Sunday, 31 March 2013
I had a pretty hectic time in the run up to Easter when I felt a bit like I was running on empty... boy did I feel the need for some harmony and clear thinking, so yes - I did almost kiss the postie the day he showed up with Neom's new diffuser in Harmonise.
Fragranced with essential oils of Pine, Cedarwood and Eucalyptus, it is not to be confused with fusty pine scents that lingered around your granny's house. Imagine cutting into a juicy lemon in the middle of an Italian forest and you'll be closer to the mark!
You know the feeling when you come out of a stuffy building and inhale clean, fresh air? That's how this scent makes me feel. Not overly powerful, I get the best sense of it when placed at head height or on my desk. Fresh, uplifting and (apparently) balancing... every little helps!
Saturday, 30 March 2013
My love of natural products is well documented on these pages and most of these 5 are in my current daily routine...
Melvita Eye Make-up Remover is 99% natural and incredibly gentle, yet effective enough to remove even waterproof mascara. Made with chamomile, lotus water and aloe vera, it doesn't irritate my uber sensitive eyes and although slightly oily, doesn't leave a heavy residue.
Organic Surge fesh ocean light body lotion: I don't always have time to massage in ultra rich body butters and want something that can be skimmed all over quickly before dressing.
This little beauty sinks in fast, smells like fresh lemons and moisturises well. I can't ask for more than that!
Neilsen Massey Finest Quality Vanilla Extract: A few drops of this added to a blend of olive oil and soft brown sugar makes a naturally exfoliating scrub that smells as divine as it feels!
Caudalie Cleansing Water: I love Bioderma as much as the next person, but Caudalie's micellar water beats it hands down when it comes to that delicious natural grape fragrance - and there's little if anything between them when it come to cleansing abilities.
eos hand lotion with cucumber is another gorgeously fragranced, paraben-free product enriched with natural moisturisers and a light, silky texture. If you love the lip balm, you'll adore this! The packaging is teeny, but perfectly formed in a very tactile pebble shape that has not left my bag since I got it!
Find Melvita & eos at biggreensmile.com (a fabulous recent discovery for a huge range of natural brands); Caudalie at escentual.com & Organic Surge at organicsurge.com
Monday, 25 March 2013
NYC has released gorgeous fuchsia and purple lipsticks and nail polishes for Spring 2013, which of course work beautifully together - provide welcome cheer to nails and lips in this transitional (snowy Spring!) weather! At less than £2 each, these are an amazing way to inject a pop of colour into your make-up routine without breaking the bank and brilliant minimal risk option for the colour shy!
Nails: Midtown & Prince St
Adore this fuchsia nail polish with violet shimmer! How glossy? No top coat in the above pic (though a little bird told me the NYC top coat is very good if you’re on the lookout for one). I thought I’d attempt an ombre look, which turned out to be a bit more complicated than expected, so this happened…
I did over-apply the purple as my experimenting unfolded (!!), so it could look a lot neater, but how gorgeous are these colours together?! I used Seche Vite top coat to finish off the two tone mani.
Lips: Air Kiss & Blue Rose
This is just one pass of the lipsticks, which are uber pigmented and really do have the wow factor - I’ll be wearing these a lot in the coming months. Air Kiss is a gorgeous pinkie red and Blue Rose is a cool, almost purple fuchsia - magenta might be more accurate? Both have great lasting power too and not overly drying if used with a touch of balm…. you can see me wearing the colour on the left over on Instagram and the full Spring nail collection here (can’t wait to try that yellow!).
I make no bones about my love for high end beauty products, but if I can get products of this quality for a great price, I’m all over it, especially for brights that I’m unlikely to wear every day of the week.
- *NYC Nails In a New York Minute: Prince Street #247 (purple) & Midtown #240 (fuchsia)
- *NYC Expert Last Lip Color: Air Kiss #404 (raspberry) Blue Rose #405 (fuchsia)
All available at Superdrug & some independent chemists for less than the loose change in your pocket!
Sunday, 24 March 2013
I love all kinds of pink tones in make-up, from ballet slipper pink to fuchsia, but the ones I’m most often drawn to are soft dusty pinks that add colour and definition in a very natural way. I have quite a few in my collection, but have been reaching for this little lot the most lately.
Dainty Doll powder blusher in My Girl #002 is a great shade for pale skins, comes in a generously sized mirrored compact and can be swirled over apples for a rosy glow or dusted lightly on cheekbones for a radiant sheen. It’s glowy rather than glittery and very buildable, so great for anyone who is afraid of overdoing it!
Laura Mercier cream blush in Oleander (above) is in my Top 3 pink blushers ever (alongside Benefit Hervana & Bourjois Rose D’Or). Quite a neutral pink, only a tiny amount is needed to give the most natural looking flush with great lasting power, so don’t be put off by the dinky sized compact. Pat on with the flat of your finger tips or a soft brush over a tinted moisturiser or BB cream for a really pretty only-you-will-know natural look.
Burberry Lip Mist in Heather Pink may be the ultimate ‘no mirror required’ slick on and go natural look lipstick; in fact it’s so easy to apply I can literally do so on the go (yes I am that girl who applies lipstick while walking up the street). Infused with moisturising goodness it leaves my lips looking and feeling soft and comfortable. Not a million miles from long term favourite, Lipstick Queen in Saint Pink and a more moisturising version of MUFE No31.
You’d think Rimmel Lip Liner in East End Snob was made to match this lipstick and the two get used together on days when I have time to apply while standing still for a more finished look.
The Heart & Star necklace was a Mother’s Day gift from my lovely sister (a sweetheart who thinks I’m a good mum to my kids!). It’s from one of my favourite shops for really unusual and unique gifts, Urban Orchard in Holywood.
The blushers both work well on their own merits, but if I’m in the mood for a little extra glow, I’ll use both together, with the lightest dusting of Dainty Doll applied on upper cheekbones using my Japonesque fan brush.
Above left, the lipstick & both blushers (!) and right, the lipstick, liner & necklace (with a different blush).
I think pink tones suit lots of complexions, except maybe those with very high redness, and should not be shied away from by redheads & strawberry blondes!
Are you a fan of pink make-up?
Saturday, 23 March 2013
Priti NYC’s latest releases will appeals to non-fans of the usual ice cream pastels and rainbow brights. I was drawn to Comptesse de Paris as an everyday shade with enough punch to complement an outfit while remaining quite neutral. After taking these pics it occurred to me it’s quite like the colour of my hair, though illustrating this with a camera by myself might be tricky!
I’d describe this as a butterscotch shade, with a silver shimmer that gives a slight metallic sheen and is more noticeable in person than in these pics. The above shots were taken by the window, in natural light - the ones below are with flash and in neutral light. I think it’s slighter cooler in person and definitely not as warm as it looks with the flash.
Above left, neutral light and above right, with flash.
As always, Priti NYC colours apply perfectly. The formula is neither too thick nor thin and very smooth. I used two coats and no topcoat for these swatches. Comptesse de Paris is from the Orient Express collection, pictured below.
Priti NYC’s Early Spring 2013 Collection is named Après Ski, perfect for the current UK ‘Spring’ weather!
I’m sure the yellow-lime, Envy will be extremely popular and would look great with a tan or as a monochrome accent!
All shades available from CutECOsmetics £8.95 each. Cruelty free & vegan.
Friday, 22 March 2013
This week Benefit Ireland came to Belfast to launch their new Fake Up Hydrating Concealer to press and bloggers. I had been a little bewildered by this product beforehand and just wasn’t quite sure what to expect or what it could do for me, so if you’re feeling the same, read on…
Fake Up is a twist-up concealer stick encased in a balm-like hydrating layer, beautifully presented in a silver metal lipstick style case. My initial thoughts: why would I want to smear balm over my face - and won’t it affect the performance of the concealer? Well, firstly, this isn’t designed as a blemish cover. Its job is to conceal shadows and add light, radiance and moisture, particularly around the eye area. Basically, it works in a similar manner to a highlighting brush-on clicky pen, but with more coverage. The balm is infused with vitamin E & apple seed extract for immediate hydration, while the concealing core hides dark circles, smooths skin and diffuses light.
Still think it sounds mad? Who cares… it works!
Why I like to Fake Up:
- at last - an undereye concealer that hides dark shadows without looking cakey or dry
- when blended, it appears almost invisible on the skin
- doesn’t sit in fine lines (unless you over apply, like every other product)
- quite long lasting
- very easy to apply
- can be used for touch ups throughout the day without caking, like a mini foundation stick
- great for adding light above cheekbones and in the line between the mouth and nose
- darker shades can be used for contour
If you’re familiar with Benefit’s other concealers, you may find this comparison useful.
Apologies that I didn’t have time to take pics of the product applied for this review, but I promise to post pics of me wearing it asap. In the meantime, here are some swatches…
Notice the stripe of moisture next to the colour in pic 1… if you imagine blending foundation with a touch of moisturiser, that’s pretty much the effect this has. The product can be buffed into skin with a brush or blended in a gentle patting movement with the ring finger - both methods work for me and the light shade is perfect for my skintone. I haven’t completely blended the dark swatch above right, but I promise it does blend out and I could even get away with it as a contour shade when using self tan.
I think this will work best on normal to dry skins… oily skins may not like the extra moisture and I imagine the crease-control element will be at its best on non-oily skins.
Hello Flawless Custom Powder, Champagne
We were also introduced to Hello Flawless Custom Powder Cover Up at this event. I’d previously fallen for the Hello Flawless liquid foundation, so was intrigued to try this product, which works brilliantly with Fake Up. It’s a completely customisable powder which can be dusted on over your product of choice as a finishing powder, or built up as a powder foundation.
The compact comes with a soft brush for sweeping it on lightly or a sponge for pressing on for more coverage, both of which are stored in a ventilated section below the powder (last pic above). The top right close up pic is the most true to the actual colour, Champagne, which is perfect for my skintone.
I’ve really enjoyed wearing a combination of the above two products and find them really quick and easy to use, always a bonus in my book! The powder can be built up to medium coverage and Fake Up is great for banishing that mid afternoon slump and making me look bright eyed and bushy tailed again!
Thanks to the Benefit team for coming to Belfast - it was great to see you all again (especially the fabulous Mark!) and meet some new faces. A special thank you from me to Rebekah (hope I spelt that right!) from Menary’s in Lisburn who did my make-up on the night - an absolute sweetheart and brilliant make-up artist. I instagrammed the look she did here if you fancy a look.
Benefit Fake Up is already available online and will be on counters any day now, rrp £18.50
Thursday, 21 March 2013
Mary Elizabeth skincare is a young, affordable, no-frills natural brand that prides itself on using the purest organic ingredients. Frankincense, Chamomile and Jojoba are just 3 of the pure essential oils in the vitamin enriched formulas, presented in recyclable packaging. I expected to like them; I didn’t expect to be blown away by them… but a couple of these products are now in my ‘best finds since I started blogging list’ (I should really do a post with that title some time…) my skin adores them.
Every one of the products was shortlisted or commended in the 2013 Skincare Awards - an amazing achievement - and clearly I’m not the only one impressed!
Frankincense & Rose Moisturiser, £21.50 - I defy anyone in possession of a face not to love thee. I can’t tell you how gorgeous this smells, how rich and soothing it feels on my skin and how soft it leaves my face. If I wasn’t a fickle beauty blogger who switches skincare like most switch handbags, I’d happily use this every day, forever. Amen.
Everything in the pot is there for a reason… Frankincense has anti-inflammatory, anti-ageing and toning properties, while Rose Otto Damask Essential Oil is great for ageing or sensitive skin. Jojoba & Meadowfoam oils boost and brighten and Thistle oil helps address large pores (whoop!).
Camellia & Geranium Gentle Face Scrub, £12.50 - I’m more of a chemical exfoliant kinda girl, but if I do use a scrub on my face, I want it to be uber gentle… and this one is. To be honest it feels more like a gorgeous waxy cleanser, with quite widely dispersed ‘bits’, which are so soft I could use this daily (& I’m a bit hyper about over exfoliating). Rich in Vitamin A, Camellia and Avocado Oils combined with Geranium and Lavender soothe and moisturise as it cleanses.
“All of our products contain natural, organic ingredients and will never contain: Sodium Laurel Sulphate (SLS); parabens; synthetic fragrances; colourants; paraffin wax; petrolatum; primary petro-chemicals.”
Juniper & Jojoba Hand Cream, £9.50 - Despite a rich cocktail of ingredients including Jojoba and Calendula Oils with Juniper, Geranium and Chamomile, this manages to soften and protect without a greasy residue and smells clean and fresh.
Spearmint & Tea Tree Nurture Balm, £6.50 is a real multi tasker. Vitamin enriched, it’s packed with moisturising Shea Butter, Spearmint, Avocado, Hemp Seed and Tea Tree Essential Oils. My favourite place to use it is on my lips as it tastes (erm, smells) sooo good! I also pop it on my cuticles and the little tin is perfect for keeping in my bag.
The absolute star of the show for me is the Frankincense & Rose Moisturiser and only the smallest amount is needed. Probably best for normal to dry skins as it is quite rich and especially lovely for night time… I’m going to pop some on right now!
Full ingredient lists of each product are available on the website, where you can purchase the products with free UK delivery. MaryElizabethBodycare.com
Do you like to use natural skincare?
Wednesday, 20 March 2013
La Divine Fragrances approached me in the early development stages to assist with testing their scented candles, so it’s a real honour to burn and review them at completion stage. The founder of this new London based brand began mixing and blending essential oils in her kitchen, before creating a luxury range with a blend of natural soy wax, subtle fragrances and lead free cotton wicks.
Mine is Green Tea Pomegranate, a lovely fresh, unobtrusive scent that I particularly enjoy burning during the day. I like that it scents the air in a way that’s not overpowering, but enough for people to notice the lovely scent when they come into the house. The heavy white glass looks elegant and burns beautifully - I prefer this look to clear glass and it gives a softly diffused light in the evening.
“handmade using the finest natural fragrances and essential oils, creating a luxurious aroma that is warming and comforting but never overpowering.”
As you can see above the wax burns evenly, so there is zero wastage and burn time is an impressive 45 hours. Also available in Plump Plum (how gorgeous does that sound?!) and Tuberose Neroli, the candles are priced at £22, which I think is great for a natural, luxury candle. Plenty of people would pay a fiver for a supermarket brand that lasts a few hours, so you’re getting a lot for your money. Find the range here.
Monday, 18 March 2013
Feather, concrete and leather nails didn’t really do it for me, but I’m loving the idea of Nails Inc’s Denim & Studs collection, launching next month. The indigo shade dries with a denim effect finish and I’m so intrigued to see how it looks and feels on the nail! The polish can be worn alone or decorated with mini silver and gold stud stars, included in the set - I like the idea of just one little gold stud on my pinkie.
RRP £19, Nails Inc Denim & Studs will be available exclusively at Harvey Nichols until June.
Do you like the idea of denim nails?
I said I’d be back with a Sheer Cover make-up look following yesterday’s review of the Introductory Kit. I used most products in the kit for this look, with the addition of Dainty Doll blush and a gorgeous Burberry Lip Mist. Here’s a run through and pics of the final look…
I applied Base Perfector Primer over my moisturiser while I gathered everything together… it only takes a couple of minutes to lose any slight tackiness and leaves skin feeling silky smooth with pores minimised.
I applied the Duo Concealer before foundation (no idea if this is the ‘right’ way) as I thought it would be easier to apply straight to skin before the powder… it seemed to work for me. I had to add a teeny bit more at the end to cover a broken capillary, but otherwise it was fine. The concealer has a very creamy texture and I literally need to touch the surface with the very tip of a brush to get enough product. It works even better if I warm it on my hand a little, esp if I need to blend the two colours. (oh lord sorry this was meant to be brief & I’m rambling again…)
I sprinkled a little Mineral Foundation in Latte into the lid, swirled my brush to disperse it evenly and tapped off the excess before applying in circular movements. This is a similar movement to how I apply liquid foundation (with Real Techniques Buffing Brush), so felt quite natural, although I buffed for a bit longer to really work it into my skin and avoid any harsh lines - as once this sets I find it tricky to re-work. It definitely works best in fine layers… it’s very buildable and more can be added to increase coverage where needed.
I usually leave my cheeks until the end to balance them with my eye make-up… so I did eyes next, using the Sable & White Peach duo from the Sophisticate Palette (love both duos but this is my fave). I swept the pale peachy gold over the whole lid and lined my eye with a damp application of the soft brown Sable shade, using a MAC angled liner brush, and blended with a MAC 217 for a slightly smoked out finish. I added more Sable in my socket line, then a mix of White Peach and the pale pink shade over my brow bone. Sheer Cover Extra Length Mascara adds loads of volume and I finished the eyes by lightly defining brows with my trusty Anastasia Beverley Hills Brow Wiz.
I’m loving the Dainty Doll Powder Blushers I picked up in Fragrance Direct’s offer (still some left I think). # 003, Money Talks is unlike anything I’ve used before… I expected it to look like nothing on my skin - it’s basically a cool beige shade that works brilliantly as contour on pale skins, but took a notion to apply it all over my cheeks and struggled to resist adding a touch of pink on the apples. I’m so glad I did as I really like how it turned out for a neutral toned, natural glow that adds colour in a quiet way.
I felt I needed a little touch of soft pink to warm my face a little and stop me looking too beige, so opted for my new favourite natural lip, Burberry Heather Pink Lip Mist - a moisturising wash of colour that’s as easy to apply as lip balm. This is my all time favourite kind of lipstick formula and I’m adoring this shade right now… you’ll see more of it in an upcoming post on my current favourite pinks.
natural light in daylight, with flash
I’m really pleased with how the products look on as I feel like they even out my skintone and provide medium coverage without looking overly heavy or made up. Plus these natural brown and pink tones are my favourite kind of make-up look. I love the eye make-up and will definitely be reaching for it a lot.
Today is your last chance to get the Sheer Cover Introductory Kit at £10 off, working out at £19.95 (I’ve been told it won’t be reduced again for quite some time). Mine is the Medium kit and although it’s fine, Light would be my preference… get it at sheercover.co.uk and my full review of the kit is here.
Ok more than enough chit-chat from me… what do you think?
Sunday, 17 March 2013
Much as I’ve always loved the idea of mineral make-up, I’ve been disappointed by those I’ve tried to date. I’m also not a huge fan of powder based make-up of any kind, so on both counts, no-one is more surprised than me at how impressed I am by Sheer Cover!
Already huge in the US, Sheer Cover arrived the UK last month and has already made it into the kits of leading make-up artists and the hearts of humble bloggers such as moi! The Introductory Kit is a brilliant way to try out a (very generous) selection of the products at a great price - and even better, it’s £10 off until tomorrow (18 March 2013)!
Prepare for pic overload… when products are so completely new it’s the best way I can convey how they look and perform. The kit arrives, in a pretty, ribbon tied chiffon bag encased in a sturdy box…. as far as I know, my kit contains the lightest foundation base shades… (edited to add my kit is MEDIUM; lighter shades are available) the concealer is definitely available individually in lighter tones that look suitable for porcelain skins. For reference, I’d describe my colouring as fair and my skin tends towards dryness - I can imagine these products performing even better on normal to oily or combination skins.
In the kit:
- 2 x loose powder mineral foundations in different shades (Latte + Buff), for use separately in different seasons or blended for a customised shade (my kit is Medium)
- 1 x duo concealer in Light-Medium with one peach + one yellow-based shade
- 1 x Base Perfector Primer
- 1 x Brown/Black Mascara
- 2 x Brushes - one foundation, one concealer
- 1 x Sophisticate Palette - Eyeshadow Duo: Sable & White Peach, Eyeshadow Duo: Charcoal & Mauve, Lipgloss Duo: Caramel Ice & Ballerina and 1 x blush in Coral Ice.
Here’s a closer look…
The primer glides onto moisturised skin leaving a smooth base for the foundation, which isn’t like anything I’ve tried before… at the risk of sounding like a crazy woman, it almost feels alive! I think this is because of how much it changes as it warms, buffs in and then settles on the skin. Only a small amount is needed and Sheer Cover advise buffing from the outer edges of cheeks to avoid too much powder in the centre of the face. I’m sure many of you are well used to this, but as a newbie it’s definitely been a learning process and works better each time I try it. I didn’t expect much from the brush and opted to use my own the first couple of times, but actually had best results when using the accompanying brush as its loosely packed head doesn’t pick up too much product or disperse it all in one spot - it just glides over the skin. It’s not the softest I’ve ever tried, but it seems to work.
I love all 4 eyeshadows in the Sophisticate Palette - both light shades have a slight sheen and the matte darker tones work really well for a smoky eye or as liner. The blush is a touch orange toned for my still-in-winter pallor and the gloss paler than I’d normally go for, but works over the shadow for a sheeny lid or on cheek or brow bones as a highlight. (Sorry that I haven’t swatched this palette - if you’d like me to, just leave a comment below and I will).
I just included this before shot to give you an idea of coverage and finish - note the large freckles and how well they cover. I haven’t used much product above the level of the biggest freckle.
These swatches were applied with a brush (my own) as it was difficult to control finger swatches. Latte is more pink toned - and best suited to my skin. Buff is yellow-based and I’ll probably use it more coming into the Summer. A tiny amount of Buff mixed with Latte works well too. I normally tend to go for light, slightly pink or neutral toned foundations.
This pic was taken in the same lighting as above, but note how the colour has adapted slightly to my skin tone and the texture softened a little as the product settles on my skin. Dare I say it has an almost airbrushed effect, yet doesn’t look too dry or flat… ‘Sheer Cover’? I don’t feel like I’m wearing make-up with this on my skin, yet besides needing a little extra concealer around my nose throughout the day (normal for me), its lasting power is just A-mazing! Basically it looks the same when I remove it as it did when applied. Maybe the primer helps with this - I’m not sure, but I’m impressed!
Another rave… great tones that work well to cancel out shadows and redness and blend together to create a great shade for me. Can be a touch drying around the eye if I over-apply, but conceals both shadows and blemishes well. Note how it covers the freckles… could have been better had I not been fumbling left handed - and a fluffy brush would work better than the one with the kit.
So there you go, I’m sold… and did I mention there is £10 off this kit until tomorrow? So if you want to think about it, don’t think too long - you could get your paws on all of the above for £19.95 here! (Some kits contain larger products and cost more). I was sent this kit in Medium and although it works for me, I think Light would be even better… the Light Kit contains foundation shades Nude & Bisque; the Duo Concealer and other products seem to be the same.
I was going to include pics of the products applied, but as I’ve ranted on for too long already, I’ll save that post for tomorrow! If you can’t wait I did Instagram a pic last week here, but the new ones are much better!
EDIT: my post with pics of the products applied is now up… here!
What do you think… and have any of you tried Sheer Cover yet?