Sunday, November 29, 2015

Too Faced Chocolate Bar palette review

Too Faced chocolate bar review

Too Faced chocolate bar review

Sometimes you're so late to the party on something that the party happened last year and that's how I feel about the Too Faced Chocolate Bar palette.  This isn't even the second version of this palette-no, this is the original that I have owned for maybe two years and only opened up this last couple of weeks.

I'm going to admit, when I bought it I thought the outer packaging was vile and the smell of the shadows (chocolate apparently) was overwhelming and nauseating.  They were the days when I could smell a whole lot more, but bizarrely post cancer my sense of smell is shot.  Now the palette smells of nothing.

On the face of it, this is a really great palette that is right up my street.  There is a wide selection of shades and finishes-and a good smattering of those 'can't live without' neutral palette tones I go so gaga over.  There's also some pink, purple and olive to liven it up.

So does this palette have everything a girl could need and can I bin all my other palettes? (*recoils in horror)

Too Faced chocolate bar review

Too Faced chocolate bar review

Well no.  I actually do really like this palette and I think it's a good all rounder but I just haven't felt wowed by it.  I'll talk you through the shades, pointing out where I have been underwhelmed.

Too Faced chocolate bar review

Too Faced chocolate bar review

Too Faced chocolate bar review

The mattes (White Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, Semi Sweet, Triple Fudge, Strawberry Bon Bon and Salted Caramel) are good.  They're really easy to blend and will be a good suite of transition shades for all skintones.  I find myself using a combination of milk chocolate and salted caramel in my crease as a bade transition shade.  Strawberry Bon Bon is the shade I wouldn't use personally as I would look like a rabbit.

The glittery shades (Guilded Ganash, Cherry Cordial and Candied Violet) are disappointing to me.  They look glittery in the pan but the glitter doesn't translate to the eye.  But it does seem to translate to the cheek.  They aren't huge pigmented and do feel a little dry and chalky if I am honest.

The shimmery shades are the type of shades I LIVE FOR.  When I swatched these I was seriously swooning and thinking that this was my perfect palette.  Marzipan, Amaretto, Hazlenut, Creme Brulee, Haute Chocolate and Champagne Truffle.  If the palette was just these shades I would be in a happy bunny.  But there is just something a little off about them.  They're just ok.  I think it's down to the pigmentation, it's just not pow.  I wanted Amaretto to be amazing because look at the swatch!!  But on the eye it just doesn't translate.  It needed to be a little more.  A little more pigmented, a little smoother, a little more opaque.  And I feel the same about them all really.

The biggest let down for me is in the lasting power though.  Ok so I do tend to wear my eyeshadow from 7.30am until I take my make up off at in the evening but I find by the time I get home, despite using an eyeshadow primer my natural oils just eat through the colour on my lid.  From a distance it's passable and looks like there is something there but up close it's a hot mess.

In conclusion, I have a horrible feeling now I have tested it out, that this palette is going to go back into a drawer to gather dust.  And that is something I am getting more uncomfortable with these days.  Maybe blogsale.....

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Recent empties

Today I am back with a round up of my recent empties!

You can read a full review of the two Rodial products above here as I dedicated a whole post to them recently when I shared my morning skincare routine.

Dragons Blood is the red sap from the Croton Lechleri tree and was used historically for medicinal and healing purposes. It is ideal for sensitive or stressed skin to plump out fine lines and protect from the elements whilst hydrating the deepest layers of the skin.  I really like the Rodial Dragons Blood hyaluronic tonic and it's powerful spritz-this was my second bottle of this hydrating toner and probably won't be my last!

I follow up with the Rodial Dragon's Blood Hyaluronic Moisturiser.  The texture of this is a cream but it's a really light cream.  It's a great base for make up and doesn't leave any tacky feeling on the skin.  My skin feels hydrated and plumped after use and the cream absorbs quickly.

The Clarins Daily Energizer Wake Up Booster is the toner I was using before spritzing on the Rodial.  It contains green coffee extract to add radiance, white tea extract for protection against environment damage and redcurrant extract for hydration.  I didn't love it, it does contain alcohol but it didn't irritate my skin.

I raved about the Boscia Make Up Break Up Cooling Cleansing Oil recently here and I did indeed buy a full size version from Sephora.  It is a brilliant make up remover-probably the best cleansing oil I have tried.

The Jurlique Calendula Redness Rescue Calming Mist is a lovely cooling toner in a spray bottle.  It contains no alcohol and does contain glycerin, calendula and chamomile to hydrate and soothe.  My skin isn't sensitive but can be irritated and inflamed and this really helps.  I can see me repurchasing this.

Yes I am 35 and still use Clearasil-specifically the Clearasil Daily Face Wash.  If my skin is misbehaving I always go back to this as either my second cleanse or my morning cleanse and it just seems to bring everything back under control.  I wrote more about it here.

I don't often talk about hair products but the Kerastase Ciment Thermique is worth a mention especially if you have fine hair.  I would never have thought of putting a cream on my hair because I presumed it would be too heavy for my fine locks but this styling cream makes such a difference to my hair.  I use a small amount-not much bigger than the size of a 20p piece and rake it through wet hair and then blow dry as usual.  My hair feels smoother, gets less tangled and feels stronger.  Marketed as a 'blowdry primer' it also protects from heat damage.  It's expensive but I needed so little that the tube lasted me at least 6 months if not longer.

The Charles Worthington Salon at Home Texturising Spray is better than the waaay more expensive Oribe in my opinion.  I love texturising sprays, I have long, fine, flat hair that gets greasy easily so a texturising spray or dry shampoo does help to give it a bit more ooomph!  I've used Batiste for years but the white powder residue is off putting.  I find this spray does a bit of everything for me-it has the hold of a hairspray but the oomph and grease absorbing powers of a dry shampoo-and it's clear.  And smells amazing.  I much prefer this to the Oribe spray and it's a fraction of the price.

I recently spoke about the L'Oreal Miracle Blur Instant Eye Smoother as a quick fix for tired under eyes.  It really did make a difference-but it is a temporary solution.  You can read my thoughts here.

Two products I wouldn't repurchase-the Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm is an absolutely lovely cleanser but the sheer speed at which I went thought it combined with the price point means I struggle to justify a repurchase.  I reviewed it positively here, I just wish it was cheaper.

The Estee Lauder Double Matte Oil Control pressed powder is not something I was a fan of either.  The plus point is that it lasts forever, I literally thought I was never going to hit pan.  I didn't find it controlled oil particularly well and it's quite chalky.  In fact every time I used it I thought 'I much prefer the Charlotte Tilbury pressed powder'.  I must repurchase the CT one at Xmas.

Last up, two make up products I really did enjoy.  The first, the Josie Maran Argan Enlightenment Illuminizer, is an amazing glowy golden base.  I loved it mixed with MAC Strobe Liquid as a foundation primer and talked about the combination here.  It's difficult to dupe it-the closest I can think of is the Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow which I just started using.  But the Josie Maran is a thicker, more golden, more metallic liquid.  I love it and have just repurchased.

Finally the YSL Touche Eclat Blur Perfector primer is one of my favourites.  It's packaged in glass and the primer is strewn with gold flecks.  The primer belongs to the Touche Eclat family and the gel formula is designed to infuse light, blur imperfections and add radiance to the skin.

Although the gold flecks are visible when the gel is pumped onto the hand, the formula is completely transparent on the skin.  Where the gold goes I am not sure!

The first time I used the primer I did think it was quite heavy in texture and it's obviously laced with silicone.  What I didn't see though was that instant 'blurring' effect you get with something like Smashbox Photofinish which I would have expected given the heaviness of the texture.  It does have that velvety and almost slippery feeling on the skin.  Although it sounds like I am not really selling it, this does settle down though after a moment or two and your skin feels very smooth.  After I applied my foundation I have to admit my skin looks quite radiant and glowy without being oily and my foundation sat well on top of it.

Have you tried any of these products?

PS-my annual blog sale post will be on my blog on Friday :)

Last up, two products I really enjoyed using.  The first, Josie Maran Argan Enlightenment Illuminizer, I reviewed here and have just repurchased from Sephora.  I used this liquid highlight under my foundation to add additional glow and I loved it.  At the time I couldn't really think of a dupe and in all honesty I still can't think of anything really similar.  Having said that, I have just Tilbury Wonderglow and that is the closest I have found to a dupe.  The Josie Maran is a thicker, more golden and more metallic liquid.  But with foundation layered over the top it gives an amazing glow.

The YSL Touche Eclat Blur Primer is a brilliant, silicone based primer for giving you a smooth canvas to start with before you apply foundation.  It is very fancily packaged in a glass tube with gold flecks embedded into the primer. The primer belongs to the Touche Eclat family and the gel formula is designed to infuse light, blur imperfections and add radiance to the skin.

Although the gold flecks are visible when the gel is pumped onto the hand, the formula is completely transparent on the skin.  Where the gold goes I am not sure!

The first time I used the primer I did think it was quite heavy in texture and it's clearly laced with silicone.  What I didn't see though was that instant 'blurring' effect you get with something like Smashbox Photofinish which I would have expected given the heaviness of the texture.  It does have that velvety and almost slippery feeling on the skin.  Although it sounds like I am not really selling it, this does settle down though after a minute or so and your skin feels very smooth.  After I applied my foundation I have to admit my skin did look quite radiant and glowy without being oily and my foundation sat well on top of it.

Have you tried any of these products?


Monday, November 23, 2015

Lip Six

Happy Monday!  I am struggling with the concept that it is almost the end of November.  How?? CRAZY!

Just to give you a little heads up-I will be posting my annual blog sale at 8am UK time on Friday this week :)

In the meantime, here are my last 6 lip picks:

Top row: Estee Lauder Pure Colour Envy lipstick in Rebellious Rose (R) Hourglass Nude Femme Lip Stylo in #4 (review!

Middle row: Estee Lauder Pure Colour Envy lipstick in Intense Nude (R) By Terry Terrybly Rouge in Pink Party (review!)

Bottom row: Dior Rouge Dior lipstick in Darling (review!)  (R)  Dior Rouge Dior Baume lipstick in Spring (review!)

I'm still methodically going through my main lipstick drawer, the Dior and Estee Lauder lipsticks are some of my absolute all time favourite lipstick formulas!

Which is your favourite?


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Christian Louboutin Lipsticks review-Rouge Louboutin Sheer Voile and Bengali Velvet Matte

Christian Louboutin Lipsticks review-Rouge Louboutin Sheer Voile

Christian Louboutin Lipsticks review-Rouge Louboutin Sheer Voile

I feel like this has been one of my most requested posts!  I wanted to spend quite a lot of time over this post because I am aware that spending $90/£60/AED440 on a lipstick is an emotive subject and I have read realms and realms of opinions on the likes of and seen polar opposite thoughts on these particular lipsticks.

As always here on my blog, this review is going to be 100% honest.  I did buy two of the lipsticks so there is no PR company behind my thoughts to impress/keep on side and no agenda to my writing.

Christian Louboutin Lipsticks review-Rouge Louboutin Sheer Voile

Christian Louboutin Lipsticks review-Rouge Louboutin Sheer Voile

Christian Louboutin Lipsticks review Bengali velvet matte

Christian Louboutin Lipsticks review Bengali velvet matte

I didn't buy any of the Louboutin lipsticks when they first launched although I think people expected me to.  Of course I looked at shades online and chose the ones I thought were the nicest but I actually purchased these in Dubai on my 'celebrating one year in remission' shopping spree in September.  It felt like a treat buying them and I do personally think they are beautifully packaged-I know the inspiration for the packaging is taken from Middle Eastern antiquities and the Art Deco movement and they are made of solid metal with a turret or crown lid and a ribbon threaded through the top, turning the lipstick into a pendant should you be that way inclined.  I am not.  Christian Louboutin is said to have wanted to change an everyday item into a treasured jewel.

They also come housed in a red velvet lined presentation box-it's all very aesthetically pleasing to me but some of my friends (who will remain nameless) have commented that they look like sex toys.

Rouge Louboutin Sheer Voile is the classic Louboutin red in the sheer formula.

Christian Louboutin Lipsticks review-Rouge Louboutin Sheer Voile

Christian Louboutin Lipsticks review-Rouge Louboutin Sheer Voile

Christian Louboutin Lipsticks review-Rouge Louboutin Sheer Voile

Christian Louboutin Lipsticks review-Rouge Louboutin Sheer Voile

I am going to admit to be massively swayed by the packaging on this lipstick.  The casing reminds me of a mermaids tail and the Art Deco gold and silver crown is beautiful.  The 'sheer' formula has a flat topped bullet which seems de rigueur for sheer lipstick formulas-Tom Ford, Dior and Chanel all do the same.

I paired this shade with MAC Cherry lipliner which is a good match.  On me, this shade is definitely not the classic Louboutin true red but is a softer, more pink toned red.  I feel a bit disappointed by that, especially as these are the signature shades in the range.

Christian Louboutin Lipsticks review-Rouge Louboutin Sheer Voile

I have found a couple of significant problems with this formula.  The first is that no matter how much I built up the colour on my lips, the lip liner still looked very distinct and didn't blend with the lipstick despite the fact they are almost identical in tone.  The knock on effect of this is that as the lipstick starts to wear off, the colour fades much faster than the lip liner so you are left with lined 'sex doll' lips.  And in no way do I mean that to be a positive thing.

The formula also feel very slippery and I found it almost impossible to get a completely even coverage.  When on the lips the formula does feel lightweight but it also feels slippery, almost oily.

And the biggest problem for me is that even with a liner, the colour bled outside of my natural lip line around my cupids bow-and I knew it was going to from the second I applied it.  Bleeding sex doll lips-Hallowe'en has gone this year hasn't it?

Christian Louboutin Lipsticks review Bengali velvet matte

Christian Louboutin Lipsticks review Bengali velvet matte

Christian Louboutin Lipsticks review Bengali velvet matte

Christian Louboutin Lipsticks review Bengali velvet matte

Christian Louboutin Lipsticks review Bengali velvet matte

Bengali however is a different breed of lipstick.  Bengali comes from the velvet matte range which are housed in smooth gold metal casings with a decorative crown.  Bengali is a vivid raspberry pink-its not uber matte like the MAC Retro Matte formula is, it does have a slight sheen to it.  I would even classify it as a satin finish because there is a definite luminosity to it.

I paired it with MAC 'More to Love' lip liner and it was easy to fill in my lips-it has a much more traditional shaped lipstick bullet than the 'sheer' round shaped bullet.  The colour is opaque in one pass and is rich and velvety.  Once it's on the lips it sets and it doesn't budge-it doesn't fade for hours and it doesn't migrate outside my natural lip line.  It's comfortable to wear as well considering it is matte-it doesn't tug on the lips on application or suck the moisture from the lips.   I have to admit to really liking this one although I am 100% sure that this colour is not unique in my stash-but I do really like this shade of pink.

Christian Louboutin Lipsticks review Bengali velvet matte

My final thoughts-the sheer formula leaves me unimpressed and disappointed.  The velvet matte formula looked and felt much more high end compared to the sheer formula BUT I did not feel it was any better necessarily than any of my other favourite lipstick formulas-for example the Estee Lauder Pure Colour Envy or the Tom Ford signature lipsticks.

But, I cannot admit to regretting purchasing them-even if I don't see wearing the sheer red ever again.  I feel like they are something to be collected and coveted-I feel like a lot of thought has gone into the design to make it that bit more special.  I appreciate it's a matter of personal taste and they're not the easiest lipsticks to carry around in your handbag or even store in your make up stash.  But I still look at them and think 'wow'.

I will use Bengali, I really like everything about it.

The price tag of course will be a huge factor in any purchase of this lipstick.  But Louboutin is a luxury brand and they only product 25,000 of shoes a month.  That is absolutely nothing considering what you average shoe company like Kurt Geiger or Dune or Nine West produce.  Louboutin shoes aren't necessarily meant to be accessible and worn every day-they're meant to be coveted and special.  Christian Louboutin is a creative genius-I recently watched a documentary about him and the way he thinks about things and views at the world is extremely innovative and has a distinct 'sexual' aspect in his creative process.  It would not surprise me at all if he wanted the lipsticks to resemble sex toys given back in 2012 he collaborated and choreographed 4 plays for Crazy Horse and he has collaborated with Dita Von Teese to create erotic underwear.  Christian himself says in the documentary that he wants to revolutionize contemporary footwear, turning the humble shoe into an iconic of eroticism, sexual fetish and fun.  Why wouldn't he filter that through to his lipstick line?

So £60 on a lipstick-yes or no?  Does the Louboutin name mean you want to buy it more or less?  Does style overrule substance as in the case of the sheer formula and could you accept that to own a lipstick like this?  Would you buy one for yourself?  Would you like one as a gift?  Is the beauty line a more accessible way for people to 'own' a piece of Louboutin?  Do you like the packaging?  I would absolutely love to hear your thoughts in the comments below-all opinions are welcome!

Christian Louboutin Lipsticks review


Friday, November 20, 2015

The non negotiables

It's easy to get sucked into blogging about the newest and the greatest beauty products but what about those products that you are never without?  The must haves.  The constant repurchases.  The non negotiables.

I've chosen 6 products that I can't live without to share today.

1) MAC Prep and Prime Blemish Control Gel

This is my third tube of this salicylic acid based spot gel from MAC.  It's the fastest and most effective treatment for getting rid of pesky spots.  It can be a little stingy for a few seconds when you first apply it but after that subsides, the salicylic gets to work on reducing spot size and calming the skin without drying it out.  I use it overnight so it sits on my dressing table in easy reach.

2) Jo Malone Peony and Blush Suede

I own a lot of perfume yet I am still on my third bottle of Peony and Blush Suede.  This is the 'perfect for all seasons and every occasion' perfume-if I can't decide what to wear I reach for this.  Red apple, peony, jasmine, rose and suede make up this slightly sweet, fresh and floral perfume.  It's lasting power is really good too.  I'll need my fourth bottle soon.

3) MAC Omega eyeshadow

I've been through at least 5 of these, I used to depot them but this time I just couldn't be bothered!  I started using this a few years ago after seeing Tanya Burr use it to fill in her eyebrows.  Now this is my HG eyebrow powder, combined with a MAC 208 angled brush.  I've tried so many other things but keep coming back to this as the perfect eyebrow filler.

More recently I have been using it in my crease as a transition shade as it is perfect for adding shadow and carving out the eye (metaphorically of course) and also as a contour shade under the cheekbones.  The grey tone to the shadow is actually a much more flattering contour shade than most bronze shades which tend to pull too red or orange.  I'll die if this every gets discontinued.

4) Eucerin Aquaphor

There are currently at least 3 of these dotted around the apartment-there is one by the bed, one in my everyday skincare tub and one in the kitchen.

Last year my lips were absolutely ruined after my operation.  I tried absolutely everything and I ended up with an army of lip soothers-from vaseline to Creme De La Mer.  Nothing worked-every time I thought they were getting better they would take a turn for the worse again.  This thick Eucerin balm is the one thing that solved the problem.  Not strictly a lip product, this is a multi-use salve for very dry or cracked skin.  I find myself going back and back to this as the only thing that always works.  And trust me, I have tried almost everything out there-Nuxe, Dr Lipp, Vaseline, Vitamin E, Eve Lom, 8 hr cream, Blistex-you name it, I've tried it.  But I always go back to this-it's like a comfort blanket.

5 + 6 MAC 217 and 239 brushes

If I could only have 2 brushes for my eyes it would be without doubt a MAC 217 and a MAC 239.  I've become a collector and have at least 5 of each-although not one of mine has ever shed or fallen apart.

The 239 is the perfect size and density for packing colour all over the lid.  The 217 is the best blending brush I own-it's the perfect size for getting into the crease.  They're both made of goat hair and wash brilliantly.  They work well with creams and powders and they're simply my all time favourite eye brushes.

What are your non negotiables?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Disappointing Products #7

Previous 'Disappointing Products' posts have proven surprisingly popular and I have been stashing a few things away that didn't cut the mustard (what does that even mean??) for another round up.

Clarins Ever Matte foundation

This foundation just didn't live up to its promise of a long lasting, matte base.  The coverage was sheer to medium at very best but to get medium coverage I had to use a lot of product.  It blends best with fingers, brushes seem to leave streaks.  It definitely didn't control oil for me either-but I have naturally oily skin.

This formula has been discontinued in the States but is still available in the UK.

NARS Audacious mascara

I was definitely not a fan of NARS' new mascara offering-I dedicated a whole post to it here.  My biggest issue was that the brush was very scratchy on my lashes.  My morning application of mascara is like a little soothing ritual before hitting the office but this just wasn't nice to use.  It also lacked volume which is a no no for me in any mascara.

Make Up For Ever HD Pressed Powder

I really didn't like this compact powder from MUFE.  I found it left a white cast on the skin and was very powdery meaning every time I used it I ended up with a smattering of white powder of whatever I was wearing.  Make up dandruff-no thanks.

Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Eye Enhancing Extreme Shimmer Gel Cream Shadow Trio

I picked up this trio in the States because I am partial to a shimmery eyeshadow.  I am not partial to these as they are just terrible.  They're supposed to be a gel cream but they were actually very dry in texture.  The pigmentation was also awful, they were basically just sheer sparkle with a shit ton of fallout.  SO wishy washy, impossible to build up and terrible to work with.  Filed under BIN.

Elemis Frangipani Monoi body creme

I don't think that I have ever slated an Elemis product before but today is the day.  First up I love the Frangipani Monoi scent-if I ever visit Hawaii I pretty much expect it smells like this.  But the body creme is just so so so thick that it is almost impossible to rub into the skin.  And that is an issue for me as I am the laziest person in the world when it comes to applying body lotion-so to have one that is difficult to rub in is a deal breaker for me.  The oil version of this though-tremendous.

Sephora Rouge Infusion The Neutrals in Peony

This is a nasty lip gloss from Sephora.  When it dries it's so tacky and I hate the feeling on my lips.  It's also impossible to apply, leaving a streaky, uneven hot mess on the lips.  Enough said.

Estee Lauder Pure Colour Envy in Potent

It breaks my heart to say bad things about this lipstick range as the formula is in my own 'top 3 best lipstick formulas' but this shade is just awful.  First of all the formula is so soft that the bullet has broken off the base (pet hate, freaks me out).  The creaminess of the lipstick means it sits in a layer on the lips, gathers and puckers and doesn't sit evenly, highlighting any dry spots.  I wrote a post on it here and expressed concerns then about it not being as good as my others from the range.  For a positive review of the formula, have a look at my review of Defiant Coral.

Have you tried any of these products?

Monday, November 16, 2015

Lip Six

Happy Monday!  Here are my last six lip picks!

Top row (L) YSL Volupte Tint in Oil in 6 Peach me Love (review here-these are SO good) (R) Korres Mango Butter Lipstick in 45 Coral

Middle row (L) Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Intense in Mat 5 (R) L'Oreal Colour Riche lipstick in Red Passion

Bottom row (L) Clinique Colour Pop lipstick in Plum Pop (review here)  (R) YSL Rouge Volupte Shine in 13 Pink in Paris

Which is your favourite?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Four things I am using right now #2

Here's the second installment of 'four things I am using right now'-there's two I really like, one I am on the fence about and one I don't like as much as I expected to!

First up the L'Oreal Revitalift Miracle Blur instant eye smoother.  I don't know if you can get this in the UK or Dubai but I picked this up on a whim in Walgreens when we were in the States over the summer.  It's not an eye cream-it's not going to treat dark circles or fine lines over the long term.  This is a temporary 'filler' that smoothes the look of fine lines giving you a smoother and brighter under eye area and works almost like an undereye primer.  As you would expect, it's packed with silicone to get that velvety smooth texture and finish but I genuinely see a difference in the look of my under eye area when I try this.  Yes it's a quick fix with no skincare benefits but my concealer goes on smoother and lasts longer.  On (rare) no make up days it makes me look more awake and less haggard!

Next up is the product I don't like as much as I expected to-Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet + foundation.  I fully expected to love this-matte, full coverage liquid foundation but having just used Estee Lauder Double Wear it just doesn't measure up!  I've tried applying it with fingers and different brushes but I just find it doesn't blend as nicely and it sinks into pores.  Not to the extent that Laura Mercier Silk Creme did on me but the finish just isn't as nice as Double Wear.  I will probably use it as my every day foundation and use MAC Pro Longwear or EL Double Wear for special occasions.

The Boscia Make Up Break Up cool cleansing oil is something I picked up on a whim in the 'mini aisle of doom' at the Sephora checkout in Vegas but I absolutely love it.  So much so that I am desperate to get a full size one and luckily Sephora will ship this to the UK.  *adds to cart immediately*.

I am fussy about cleansing oils and won't touch any mineral based oil cleansers.  I apply two pumps of this cleansing oil to dry skin and use it to remove my make up-it does feeling cooling and refreshing without feeling heavy and overly oily.  It's super effective at removing all my makeup and is safe to use around the eyes without irritation.  It washes off easily with no residue but I do, as usual use a damp flannel to assist.  It doesn't leave my skin oily or stripped of oil, it's just a great make up remover.

The L'Oreal Infallible Makeup Extender Setting Spray is the product I am still on the fence about.  Described as the ultimate fixing power to extend the vibrancy and freshness of your 'just applied make up' from morning to night.  I find that although I don't feel like I need to blot shine as much I don't feel that it keeps my make up looking fresh and vibrant.  I'll keep using it and give a further update once I use it a bit more.  Make up setting sprays are definitely something I am trying out at the moment-I now have a collection of four!  Excessive or not?

Have you tried any of these products?


Friday, November 13, 2015

Guerlain Orchidée Impériale Cream Foundation-the most expensive make up mistake I have ever made

Guerlain Orchidée Impériale Cream Foundation review

For any of you reading who have balked at the thought of spending £60 on a Christian Louboutin lipstick or a similar amount on a Tom Ford eyeshadow quad please, for your health and my conscience read the following with care.

This is without doubt the most expensive make up item I have ever bought.  £140 for a foundation.

You read right.  I put it in bold for extra emphasis.

Before you think I am clinically insane there is a little back story to how I got suckered into buying this foundation.  I bought this about this time last year after my cancer surgery.  Recovery took a long time, I couldn't drive for 9 weeks and this was my first foray into the big wide world on my own-a drive to the mall 10km away.

I was admittedly still quite fragile but I found myself in the beauty hall in Harvey Nichols seeking comfort and for some unknown reason I ended up at the Guerlain counter.  An hour later, a very friendly (and knowledgeable for Dubai standards) sales assistant had talked me into several Guerlain products including this foundation.

I didn't even ask how much it cost-a terrible habit I have.  And at the cash counter I was then too embarrassed to even feign shock at the cost and feebly handed over my debit card.

During my time at the counter, the SA did put this on my skin and it looked really nice.  She explained it was a skincare/foundation hybrid and it's from Guerlains 'top of the line' range-Orchidée Impériale.  This is foundation with extras.  It contains the brightening and radiance powers of the Orchidée Impériale combined with pigment to create an all in one anti-aging foundation.

With regards to the actual foundation itself I have no issues whatsoever-it's a nice product.  But nice doesn't cut it for a £140 foundation when I can spend £30 in MAC or Estee Lauder and get something that I love.

Guerlain Orchidée Impériale Cream Foundation review

Let me tell you a bit about the foundation.  It comes housed in a heavy glass jar-it's certainly not travel friendly but it does look amazing on your dressing table.  The foundation is a velvety, thick cream and is available in 5 shades.  I am 11 Rose Pale which looks a little dark in the pot but is a perfect match for my skin.  This is one of these foundations that seems to adjust to your skintone as you blend.

When it comes to application my preferred method is using a dense brush like a Real Techniques Expert Face brush.  The foundation has the texture of applying a luxurious face cream to your skin and it buffs in brilliantly leaving behind no brush strokes or tide marks.  My skin tone definitely looks smooth and evened out, almost slightly porcelain.  It doesn't settle into pores and it sits well over the primers I have tried.  The finish is satin and dewy but in no way greasy looking.  I would actually say 'healthy'.  My skin even feels really soft and hydrated.

So far so good?  The issue I have is the lasting power of the foundation.  However much I apply or however much I layer primer, foundation and then powder, by lunchtime my face feels naked.  The natural oils in my skin just seem to eat through this foundation making me look barefaced.  All the magical skin smoothing effects have gone and my skin just looks like, well, my skin.

I've also studied the ingredients list and whilst I would never claim to be a skincare expert there is a helluva lot of silicones in there and (gasp) mineral oil-something I consciously avoid-it's a cheap and nasty filler.  Having said that this foundation has not made me break out or caused any skin irritation.

I can't help feeling though that someone with drier, maybe even more mature skin would fall in love with this but I just can't agree with the price point.  I've decided to blog sale it as I have barely used any but I know that the only person likely to buy it would be a die hard fan of Guerlain and the Orchidée Impériale range-everyone else I am sure will be wondering why I am asking so much for a foundation in a blog sale.  And I am not sure how many Guerlain Orchidée Impériale die hard fans read my blog.  But if you know any that want to save a few quid on this luxurious foundation please point them in my direction!

Overall this was a spur of the moment regret purchase and I should have known better.  I'd never spend that much now on any skincare or make up item without doing some serious research first.

Would you ever spend £140 on a foundation?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Three new lipsticks

lipstick swatches

lipstick swatches

I was watching one of Sandra's Youtube videos recently where she said she had banned herself from buying a new lipstick before she finished up one of her existing ones and that struck me as genius.  I just wish I could rewind two years though and put that theorem into practice before I ended up with a mountainous stash of unloved and so far unused lipsticks.

So in an attempt to change that sad situation I literally plunged my hand into my (two) containers of 'still in the box/sealed' lipsticks and did a 'lucky dip' to trial three new lipsticks.

First out of the lucky dip was one of my favourite formulas from Estee Lauder.  I have quite a few of the Pure Colour Envy range now and you can read some previous reviews here and here.  I know I bought this shade, Tumultuous Pink when I was last in London which was June last year.  I am sorry pretty pink lipstick.

Tumultuous Pink is just a gorgeous a lipstick as all the others I own from this range-the colour is a rich blue toned raspberry and is bold, glossy and opaque.  I need to use a lip liner with this colour as the formula is quite slippery.  I also like to try and get a precise line and for some reason I just can't straight from the bullet with this lipstick.  I love the fact that the formula never bleeds out of my natural lip line and is hydrating as well as being long lasting.  Top marks again Estee Lauder-I expected nothing less.

Estee Lauder Pure Colour Envy Tumultuous Pink

Estee Lauder Pure Colour Envy Tumultuous Pink

The next lipstick I pulled out was the Lorac Lip Luxe in the shade Hot Pink.  This is the first Lorac product I have used although I own the Lorac Pro 1 and 2 Palettes and the Unzipped and Unzipped Gold palettes.  I really am shit aren't I?

The Lip Luxe is a slim, flat topped bullet lipstick and kind of reminds me of something my nan would have got me from her Avon catalogue (that's not a good thing btw).  It just kind of feels a bit cheap.

Whereas the Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy lipsticks are definitely a glossy formula, the Lip Luxe is borderline matte.  But not matte.  Although it is marketed as a matte lipstick.  Hot Pink is an accurate if unimaginative name for the lipstick shade and I actually find it very easy to apply directly from the bullet.  It's a nice lipstick, it's not overly matte but the lasting power is nowhere near close the '8 hour' boast on the packaging.  2 at the most I would say.
Acai Berry, Pomegranate, Grape Seed and Vitamins C & E - See more at:
Acai Berry, Pomegranate, Grape Seed and Vitamins C & E - See more at:
Acai Berry, Pomegranate, Grape Seed and Vitamins C & E - See more at:

Lorac Lip Luxe in Hot Pink

Lorac Lip Luxe in Hot Pink

I have a bit of a love/hate experience with the YSL Rouge Pur Couture range-my 'hate' experience was with this shade-Corail Urbain-I called it hugely disappointing and rightly so-it applied horribly and wore horribly and peeled off my lips.  I vowed never to buy another from the same range, and then I bought this-which is one of my all time favourite lipsticks.  Talk about Jekyll and Hyde.

Rosy Coral was a hella popular lipstick when it launched last year and sold out worldwide-bizarrely because a Korean soap star said she liked it and was pictured wearing it.  Damn them Koreans for wiping out the world of YSL Rouge Pur Couture shade 52.  It is a permanent shade and I know it's in Dubai because I found it online at Woojah.

Rosy Coral is a true glossy coral that leans slightly pink rather than orange on me.  It's bold and it's glossy and it's creamy.  Sometimes a little too creamy as it can 'sit' on the lips and highlight dry patches.  It's high maintenance but it's worth it.  I think Corail Urbain was a dud.

YSL Roue Pur Couture 52 Rosy Coral

YSL Roue Pur Couture 52 Rosy Coral

lipstick swatches

So there we have it, three new lipsticks in my stash.  It's still doubtful I am going to wait until I finish a lipstick before I buy another one though...

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