eyeshadow
with flash
The pan is beautiful and sports Christian Diors personal crest embossed onto the shadow.  The shadow can be used wet or dry.  The shadow is quite hard and dry it gives a wash of colour, it's not sheer per se but it's more of a veil than a dense sparkle.  The above photos show the shade used dry all over the lid and I used a darker grey in the crease and outer corner for some definition.

With a damp brush the colour is slightly more intense but not hugely noticeably so.  The silvery blue underbase to the shade comes out stronger.

You can also layer the shadow over a base shade (I know I bang on about them all the time but the Trish McEvoy 24hr shadow and liner sticks or similar would be a perfect base) to add a hint of sparkle.

Dior Fairy Gray over Trish McEvoy 24hr shadow and liner in Smoky Quartz
The beauty of this shadow lies not only in the design in the pan but in the versatility on the eye.  It's comparable to the effect you get when using a loose pigment but in a more convenient, pressed compact where the fallout is minimal.


Friday, January 16, 2015

Illamasqua Sculpting Duo

Illamasqua Sculpting Duo review

Illamasqua Sculpting Duo review

Illamasqua Sculpting Duo // Selfridges £26.00

So before I spill my thoughts on the Illamasqua Sculpting Duo (I bought the Heliopolis/Lumos version) I will confess I am rubbish at contouring.  I don't do it daily and I have by no means mastered it.  I'm no Charlotte Tilbury so if you're a contouring noob too then my thoughts on this duo may be more relevant to you than to a contouring expert.

I picked up this duo in Selfridges in the Trafford Centre just before Xmas without receiving any help from the sales staff.  I just thought it looked nice.  To be honest, although the counter was quiet there was a general air of 'we don't know our bums from our elbows' when I was there which I think is pretty unusual for an Illamasqua counter in general.

As usual I will comment on the packaging first before the contents-good points, very lightweight, big mirror and good separation of the powders.  Bad point-has an opening mechanism that always chips my nail polish.

From what I can gather from the website there are two versions of this duo-Heliopolis (neutral matte soft brown) and Lumos (shimmering champagne gold) and then what appears to be a slightly darker version of Illuminate and Nefertiti.  Fun fact-when I go to Cairo every month on business, Heliopolis is the suburb of Cairo I spend most of my time in.

Illamasqua Sculpting Duo review

Illamasqua Sculpting Duo review

This duo gets a big thumbs up from me for ease of use and the shades.  For comparison purposes I have pale, pink undertoned skin-in MAC I am NW15 in foundation and in Illamsqua skin base I am 02.  When first swatched I was worried the Heliopolis shade might be too orangey on me but I think it looks ok-what do you reckon?  The powder is completely matte, very easy to work with and isn't chalky or too soft.  I actually used an Illamasqua brush for the above photo to apply the contour, I have had it ages, it's the 'highlighter brush' which is a small headed fluffy brush perfect for this kind of malarky and for building up the colour slowly and subtly.  NB the powder is very pigmented and I could have gone way more 'sculpted' if I had the skillz.

I love the highlighter.  In the swatch on my hand it looks quite matte but it has the most beautiful sheen to it, a pale champagne gold-not too far from Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight.  It's not glittery or overly shimmery as such and I really like it.  It's gorgeously glowy.  It's buildable and totally wearable for daytime with a light hand.  The only downside is that the powder itself is very very soft.  When you place your brush into the pan the powder kicks up quite a lot. 

That said, I would recommend this duo as it seems to be pretty foolproof for contouring noobs like myself and I have been reaching for it a lot!  My chipmunk like cheeks are looking slightly more chiselled!

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