Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Please Don’t Squeeze

If I had to choose my biggest skincare regret, it would be squeezing.  I don’t think I’ve been an over-squeezer, but I have definitely done some irreversible damage (or at least damage that I’d have to pay to get fixed!).  It all started in the school changing rooms as a gangly 15 year old.  I have NO idea what gave me the notion, but I squeezed the skin on my nose and was horrified and mesmerised in equal measure by the little white wriggly worms that emerged from my pores (sorry TMI).  ‘I’ve got to get this gunk out of my nose!’ I announced, gathering friends around to witness the drama!

Fast forward several months (& years)…. of course the gunk returned; those delicate pores ‘needed’ re-squeezed - and every time I squeezed them, they stretched a little. And the white gunk began to look a little, er… less white (I realise some people may be eating!).  Stretched pores can not be shrunken back down. Fact. The beauty market is flooded with products to reduce their appearance, which can only be achieved temporarily.  I now have to choose my make-up products carefully, so that they don’t make said pores look even more obvious - and they still bother me to this day.

I never had a huge problem with spots, but I did squeeze the ones I had. Goes without saying that this is a bad idea. Increased infection, bigger spots, scarring - you know it already.

Ditto, milia - those lingering little hard white bumps below the surface of skin - mini cysts filled with keratin (non dangerous), often triggered by using products with mineral oil or lanolin.  I gave myself broken capillaries below my eye trying to squeeze a particularly bad one of these - and that was while being uber careful - warming the skin first, using a sterilised needle, etc.  I now have to cover these mini red maps daily with a strong concealer.

In the last few years I’ve found that squeezing some barely-noticeable-without-a-magnifying-glass blocked pores has resulted in tiny pinpoint red dots under the skin (petechiae), from broken blood vessels.  My attempt to remove something so subliminal has resulted in permanent mini scars. Nice. Step away from the pores.

Do what you can to keep your skin clean and clear (I may do a separate post on this if you’re interested?) and please don’t squeeze.  I can pretty much guarantee that you are the only one who notices the ‘squeeze-ees’, especially if you need a magnifying mirror to see them in the first place… most of us are too busy thinking about our own flaws to notice yours!

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Monday, 29 July 2013

Holiday Beauty Planner

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Whether you’re glamping, hiking or island hopping this Summer, grab a pencil and take notes from this pre-holiday pampering planner!

Waxing: 3 days before is ideal to allow any redness or skin reactions time to settle, even if you've done it a million times before!
Spray Tanning: 1 day before departure leaves time for the tan to fully develop, which means maximum golden time in the sun! It's important to exfoliate prior to spray tanning to remove any dead skin and leave an extra smooth base.
Mani & Pedi: 1 to 2 days before (preferably once you’ve finished packing to avoid any pesky chips! Pack a top coat and apply every other day to keep nails looking fresh while you're away!
Hair: when you get home! Hairdressers at Rush Hair Covent Garden say the sun, wind and sand that you're likely to encounter on vacation can easily damage your hair and dye job.  If you can bear to wait, save your money and protect your do by hitting the salon as soon as you get home!
Which pre-holiday beauty rituals are your essentials?
 
 

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Sunday, 28 July 2013

Apivita Suncare Giveaway!

Apivita-Face Body-SPF30-Apivita-Face-SPF50 

I’ve teamed up with natural Greek skincare brand, Apivita to give away three sets of suncare to you lovely lot!  Each winner will receive Apivita Face & Body SPF 30 rrp £22.50  and Apivita Face Cream SPF 50+ rrp £23.50.


For me, these products have transformed sunscreen application from a necessary ritual to an absolute pleasure!  The Face & Body milk MSPF 30 feels and smells more like a luxurious body lotion, so much so that I’ve even applied it when not in the sun, just to get a whiff of that gorgeous ‘Greek sunshine’ scent!  To me it’s a gourmand scent, a bit like fresh vanilla, but I can’t put my finger on exactly what it reminds me of!


The SPF 50+ for Face is a completely different formula, super light and sinks in instantly leaving a matte finish and a great make-up base.  I don’t feel like I’m adding an extra layer of skincare with this - it just disappears into my skin. Love! 


APIVITA is available in the UK via M&S Beauty & the Suncare range is here (currently with 20% off!) 
Enter this giveaway via Rafflecopter below - good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Friday, 26 July 2013

Neal & Wolf, Art Deco & Pukka: Beauteco July

Beauteco-box-July-2013

If you only ever order one beauty box, this would be a pretty safe bet! Whopping 200ml luxury hair products x 2, an Art Deco eye shadow base (godsend in this weather), gel-like kajal eyeliner and a travel sized radiance serum by gorgeous skincare brand, Pukka.  All for a tenner… beauty bargains don’t get a whole lot better than this!

Beauteco 

Harmony Intensive Care Treatment has been giving my hair some tlc in the recent weather - just leave it in for 5-10 mins after shampooing, then rinse out.  Serious volume lovers will adore Elevate Volumising Lotion for serious allover hair oomph! This product alone retails at £11.95.  Here’s some more detail about the contents…

Beauteco-box-July-2013-contents  

Four full sized products and one generous sample.  What I love most about Beautecobox is that it always includes at least one WOW item - for me the hair products on this occasion.  Next time, a make-up brand I’ve been meaning to try for quite a while! 

There’s not a whole lot of July left, so if you have a spare tenner and fancy the sound of this, you still have a few days to snap it up at beautecobox.co.uk

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Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Beauty Haul: Space NK, Escentual & more…

Beauty-Haul-SpaceNK, Escentual-Laura-Mercier-Creme-Brulee-Candle

I said I’d share my recent beauty haul and here it is - not all done in one go but close enough!  Most of the products are from Space NK and Escentual.  As there are ten items I’ll just do a quick run through for now and if you’d like further info or a review on any specific products, just let me know!

1. La Roche Posay Rosaliac AR Intense - a localised treatment serum for rosaceous flare ups to reduce burning, itching and redness.  Several sufferers recommended this to me for my recent ‘affliction’ and quite honestly I think it’s a little miracle worker! link

2. Vichy Deodorant - sexy I know! But this is my second from this brand and it’s the best I’ve tried.  No itch, no stickiness, dries fast, no scent (that I’ve noticed). Just keeps me dry! link (mine is the 48h one for sensitive skin)

3. Sonya Kashuk Eyelash Applicator & Stand - because I need all the help I can get! Sadly now out of stock on Space NK website but you might find one in-store. 

4. Phyto 7 Day Cream - I’m addicted to this hair ‘soothing’ cream, which defrizzes, hydrates & adds shine with ZERO sticky weighed-down-ness! link

5. Lipstick Queen Lipstick in ‘Stoked’ - shame on me for not blogging about this beauty sooner.  A special edition Endless Summer lippy, this is pure gorgeous in your face coraliciousness.  Also comes in a stunning pink. Took all of my self control not to buy both! link

6. Laura Mercier Candle in Crème Brulee - literally smells of a French Patisserie - caramel, spun sugar & vanilla. Without even lighting it my room is full of the scent! I wanted one of these for soooo long and couldn’t resist snapping it up at this price! link  And I’ve just spotted that House of Fraser has a gorgeous little set of 4 mini candles inc this one in its sale! link

7.  Clarins Sun Wrinkle Control Cream for Face SPF 30 - been wearing this religiously on face, neck and décolleté throughout the recent heatwave and not even tinged with pink!  Smells good, great under make-up, almost finished - must stock up myself! link

8. Rouge Bunny Rouge Blusher in Delicata - recommended to me by fellow pale faced bloggers including Modesty Brown and London Makeup Girl.  A fine milled, nude beige-rose blush that works beautifully with a smoky eye or strong lip, or as a soft bronzer and contour. Gracilis, a delicate pink, is next on my list!  link

9.  Chantecaille Shine Eye Shadow in Pyrite - a delicate wash of gold with a lovely sheen, perfect for every day or built up into a smoky eye for evening. Love this! My other choices, Bois and Jasper are still available in Space NK’s sale. link

10. Dior Jelly Pen in Carioca - I fell in love with this in House of Fraser and when told it had sold out straightaway I had to track it down!  Couldn’t have been more thrilled to find it at Escentual, especially at a lower price!  It performs exactly like a really moisturising lipstick and is a beautiful coral orange with slight shimmer that softens on the lips and looks shiny instead! link

Swatches

 RougeBunnyRouge-Delicata-Blush-Laura-Mercier-Lipstick-Dior-Jelly-Pen-swatch

I thought I’d include a few swatches of the make-up shades, which aren’t terribly clear in the first pic. Left to right: Chantecaille eyeshadow, Rouge Bunny Rouge blush, Dior Jelly Pen and Laura Mercier lipstick. Both lipsticks look brighter and more coral in real life.

Chantecaille-Pyrite-Gold-Shine-Eyeshadow-swatch, RougeBunnyRouge-Delicata-Blush-swatch

The Chantecaille (9) and Rouge Bunny Rouge (8) again, as the colours are so soft it’s difficult to capture them in a swatch.

Oh and just a head’s up - Escentual has 20% off everything on the site for two more days only - until 26 July!  

Like my purchases?  Have you bought any nice beauty bits lately? 

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Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Nails Inc Beaded Polish: Hampstead & Covent Garden Swatches

 Nails-Inc-Beaded-Hampstead-Covent-Garden-coral-mint-new-Summer-2013 Nails-Inc-Beaded-Hampstead-Covent-Garden-coral-mintNails-Inc-Beaded-Hampstead-Covent-Garden  

My eyes lit up when I spotted the new Nails Inc Beaded Polish yesterday - the prettiness of a beaded effect in one bottle, minus the faff of fiddling about with ickle beads? Yes please!  I have swatches of my two favourites from the range: Hampstead and Covent Garden - two quite different formulas - here’s how I got on…

Nails-Inc-Beaded-Hampstead-coral-swatch-review-photo

Hampstead is frankly the most perfect shade of coral polish I’ve ever seen (I may have a mild obsession with corals - shhh). It’s bright and bold with lovely pink undertones: f anyone has spotted a plain polish in this colour, pleeeasse let me know!  The base of Hampstead is like a standard polish scattered with fine grains and glitters of various sizes, which blend together to create a textured effect.  It’s really pretty - not beads, but I’m guessing that anything bigger than these particles would be impossible to suspend in a liquid base?  This is one coat, no top coat - you could obviously build it up to add more texture if you wished, but I liked it like this and didn’t want to conceal too much of that gorgeous base shade.

Nails-Inc-Beaded-Covent-Garden-mint-swatch-review-photo

Covent Garden has a much more dense base - thick and paste-like (it reminds me of a clay exfoliator by Dove - review & pics here). The particles are like sugar crystals - similar to a mix of caster and granulated sugar (maybe it that’s what it is - who knows!). This is one coat. When I try to add two (I did try, 3 times) it looked too textured and messy for my liking.  I like this colour but did find it tricky to work with - I much prefer the texture and finish of Hampstead.   I’ve also seen swatches of a creamy nude shade (Buff) and black, which I think work much better, so perhaps it’s a pastel issue?

Nails-Inc-Beaded-Hampstead-Covent-Garden-swatches

I’ve tried to show the difference in density in these paper swatches; each lower swatch is one layer painted with the brush and the top ones are a ‘dollop’. 

The sun hadn’t quite broken through when I took these pics this morning, but the colours looked even prettier later and super sparkly in direct sunlight.  I also tried them with a top coat, which made them feel a little smoother but didn’t change the overall look dramatically.  It would have taken several layers of Seche Vite for a truly smooth finish for Covent Garden, but of course mine had glooped up and anyway, I don’t see the point in a textured polish if you’re going to conceal the texture!

I would definitely wear Hampstead as a full mani - it would also look pretty as an accent nail or dotted on a smooth base.

Do these float your boat?  Next on my wish list: the Nails Inc gel look polishes - call me traditional but I think I’m more of a glossy gal at heart!

The full Nails Inc Beaded Polish collection* (rrp £12 each) is due for release in August, but you can already get hold of Hampstead (coral) and Chancery (royal blue) - I’ve spotted them at Debenhams and (on offer) at Beauty Bay.  

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Monday, 22 July 2013

New: Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Protect SPF 30 - Review

Laura-Mercier-Foundation-Primer Protect-spf-30-2013 

I’m always up for a product that helps me skip a step in my beauty regime, which Laura Mercier has achieved with its  new Foundation Primer with built in SPF 30.  If you’ve been struggling to keep your make-up in place during the hot weather, this is your new friend, with the additional bonus of a substantial SPF 30.  I’ve been using this regularly for several weeks and (reluctantly) testing the same base products without it….

New-Laura-Mercier-Foundation-Primer Protect-spf-30-review

When I use this, my make-up glides on more smoothly (if I close my eyes I can pretend I have immaculately flawless skin, as that’s what it feels like) and 100% lasts longer.  I’ve spent hours in the sun wearing this under my usual foundation (YSL) and come home with my make-up looking exactly as it did when I applied it. 

If you’ve used the original formula, as I have done for years, you’ll know that this is how the product works.  The fact that it now has dual benefits is a bonus, an important one.  I’ve used it without any other sunscreen (for research purposes) and not burned, though obviously this isn’t something I’d recommend. If you’re spending time in direct, hot sun, I always suggest additional protection.  In fact I think the benefits will come into their own in Autumn and Winter, when let’s face it - we know we should, but the inspiration to use a separate SPF hovers around zero.

Laura-Mercier-Foundation-Primer Protect-spf30-review

The generously sized tube contains 50ml, shot here next to my i-phone to give you an idea of scale.  Oil-free and creamy in texture, it can be smoothed on over moisturiser or on bare skin, creating the perfect canvas for make-up.  I tend to let my moisturiser to sink in for a few mins, then add this and wait another minute before applying foundation.

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Protect costs £28 and is available exclusively at Space NK

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Saturday, 20 July 2013

The Deep Cleanse

Una-Brennan-VitaminC-Cleansing-Oil;BalanceMe-Cleansing-Balm;Antipodes-Aura-Manuka-Honey-Mask-Bioderma-H20-review

The more I learn about skincare, the more I realise the importance of thorough cleansing - a particularly important step in Summer when we’re using sunscreen, which is designed to stay put, not to mention getting a touch sweaty betty in this heatwave.  It’s time to roll out The Deep Cleanse.  For this I’ve been using a combination of Una Brennan Skin Renew Cleansing Oil, Balance Me Cleanse and Smooth Face Balm, Bioderma H20 (not a deep cleanser, but bear with me!) and Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask.

Super Facialist Vitamin C+ Brighten: Skin Renew Cleansing Oil

Una Brennan’s Super Facialist range can do no wrong in my eyes. Everything I’ve tried from it has exceeded my expectations and this is no exception. Part of a new Vitamin C+ range, Skin Renew Cleansing Oil is a pre-cleanse, designed to remove make-up and grime before you go in with your usual cleanser.  Amazingly priced at just £10.00 for 200ml at Boots, it smells so good I could happily use it 3 times a day.  (If this came with a pump, it would be perfect - I need to find something to dispense it into as I don’t want to waste a drop!)  I massage it in for 30 seconds, splash my face with water to emulsify, massage for 30 more seconds, then rinse off using a flannel.  It rinses off completely leaving no residue.  To be honest my face feels very clean after using this, but in the interest of The Deep Cleanse, I go in again with….

Balance Me Cleanse and Smooth Face Balm

I’m sure many of you are familiar with 100% natural origin brand, Balance Me; I’ve been loving getting to know it recently and will share more about the products I’ve tried soon.  I’ve been using this balm religiously for the past month and would go as far as to say that I think it cleanses my skin more deeply than any other I’ve tried.  I massage it onto dry skin, gently rubbing the (very fine - barely there) oats into my skin, then add warm water to emulsify it slightly and continue to massage in. It smells good and feels very gentle on my skin, removing even eye make-up and leaving my skin feeling scrupulously clean, yet not at all tight.  It’s also really well priced compared to many other balms - find it here. 

Bioderma H20

This cult beauty product needs no introduction and is my go-to micellar water. I’ve tried lots and still think this is the best… I never like to be without it and have been using this (now half empty) bottle since I picked it up in France at Easter.  Joy of joys it’s now available in the UK - at long last!  It’s not a deep cleanser and I don’t recommend using this as your sole cleanser, but it is fantastic at removing make-up before you go in with a balm.  I often use this to remove eye make-up remover as it’s genius at the job and saves getting my flannel streaked with black! If I’m tired or in a rush I’ll use this as my pre-cleanse before the Balance Me cleansing balm (or whichever cleanser I’m using). There is currently 20% off  Bioderma (& all products!) at Escentual.

Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask

I’ve been using this cleansing and soothing mask a couple of times a week lately and absolutely love it.  Even the name soothes me, not to mention the vanilla pod & mandarin scent.  Its key ingredient is antibacterial manuka honey, with intense hydrating, cleansing and antioxidising properties.  It’s also recommended for spots and blemishes; I must admit my skin almost breathes a sigh of relief when I apply this.  It’s supposed to be left on for 20 mins before rinsing off, but I may have been known to leave it on overnight!  I’ll definitely be back to try more from this brand - find the range here.

I’ve also added another couple of steps to my skincare routine, which I’ll blog about very soon.  Do you feel the need for extra cleansing in Summer?

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Friday, 19 July 2013

Marc Jacobs Make-up at Sephora

Marc Jacobs makeup

Marc Jacobs Beauty was always going to be delectable and has set my little heart aflutter!  The collection launches on Sephora 9 August, but they’ve put 5 items up for sale already!  If you’re close enough to benefit from this (or prepared to pay the hefty postage/ book a flight immediately) then I’m both excited and envious on your behalf!  Here are my favourites…

 

Marc-Jacobs-Beauty-Lip-Gloss-pink

Lust for Lacquer Lip Vinyl in Overprotected

 

Marc-Jacobs-Eyeshadow-palette-Tease

Style Eye-Con No7 Plush Shadow in The Tease

 

 

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Style Eye-Con No3 Plush Shadow in The Glam

 

The packaging, colours, product names - everything about it is pure glamour in my eyes. Want!

You can see what’s already available from the collection on Sephora here & get the lowdown on Grazia Daily.

You like?

 

 

images from Sephora

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Thursday, 18 July 2013

Miniature Holiday Beauty Products

Bliss-Lemon Sage-travel-set-PurMinerals-Glow-Mineral-Powder-Iluminator-mini-set-LabelM-mini-travel-hair-products

I’m a big fan of leaving the usual suspects at home and chucking a set of mini products in the bag for holidays and weekends away.  Besides the obvious advantage of lighter luggage (more room for shopping?) I love the way using certain products on holiday creates an instant fragrant footprint, forever associated with a specific set of hopefully happy memories.  Ever used a shampoo and been instantly transported back somewhere?  That.

Here’s a few ideas to get you going…

Bliss Lemon & Sage Sink Side

Bliss Lemon & Sage Sink Side is a set of six travel sized best sellers, imbued with the freshest summery scent ever!  The set contains:

  • Supershine Shampoo
  • Conditioning Rinse
  • Fabulous Foaming Face Wash
  • Soapy Suds Body Wash & Bubbling Bath
  • Body Butter
  • Soap

I love that not only do the products come in a resealable plastic case, but each item is properly sealed, so no worries about leakage en route!  And did I mention how good they smell? 

Bliss Sink Side, £20.50 at Bliss or John Lewis Bliss also has a great offer of a free Summer Scents Bath & Body Duo (worth £35.90) when you spend £40 or more here! Just use code SUMMER13 at checkout (valid until 26 July 2013).

 

PurMinerals Glow All Year

PurMinerals Glow All Year is a great way to try some of the brand’s products, even if you aren’t heading to exotic climes.  This set includes:

  • Mineral Glow Bronzer
  • Glam Stick Illuminator
  • Pout Pluming Lip Gloss (a light, translucent gold)

PurMinerals-Mineral-Glow-Bronzer-Glamstick-Iluminator-swatches

I’ve included a swatch to show you the bronzer in particular.  I didn’t expect this to work on me in a million years, but actually it’s great for most skin tones as it’s pure brown - no red or orange undertones.  I’ve been using the full size of this product most days lately, applied with my Real Techniques Duo Fibre brush (review here).  Glam Stick Illuminator is a lovely pale slightly rose gold - again, I’m a big fan of this and come across very few highlighters that I get on with.   The gloss (not pictured) I’m less fussed on, as I like a gloss to add colour rather than just shine - and gold lips aren’t really my thing.

Pur Minerals Glow All Year £15 at M&S

 

Label M Mini Airliner 

Label M Mini Airliner contains travel sizes of some of my favourites from this hair range (developed by Toni&Guy), which is impossible to go wrong with in my experience.  More generous than the usual travel sizes, these are 50-60ml each.  The kit is customisable to suit your hair’s needs - including 1 shampoo & 1 conditioner and a choice of any two ‘Create & Complete’ styling products.

In my kit…

  • Deep Cleansing Shampoo (removes excess oils & build up)
  • Moisturising Conditioner
  • Blow Out Spray (volume + heat/UV protection)
  • Shine Spray

Label M Mini Airliner: £12 at label.m concept salons worldwide, TONI&GUY and essensuals. You can also shop the range at CheapSmells (discounted) or LookFantastic (on 3 for 2)

 

My motto: be brave, leave the old faithfuls at home and have fun experimenting with miniature newness on holiday! (Sadly mine are over so I’m hoping you’ll do this on my behalf!)

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Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Dark Self Tan: He-Shi, Sun Believable & TanTastic Mousse

HeShi-Dark-Foam-Mousse-SunBelievable-Dark-Tantastic-Mousse-dark-self-tan 

In the third and final of my self tanning series, I bring you… The Darks (my favourite!).  My top three formulas for a just-back-from-holiday tan are He-Shi Dark Foaming Mousse, Sun Believable Tan Me Dark Mousse and TanTastic Mousse.

He-Shi Quick + Easy Dark Foaming Mousse  here - does exactly what it claims and  has become my go-to self tan  this Summer.  It applies as a tinted mousse (slightly orangey, but this washes off) and I can do my entire body in 5 mins tops.  The He-Shi mitt is a good one (don’t even think about tanning minus a mitt) and applying this is as easy as putting on body lotion. The colour is a deep golden brown. One coat is enough for me (win!), but darker skins might like to add a second layer.  It lasts at least a week on me and wears off nicely.  I genuinely can’t fault this formula - a winner in my eyes.

Here is applied…

 HeShi-Bronzing-Mousse-Dark-self-tan-applied-swatch

I’ve literally snapped my arm right now as I type up this post, three days after application.  I’m also wearing it in this Instagram pic though I think the image is a bit overexposed.

Sun Believable Tan Me Self Tanning Mousse here - is from nail king, Leighton Denny’s self tanning range.  I must admit I got a fright from the darkest tint I’ve ever seen, though I know of several people who love it and happily go out with it like that.  The tint is just a colour guide that rinses off, leaving an incredible, realistic looking deep colour. Anyone with a deep olive toned skin who struggles to find self tan that’s dark enough will adore this!  It also comes in medium and is available in 100 or 200ml bottles (I wish more brands would do this!)

Tan Tastic Self Tanning Mousse here - my sister tested this one for me. Her skin is quite a bit darker than mine and more olive in tone and she adored this. As much of a self tanning fanatic as me, she’s tried more than her fair share and found this super easy to apply with a lovely long lasting deep colour.  We had family visit from New Zealand this week and her legs were an identical shade to their natural tan - impressive!

So what do you think - could any of these be ‘the one’ for you?

Incase you missed them, here are my posts on self tans for light and medium skin.

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Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Laura Mercier Dark Spell Collection: Review & Swatches

Laura-Mercier-Dark-Spell-Collection-Fall-2013-review

Let’s sidestep Summer for a moment and take a look at Dark Spell, Laura Mercier’s mystical Fall 2013 Collection, featuring dark smoky eyes, nude lips and luminous skin.  Laura Mercier has been my go-to make-up brand for many years and this is quite a departure from her usual soft, wearable hues that never fail to disappoint.  I’m really trying to be open minded about my beauty choices at the moment, so take my hand and let’s step out of our comfort zone together!  As this post is a bit of a picture fest I’ll try to keep my words to a minimum…

Eyes

Laura-Mercier-Dark-Spirit-black-matte-eye-shadow-Dark-Spell Laura-Mercier-Magical-Mystical-baked-eye-shadow-Dark-Spirit-Dark-Spell

While it’s not something I’d have chosen myself, there’s something about the simplicity of Dark Spirit Satin Matte Eye Colour (£18.50) that I’m really drawn to.  It’s a highly pigmented eye shadow with a creamy texture and long-wearing formula, has good colour payoff and surprisingly little fallout.  It works really well along the lashline or as the base for a smoky eye, with Mystical Baked Eye Colour (£18.50) patted over the top for added sparkle.  I’ve been experimenting with these over a pale champagne gold Chantecaille shadow... I’m not brave enough to share yet, but I will at some point!

Don’t be too scared by the intensity of these - if I can, you can - believe me! Reassuringly they are dermatologist and Ophthalmologist tested; deemed suitable for sensitive skin types and safe for contact lens wearers.

Swatches

Laura-Mercier-Magical-Mystical-baked-eye-shadow-Dark-Spirit-swatches

Light and heavy swatches of Mystical, left and Dark Spirit, right. Above with flash and below in natural light.  I think you can see how velvety smooth Dark Spirit in particular is from these pics. It was actually difficult to do the light swatches and these really are packed with pigment.

Laura-Mercier-Magical-Mystical-baked-eye-shadow-Dark-Spirit-Dark-Spell-swatch-photos

 

Nails

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Dark Spell includes two Limited Edition nail lacquers (£12.50 each): Bewitched - a dark, blackened green with gold shimmer and Forbidden, a metallic champagne gold.  Bewitched is my favourite - can you tell?!  The quality of this is amazing; 100% opaque in a single coat.  I added a second to intensify the shimmer for these pics, but needn’t have.

 Laura-Mercier-Forbidden-Bewitched-Nail-Lacquer-Polish-swatches-Dark-Spell-picsIMG_2175   

 

And there’s more…

Ideally, I would pair the above with the following gems from the collection - to soften the look and provide a contrast with the smoky eye and dark nails.

F13_FI_Spellbound CSLC_Angelic EC_EC-2

Spellbound Illuminating powder (£31) is the star of this collection and would be perfect to highlight cheek and brow bones with a soft rose gold shimmer.  Angelic Lipstick (£20), a Crème Smooth lip colour, has been described as the perfect nude lip - subtle but not corpse like!  EC2 (£22.50) is a nude toned Eye Canvas, the ultimate base for a smoky eye (or any eye look).

Anything take your fancy?

Laura Mercier Dark Spell* is available now at Urban Retreat or Space NK

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Monday, 15 July 2013

Dior Nude & Nude Tan BB Swatches

Diorskin-Nude-BB-CremeDior Nude Tan BB Creme 

Following my recent musings on a Dior make-up base, I’m back with some swatches - and a new option in the mix!   I’ve already raved about the Diorskin Nude BB Crème, but if you’d like to add a little faux golden-ness into the equation, the Tan BB may be the one for you.  My face tends to be several shades of pale lighter than my body in Summer.  It just doesn’t tan and after many years of frustration I’m now happy to embrace the SPF and no longer force it.  On my way to a family day out yesterday, I discovered a little sample of the Dior Nude Tan BB Crème and decided to give it a go…. a small amount of coverage, a golden colour than makes my face and body look connected and a slight glow. Basically it leaves me looking like I’ve got a little sun on my face and evens out my complexion in a way that suggests I’m not wearing make-up (well it is basically a tinted moisturiser with SPF 15).  For me, this is all I really want from a daytime Summer base.

As I had samples of both BBs, I thought it might be helpful to share some pics and swatches…

BB vs Tan BB

Dior-Nude-BB-Cream-Nude-Tan-BB 

Swatches

Dior-Nude-Tan-BB-001-swatch-Dior-Nude-BB-002-swatch

This is the lighter of the two Tan BBs and middle shade of the regular BB.  Both are said to adjust to your skin tone once blended in and I do find this to be the case; as dramatically different as they look here, they both appear natural on my face, perhaps because the Tan version is slightly more sheer.  I do need to wear bronzer over the BB to add a little warmth, but as a bonus, think this shade would suit me all year around, whereas the Tan would only work in Summer.

Fully Blended

Dior-Nude-BB-Cream-swatches

See how minimal the difference in colour is when the products are blended out?  The difference is slightly more apparent in real life, but not dramatically so.

Anyone else have issues matching face to body in Summer?  I don’t mind my face looking slightly lighter, but do prefer my head to look like it belongs on my body!

Diorskin BBs are £30 each here.

 

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Sunday, 14 July 2013

Bourjois Summer: Colour Boost Lip Crayons & Glamour Max Mascaras

Bourjois-Volume-Glamour-Max-Holidays-Electric Blue-Purple-Mania-Mascara

Bourjois really bring it when it comes to creating quality, affordable versions of high end beauty trends and this time I think they’ve outdone the luxury market.  If you haven’t dipped into lip crayon territory yet, look no further: these are hands down the best I’ve tried. 

Made with a silk extract formula, these lip crayons glide onto the lips with a luxuriously fine layer of moisturising colour.  Available in four shades, they contain SPF 15 to protect lips from Summer sun and are extremely comfortable and hydrating to wear.  They’re also waterproof and last for a few hours on my lips, even when eating, which in itself nothing short of a miracle.  I have Fuchsia Libre and Orange Punch and have literally worn one or other daily ever since I received them (they also look great layered up or as a gradient lip).

Swatches

Bourjois-Volume-Glamour-Max-ElectricBlue-PurpleMania-Colour-Boost-FuchsiaLibre-OrangePunch-swatches

The Volume Glamour Max Holiday mascaras in Electric Blue and Purple Mania are a good budget alternative to this Summer’s coloured lash trend by Chanel, Dior, et al.  On my blonde lashes these look neon, especially the purple - I was actually mesmerised by the look but don’t think it’s really me.  I reckon they’d work better on dark lashes, on the tips or (dammit) someone younger.  They’re waterproof and the cute mini wand (with full size brush) take up little space - perfect festival fare!

Bourjois-Colour-Boost-Lip-Crayon-Fuchsia-Libre

This is Fuchsia Libre applied.  Reasons I’m besotted:

  • one layer gives so much colour
  • feel weightless on
  • zero stickiness
  • shiny rather than full on glossy
  • twist up, so no sharpening
  • wear off really nicely (& slowly!)
  • 3 of the 4 shades are perfect for me - fuchsia, coral-orange & red.

Bourjois Colour Boost Lip Crayons are £7.99 at Boots where they’re currently on 3 for 2. I’ll definitely be picking up Red Sunshine, a lovely cherry red!  Volume Glamour Max Holiday Mascara is £5.99, also on 3 for 2 at Boots.

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Saturday, 13 July 2013

Butter London Cheeky Chops & Cotton Buds

Butter-London-Cheeky-Chops-Cotton-Buds-yellow-white-nail-polish-dots

Meet Butter London Cheeky Chops and Cotton Buds…. I’m excited to blog about these because I think they’re beautiful and together make the perfect Summer mani!   Cheeky Chops is from the new Pop Art collection and my dream shade of yellow.  Soft and buttery banana yellow, it isn’t citrusy or sharp like most.  It’s a little softer than it looks on my nails - the bottle colour is how it actually looks applied in real life.  Cotton Buds is from the Colour Clash collection and works as a base to make the brights pop or in nail art - I’ve used it as both in these pics. 

Butter-London-Cotton-Buds-swatch-white-nail-polish-Colour-Clash

I was impressed at the opacity of Cotton Buds - this is two coats, but it was almost opaque in one.  I’ve never used a white polish before and am looking forward to creating more looks with this!

Butter-London-Cheeky-Chops-and-Cotton-Buds   Bourjois double ended dotting tool

I painted over the white with Cheeky Chops, leaving two nails as a base for some nail art. I did these using Bourjois’ new double-ended dotting tool, which makes it really easy to do large and small dots.  The easiest way to do this is to pour a drop of polish onto a page but for speed I just lifted it straight from the brush.  The colour of Cheeky Chops looks the most true to life in this particular pic (above), though it pops and is more sunny in real life.

Butter-London-Cheeky-Chops-swatch-photo-yellow-nails Butter-London-Cotton-Buds Butter-London-Pop-Art-Colour-Clash-collections

I hope you like the final effect?  I had fun doing it and am so looking forward to trying more colours from these collections! 

Butter London Cheeky Chops is £10 here (inc P&P).  Cotton Buds doesn’t seem to be available in the UK just yet but you can get it at ButterLondon.com 

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