Sunday, February 21, 2016

The review: Gucci Golden Glow Bronzer in 020 Oriental Sienna

The review: Gucci Golden Glow Bronzer in 020 Oriental Sienna
The review: Gucci Golden Glow Bronzer in 020 Oriental Sienna
The review: Gucci Golden Glow Bronzer in 020 Oriental Sienna

I have been on a bit of a bronzer kick recently-but being a bit of a Casper the Friendly Ghost it can be something that is a bit hard to nail without going Oompa Lumpa.

But I have gone from someone who rarely wore bronzer to being someone who now uses it every day.  And highlighter.  Less is more?  Not in my world.

The Gucci Golden Glow Bronzer is a bit of a splurge at £39 but I really like it.  There are four shades and I went for 020 Oriental Sienna, which for once in my life is not the lightest of the four available.

The bronzer comes in a solid black perspex compact with an enclosed moon shaped brush under the bronzer and a large mirror.  The Gucci packaging is all identical across the entire line-black with the GG monogram in gold embossed on the lid.  I have mentioned before I think it's quite 80's and that I want to whip out some shoulder pads and a poodle perm.

Oriental Sienna is a matte bronzer without being flat.  It's brown rather than orange and has that ever so slightly grey undertone which keeps the bronzer quite cool toned.  It's much less warm than NARS Laguna for example.  That isn't the problem I had with NARS Laguna though-I found Laguna to be so so powdery that I went through it at the speed of light.  I wasted so much of it tapping the excess off my brush.  I also found Laguna to be super pigmented and easy to overdo.

The Gucci bronzer is much 'firmer' without being stiff and difficult to use.  The GG monogramming on the pan is pressed in quite deep as I have been using this for about 3 weeks and it's still very visible.  I use it to lazily contour before dusting the excess on my brush over temples, nose and chin.  I use a large fluffy brush to disperse the powder evenly and a relatively light hand.  It's perfect for everyday use.

As you know I'm not a fan of posting my face on my blog but you can see how I have used it above.  I'm also wearing:

Base-NARS Sheer Glow in Mont Blanc with a couple of drops of Custom FX Cover Drops, set with MAC Studio Fix

Eyes-Zoeva Cocoa Blend eyeshadow palette (review!)

Lips-Gucci Luxurious Moisture Rich lipstick in Nude Satin (review!)

Blush-Chanel Camelia Rose (review but limited edition I think!)

Highlight-Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight

I know Gucci isn't the most accessible brand and I think it's only available in the UK, US and UAE.  Basically you need to live in a country beginning with a U!!  If you do, this is well worth checking out.


Friday, February 19, 2016

The review: Zoeva Cocoa Blend eyeshadow palette

Zoeva Cocoa Blend eyeshadow palette review
Zoeva Cocoa Blend eyeshadow palette review
Zoeva Cocoa Blend eyeshadow palette review
Zoeva Cocoa Blend eyeshadow palette review

This palette was on my wishlist for so long, I kept reading great reviews on it from some of my fave (and trusted) bloggers like Laurzrah and Adrienne and so when I was home at Xmas I finally placed a Beauty Bay order and picked up this, the Rose Garden palette and some more brushes from Zoeva.  Zoeva brushes are amazing-as good as MAC for sure at a fraction of the price.  I've only really tried eye brushes but they are The. Bomb.

I also own the Mixed Metals palette and this blew me away when I tried it.  You can read my review here.  I was so impressed with the texture, the pigmentation and the lasting power.  Writing about it makes me want to use it again and that's the sign of a great make up product.

I feel like the Cocoa Blend is another great palette with only one 'miss' shade.

Let me break down the shades:

Bitter Start-a matte cream shade that is perfect for cleaning up the outer edges of your eyeshadow and also using under the brow bone.  I also mix it with Substitute For Love and use it in my crease as a transition shade-I find that the cream colour tones down a little of the orange in Substitute for Love making the combination perfect on my pale skin.

Sweeter End-for me this is the dud.  It swatches beautifully and I was awed by it-its a cool toned mauvy, lilac with a yellow undertone but however hard I try I can't get it to show up well on my lid.  I've tried various primers but it just kind of looks like nothing.  I will try pressing it over a creamier base and using it like a pigment to see if that amps up the colour pay off but at the moment it's a miss from me.

Warm Notes-I have seen comparison after comparison with MAC Cranberry and it's hard to deny the similarities.  Personally, I prefer Cranberry, I think it's a little more pigmented but this is a good dupe and the whole palette is around the cost of one MAC eyeshadow.

Subtle Blend-absolutely one of my favourites in the palette, this is a rich and warm mid toned bronze.  This is the sort of colour I adore.  Very easy to blend out and any fall out cleans up easily from under the eye.

Beans are white-matte black.  I honestly don't tend to use matte black eyeshadow as I find it very stark on me but it is good to have an option if I want to use it as a liner.

Pure Ganache-my favourite-it's just the perfect golden tone for me.  It's so pigmented and so easy to work with.  It has a slightly metallic finish and there is some fall out but its very easy to clean up with a sweep of a large fluffy brush.  Been using this a lot.

Substitute for Love-an easy to use matte shadow I use in the crease.  For a subtle eye contour I mix this with the cream shade to knock out some of the orange in the undertone-it's a perfect mix.

Freshly toasted-Another really good matte crease shade-still quite warm and again can be toned down my mixing it with the matte cream shade.  I'm using it a lot.

Infusion-a really dark brown matte shadow but with golden glitter.  I have used this on the outer corner but you could also press this along the last liner for something a little more subtle (but glittery)

Delicate Acidity-the worst name for an eyeshadow ever?  Delicate Acidity is a darker mauve than Sweeter End with good pigmentation and a little microshimmer.  I'm not a huge fan of these type of tones on me but it is very pretty.

Zoeva Cocoa Blend eyeshadow palette review
My go to look is always a bronzey eye and the bronze tones in this palette are good enough to keep me picking up this palette.  The matte shades are excellent and the warm red is very wearable.  The shades that will get the least use from me are Sweeter End, Delicate Acidity and Beans Are White.

I bought my palette from Beauty Bay for £15.50.  I think the quality, pigmentation and lasting powder of these shadows make this an absolute bargain and a very versatile palette.

Have you used anything from Zoeva?


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Dior Addict lipstick-Wonderful and After Party

Dior Addict lipstick-Wonderful and After Party

Dior Addict lipstick-Wonderful and After Party

I was initially a little confused when I saw these 'new' lipsticks from Dior and was trying to compute where they fit into the Dior lipstick line up.  As a long time fan of Dior lip products (the Dior Rouge Dior lipsticks are probably my all time favourite formula) I will always try something new in their lip range.

Turns out the 'new' Addict lipsticks are a relaunch of the old Addict lipsticks-a lot of the shades have been retained (I recognise Lucky, Spring Ball, Diablotine and Incognito immediately from the line up) but the formula has been revamped and updated and is now marketed as a breakthrough hybrid lipstick of intense colour and a long lasting top coat in one.  There are also three finishes in the line-shimmering, pearlescent and pure colour.

The packaging has also been revamped-above you can see the old navy blue packaging and the new light catching perspex packaging.  I quite like the new packaging but I am so used to my Dior lipsticks being in the classic navy blue so I feel indifferent.

The lipsticks have a 'one swipe and it's gone' CD embossing on the bullet and an inbuilt moisturising core the length of the lipstick.  The core contains Shield Oil to apparently prolong the wear time of the lipstick and deliver intense hydration.  It also acts as a top coat, locking color in and adding additional shine.

Dior Addict lipstick-Wonderful and After Party

Dior Addict lipstick-Wonderful and After Party

Dior Addict lipstick-Wonderful and After Party

Dior Addict lipstick-Wonderful and After Party

Dior Addict lipstick-Wonderful and After Party swatches

I bought two colours and indeed they are shiny.  I find the formula to be quite syrupy in feel and the pigmentation to be quite sheer.  The lasting power was also unremarkable.  I don't know for sure but I would say these fall into the 'shimmering' finish as there is obvious glitter in the formula-and I am not really a big fan of that.

I do feel my lips look glossy and plumped but I find the glitter content to be slightly irritating to my lips-I had the same feeling with the Guerlain Kiss Kiss lipsticks I reviewed last year.

Needless to say, I haven't found myself reaching for these at all-they have fallen into the abyss that is my lipstick drawer.  They feel more like 'summertime' sheer lipsticks or weekend lipsticks when you just want a slick of colour.

I'm unlikely to buy any more from the range even though I own (and love) Lucky from the original line up-maybe I would have better luck with the pure colour or pearlescent finishes.   But my personal recommendation would be to check out the Rouge Dior lipstick range (you can read my review here and I have since picked up at least 6-7 more)

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The review: Gucci Luxurious Moisture Rich Lipstick in 340 Nude Satin

The review: Gucci Luxurious Lipstick in 340 Nude Satin
The review: Gucci Luxurious Lipstick in 340 Nude Satin
The review: Gucci Luxurious Lipstick in 340 Nude Satin

I have to admit, there isn't anything from the Gucci Beauty line that I haven't really liked like so far-I just wish the line was a little more accessible in the UK.   Here in Dubai the line is very accessible and when people ask me 'what make up should I buy in Dubai?' I always recommend checking out Gucci.  It's stocked in Sephora, Paris Gallery and Bloomingdales so if you're in Dubai Mall, you're sorted.  It's also in Harvey Nichols and Sephiora in Mall of the Emirates if you prefer shopping there.

Lipstick is my thing as most of you regular readers will know.  I could probably dupe this lipstick in my stash a thousand times (literally) but it's definitely grown on me as it's just virtually impossible to not like it.

Granted there are only so many phrases you can use to describe a lipstick and you've heard every single one of them before but I will give you my thoughts without waffling too much.

Let's start with packaging-its solid, heavy and kind of old school.  No 21st century magnetic closure or 'revolutionary' bullet shape.  The black and gold is quite 80's and I feel like I should be wearing shoulder pads and watching Dallas but I do like the GG monogramming on the inner casing.  Still very 80's though.  The bullet itself has the double G monogram as well but like all embossed lipsticks don't expect this to last more than a couple of swipes.

Gucci do two different lipstick formulas-Audacious Colour Intense and Luxurious Moisture Rich and when the brand launched in Dubai at the end of 2014 I picked up one of each.   And sadly they have sat in my 'still to try' make up stash since (don't shoot me).  Nude Satin is from the Luxurious Moisture Rich line and it really is a great formula-it contains more than 65% oils and claims that the natural heat of your body allows the colour to melt onto the lips.  Whatever.  With 65% oils the lipstick should be pretty much dripping from the bullet.

But it is hydrating for sure-and very comfortable and lightweight on the lips.  It has a luminous satin finish and I actually do really like lipsticks that appear quite glossy and luminous-the Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution ones have the same effect but are of course more matte.  I don't want to say 'lit from within' because that's so cliché but that's kind of what I mean.  It's easy to top up throughout the day without drying your lips out and making them go flaky.

I remember when I was choosing a colour I thought 'play it safe, buy a neutral' and that's how I ended up with Nude Satin.  It's unremarkable, dupeable but I kind of love it.  You just cannot go wrong with this kind of shade in your lipstick wardrobe.  It's slightly boring but it's so extremely appropriate/wearable/My Lips But More Polished/easy that I will wear it all the time.  It's not too brown and is a nice balance of nude leaning towards pink.

Of course if you don't want to splash out £28 on a lipstick (I always go down the 'cost per wear Avenue of Justification') or can't get to a Gucci counter and want me to try and dupe this from my stash let me know.  Here's a completely unfiltered photo to show how 'boring but polished' it is.

Gucci Luxurious Moisture Rich Lipstick in 340 Nude Satin

I've reviewed some of the other Gucci beauty products on my blog-another lip product I love is here, a couple of the single eyeshadows here, a couple more here, and an eyeshadow quad here.

PS I am strongly against themed Valentines day posts-a lipstick post is as good as it gets from me!

Friday, February 12, 2016

The review: Dior Glow lip liner

Dior Glow lip liner
Dior Glow lip liner

Dior lip products rank as some of my favourites ever-especially the Dior Rouge Dior lipstick line-they're just so creamy and pigmented and comfortable to wear-I would quite happily live the rest of my days wearing only them.

The 'Glow' range originated with the Lip Glow which is a balm lipstick that when applied, reacts with your lips natural chemistry to give you a bespoke, flattering pink lip colour.  The effect is subtle but it is noticeable as well as making your lips look more refined, polished and plumped.  Also in the Glow range is the Diorskin Rosy Glow blush which does a similar thing to your cheeks-a blush that adapts to your natural colour to give your most flattering pink.

I own both and whilst I like the Lip Glow, I find that the Rosy Glow blush always looks quite stark and chalky on my skintone.

The newest edition is the Dior Glow lip liner-and the concept is similar.  A lip liner that will adapt to the natural chemistry of your lips to give you the most flattering pink shade.  This piqued my interest and I found myself walking away from Dior in Harvey Nichols in Dubai with this, the new setting powder and a Glowing Gardens highlighter.  I can never just buy one thing (NB the highlighter wasn't for me, buying it for a friend :)

Dior Glow lip liner

This liner is truly unique in my collection and the formula is like nothing I have tried before.  The liner is a solid gel that twists up and has a thin angled edge.  All of my lip liners are pencil so this shaped bullet is new to me.  However, because it's so angled I actually find it really easy to navigate the contours of my lips and get a precise line.  The gel formula also means that the product glides along the lips easily without dragging or tugging.  The downside?  Because it is gel it is very fragile.  I twisted mine up a little too far and the pressure I was exerting on my lips must have been too much and the nib snapped off.  So if you're buying one, only twist up the nib to expose a little of the product.

I really like the colour it produces-I worried it would be invisible because you first apply it you don't see anything.  It takes around 10 seconds for the colour to start to appear and on me its a really flattering baby to mid pink that I can pair with lots of different lipsticks.

I have filled in my lips with it here so you can see the colour and I can really see me using this liner a lot.  It's far less drying that some of the MAC pencil liners I own and it's really easy to work with.  Remember it is bespoke though so will not necessarily look this shade of pink on everyone

Dior Glow lip liner

I am guessing that this is a slimmer, liner version of the original Lip Glow lipstick so I don't know if you really need both and it is showing as a limited edition product on the Dior website.  I have also noticed they recommend not extending the tip more than 2mm.....I should have read that before using it!


Monday, February 8, 2016

Lip Six

lipstick swatches

Happy Monday and greetings from Cairo!  I am here until Wednesday this week and all set for a busy week of meetings.

Here are my last six lip picks:

Top row (L) Bite Cuvee Creme Deluxe lipstick in Coral (R) Kat Von D Studded Kiss lipstick in Sexer (review here!)

Middle row (L) Sephora Rouge Lipstick in Decolette (R) NARS lipstick in Funny Face

Bottom row (L) NARS lipstick in Niagara (R) NARS lipstick in Transeurope Express

You can tell I have hit the NARS section of my lipstick drawer!  I have to say Funny Face is one of my all time favourite lipsticks and one I always get compliments on when I wear it!

Which is your favourite?

Have a great week!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Four things I am using right now #4

Today I wanted to reignite my 'four things I am using right now' posts because I think they're quite useful bite sized reviews as well as a peek into the things that I am incorporating into my everyday routine at the moment.

I really like all of these things as well so let me start singing their praises.

First up is the Lush Rehab shampoo.  I recently received an amazing hair care package from Lush UAE and the only product I had tried in it before was the BIG sea salt shampoo which is already a firm fave.  I've been using the Rehab shampoo for two weeks now and I am actually in love it-my hair is definitely softer and easier to brush through when I use this.  My hair is fine and heat styled every single day and admittedly I don't look after it as well as I should do, so shampoos like Rehab are a godsend-I just can't believe it's taken me so long to discover it.  Papaya, mango, pineapple, kiwi and peppermint stimulate and cleanse the scalp whilst olive oil and jojoba oil strengthen and nourish.  I'm definitely buying a larger size next time I am in the mall.  Lush is available in Dubai in Dubai Mall, Mercato, Diera City Centre Mall and Mirdif City Centre and I have just realised they have an online store meaning I don't need to battle the mall!

The Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Serum Corrector is a product I bought on a whim and absolutely adore.  When I was in London at Xmas I went into Selfridges intending to buy the Intensive Skin Serum Concealer but I got colour matched to the corrector and concealer and walked away with both.  I have seen correctors in a pot before and always been put off because they seemed to be so much of a faff and so thick and cakey but this one is in doe foot applicator form and applies like a cream concealer.  I am the shade 'Light Bisque' which has slightly salmon undertones and the MUA told me to apply this first, patting on 5 dots around the undereye area with the applicator and then blending before adding 3 dots of concealer on top.  The corrector balances discoloration under the eye and there are shades to correct blue undertones, dark circles and sallowness.  It's so lightweight and creamy, doesn't crease and feels hydrating.  And it really makes a difference.  I am totally hooked.

The Charlotte Tilbury Wonder Glow is a golden peach fluid designed to add glow to the skin before foundation.  If you have really good skin you could wear this on it's own to perk the skin up as the effect is quite subtle-it's not as golden as the Josie Maran Argan Enlightenment Illuminator and I have to say I do prefer the Josie Maran if my skin is desperately dull and needs a hardcore perk up.  I mix the Charlotte Tilbury Wonder Glow with MAC Strobe Liquid, just like I did with the Josie Maran and then use that combination as a glowy primer before applying foundation on top.  MAC Strobe Liquid is really cool toned with a violet undertone and the Wonder Glow is golden toned so the two combined balance out the skintone and add a subtle glow. 

Charlotte says 'I have created a miracle fix to turn around tired, dull, dehydrated skin in a beauty flash. It’s called Wonder Glow and is powered by a breakthrough Fluorescent Core Light Diffuser that cleverly steals UV light from its surroundings and re-emits it as skin luminosity to disguise and transform drab, sleep-deprived skin.  It’s a cross between an anti-age elixir and a complexion-enhancing light diffuser to give your skin an instant “spotlight” effect. Collagen-boosting peptides and patented wrinkle-preventing ingredients are fused with light-reflecting microspheres with a fluorescent core that fill in wrinkles and scatter light to blur away lines and flood skin with luminosity. Create the definition of youthful, healthy skin: glowing, hydrated and effervescent.' 

Honestly I think that overstates what this product does-I like Charlotte's products a lot but I don't think this product is that good.  I like it, but it's not a miracle worker.

Finally, I have been using the Antipodes Divine Face Oil for a couple of months now, every other day as the last step in my evening skincare routine.  My skin is a bit temperamental right now and has been for months.  It's prone to blemishes around my chin and jaw line but also really dry skin as the blemishes dry out.  I have learned that oil + oily skin is not a no no, in fact the right oils can help to control the skins oil production.

This oil contains organic Avocado Oil, rosehip oil, jojoba oil and macadamia oil plus ylang ylang and Omega 9 to strengthen and balance skin.  I find that this is quite a heavy oil compared to some I have used but it's non greasy and absorbs well without leaving a sticky residue.  It doesn't cause me to break out and has been most effective for me in reducing old blemish scars.  I have been applying a few drops of this oil every other night after my hydrating toner.

So there you have it, four things I am using religiously at the moment.  Have you used any of them?

*This post contains one PR sample.  My opinion is, as always, my very own

Friday, February 5, 2016

Currently Loving

I feel like I love a lot of things at the moment but I am rounding up the things I am using every single day and loving!

First up an oldie but a goodie-MAC Studio Fix.  I have seen Nic from Pixiwoo using this quite a lot in tutorials as a powder foundation but, in the spirit of more is always more I apply my foundation and then this on top as my setting powder.  And to apply it, my favourite brush is the Space NK flat top powder brush which I picked up wandering around Chester with Tash before Xmas.  I only have a couple of Space NK brushes but this one is really really good for applying powder/powder foundation/foundation.  It's very soft, densely packed but doesn't pick up too much product.  It's very similar to the Sigma Flat Top Kabuki but unfortunately my Sigma brush disintegrated after a few washes.

The Studio Fix is really really finely milled which makes it perfect for buffing over the skin.  I like it because it's not chalky or powdery and it evens out my skintone.  It can also be used as a powder foundation which gives lighter coverage but that's not for me.  It's also lasting ages-I haven't hit pan yet and have been using it daily for over a month.

I recently mentioned how good I thought the Dior Diorshow Iconic Overcurl mascara was in this post
and it really is a brilliant mascara.  It's really black and the curved bristle brush makes it easy to get from root to tip on the lashes without any scratchiness (my pet hate).  It's also one of the few mascaras that does hold a curl on me and lifts my lashes.  It really elongates and fattens lashes and once on, doesn't flake or smudge.  My only concern is that from first use it's very dry in formula so I am not sure how long it will last-but it's an excellent all rounder.  You can see it in action here.

I have lost count of how many bloggers have raved about the Collection Lasting Perfection concealer over the 3 years I have been blogging and I still never bought it.  My skin has been so bad again recently so when I was in the UK I bought a couple of tubes of the lightest shade and I really really like it!  This concealer is one that can be used both under the eyes and to conceal blemishes and it really does cover without caking.  It's pretty heavy duty and one of the thicker concealers I have used but it blends easily and sits nicely.  I'm glad I picked up a couple.

My last favourite may not be instantly recognisable from the above picture because it's in a limited edition (and impossible to keep clean) limited edition bottle.  I have never worn a perfume that has got me so many compliments-even from James!!  And it's crazy because I can't even smell it on myself.

If you've never heard of Escentric Molecule 01 let me tell you a little about it.  It's a fragrance designed to interact with the bodies natural chemistry to produce a bespoke and individual scent.
The fragrance is created solely from the aroma-chemical Iso E Super, traditionally a perfume basenote that adds allure to a scent, which works as more of an effect than a fragrance. The scent has a subtle, velvety, woody note which will meld with your natural pheromones, vanish, then re-surface after some time, making it totally individual and personalised to the wearer. You will rarely smell this fragrance on yourself, Molecule 01 perfume is more about the effect it has on others.

It definitely has good lasting power as well because James came up to me late afternoon yesterday in the office and said 'are you wearing that pherenome perfume again because you smell nice'?  James never ever compliments me so I take this as concrete evidence he loves me.

It retails for around £65 for 100ml and would be a great gift for a picky person to buy presents for.

Have you used any of my current faves?

Monday, February 1, 2016

Lip Six

lipstick swatches

Happy Monday!  So this is my 75th lip six post...I wonder when I should stop?  At 100?

 I do actually really like doing them but the struggles of getting the lighting/pout right every day are real #FirstWorldProblems

It's also February!  I love wearing opaque tights to the office but when February comes around I start wondering when I am going to have to start packing them away.  However it was 12 degrees this morning when I left for work so I reckon I can get a couple more weeks out of them for sure.

If you are a regular reader you may remember me saying I was going to go through my lipstick drawer methodically one by one and I am still doing it.  My MAC lipsticks are housed in 5 drawer 'wide' Muji acrylic storage and don't even get me started on glosses.  Right now I am in the NARS/KVD/Dior Fluid Stick 'corner' of the drawer but I will try and mix up brands without deviating too much from the task in hand.

My last 6 lip picks are.....

Top row (L) Guerlain Kiss Kiss lipstick in Red Strass (R) Kat Von D Studded Kiss lipstick in Bachelorette (review here!)

Middle row (L) Kat Von D Studded Kiss lipstick in Backstage Bambi (R) Dior Fluid Stick in Rieuse (review here!)

Bottom row (L) NARS Audacious lipstick in Brigitte (review here!) (R) NARS lipstick in Schiap

There was a clear favourite for me this week-KVD in Bachelorette.  I really like these lipsticks-they're matte but not too matte or drying.  Bachelorette is just such a beautiful face brightening pink.  And I have been feeling really dull recently and this made me feel better.

It's also worth noting that I like NARS Brigitte much more than I stated in my original review-it's one of my favourite peachy nudes for sure.

Which is your favourite?

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