Friday, 30 January 2015

Seven Seas Perfect7: an update

SevenSeas-Perfect7-vitamins-size

As someone who regularly trials skincare products and examines the results under a mega magnifying mirror (scary things), I’m very conscious that my skin reflects what’s happening on the inside, no matter which products I apply. I’m talking what I put into my mouth via my diet, how I feel in terms of hormones and emotions, how much sleep I get - the lot. I do believe that supplements can help and Perfect7 Woman is designed to ensure that we get all the nutrients we need to help maintain normal skin and nails. I find this particularly useful in Winter when I’m prone to reaching for comfort foods, with less salads, brightly coloured veg and juices than in Summer.

You may remember that I started taking Seven Seas Perfect7 in December and said I’d get back to you on the effects. It contains a blend of marine oils, rich in Omega-3, with key vitamins and minerals; the marine oils help maintain normal heart and brain function, while vitamins and minerals help reduce tiredness and fatigue.

At 8 weeks in, I’m happy to say that I have noticed positive results - and I do think that it takes a few weeks of build up with any supplement to see a marked difference - so don’t expect miracles overnight. For me, the biggest difference is in my nails and eyelashes… my nails in particular tend to really suffer in Winter, becoming more brittle and dehydrated with dry cuticles. They now feel as strong as they would if I’d be using a specific nail treatment, my cuticles are quite presentable and I have to get the nail file out twice as often as usual, so they’re definitely growing faster. As for my lashes, they are genuinely as long as if I’d used a lash treatment serum - and we all know my lashes are kinda pathetic - so this is a significant bonus for me… I now look like I have normal lashes!

In terms of my skin, it’s difficult to make a call because of the skincare I’ve been testing alongside taking these, but a particularly nasty patch of dry itchy skin on my arm has all but disappeared. I’m sure the fish oils have benefitted my hair too, but without getting all scientific, it’s difficult to measure these things accurately.

For me, a big bonus of this supplement is the price. At £9.99 per month, it’s definitely a cost I can afford to maintain and judging by the benefits so far, I fully intend to. Each pack includes 30 fish oil capsules and 30 multivitamins, so you take one of each per day.

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Find out more about Seven Seas Perfect7 Woman (& Man!) at www.perfect7.co.uk  (ps currently on 3 for 2 at Boots)

 

*Sponsored by Seven Seas

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Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Bobbi Brown Brightening Bricks Spring 2015

BobbiBrown-BrighteningBricks-review

Bobbi Brown Brightening Bricks combine the effect of bronzer, blusher and highlighter in one compact, to brighten the complexion with a skin flattering glow. I’d describe the finish as mid way between their Shimmer Bricks and Brightening Powder, veering closest to the latter.  I have four of the six shades to show you and think these will be a big hit for Spring skin or as a little boost in the dreary in between months.  The powders feel smooth and finely milled, with subtle payoff… designed to be worn as a soft blush (my preference) or all over the face as a luminous veil. They do have a touch more shimmer than the likes of Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders - and of course an added flush of colour - so I like to place them carefully on my skin rather than use all over, focusing mostly on cheeks and temples. Infused with Mulberry and Grape, they illuminate while absorbing excess oil, without drying or settling into lines.

BobbiBrownBrighteningBrick-Pastel-Pink

Pastel Pink has been my most used out of the four, giving cheeks a lovely pale rosy sheen that pale faces will love. This is the only shade I would consider using all over my face (at this time of year when I’m at my palest) and while I do like the glowy effect of that, I prefer restricting it to cheeks. In each of the compacts, one square is more shimmery than all the others, but I find that holding my thumb over that one shade while swirling a brush around the others reduces any overkill. I then go in with a little shimmer on a small brush as highlight on upper cheekbones and browbones, which works really well. I’ve also found that the more I use the compact, the less shimmer there is, so I do think there’s some degree of overspray involved.

BobbiBrownBrighteningBrick-Coral

Coral is my second favourite and absolutely beautiful… I’ve been adding a pop of this in the centre of cheeks when I’m looking extra pale and will use this a lot more come Summer… it’s just pure prettiness in six little squares.

BobbiBrownBrighteningBrick-Pastel-Peach 

Pastel Peach is the palest of them all… I tend to suit cooler pink tones, so prefer Pastel Pink on me, but this is very pretty and the most shimmery of the bunch, so a good option if you’re after more of the highlighting element.  

BobbiBrownBrighteningBrick-Cranberry

Cranberry is a stunner - I just love the tones in this - it will work well on medium to dark skintones for an overall brightening effect.

Bobbi--BrownBrightening-Brick-swatches-Coral-Pastel-Peach-Pink-Cranberry

These swatches are heavy to give you an idea of the colour… this is about 3 layers of finger swatch swirled around all 6 shades in each pan; applied with a brush the colours are very subtle on the skin and nowhere near as intense as this. A light sweep with a loose bristled brush will add a glow with a sheer hint of colour, or you can add a little more intensity to cheeks with a smaller blush brush. Even as a blush, the effect is still quite subtle on me, particularly with the two pastel shades… I can add a pop of colour with Coral and Cranberry, but this may be less obvious on deeper skin tones.  They really do add warmth and glow rather than a traditional blush or bronzer, so depending on your skintone, you may wish to add a pop of additional colour with your regular shades.

BobbiBrown-Brightening-Bricks-swatches-PastelPeach-PastelPink-Coral-Cranberry BobbiBrown-Brightening-Bricks-swatches-PastelPeach-PastelPink-Coral-Cranberry-review

I’ve added swatches using a brush to give a better idea of how these actually appear on the skin. I used a stippling brush and really worked the product into my skin with the two pastel shades to get them to show up this much. Coral and Cranberry were done using a ‘pinched’ blush brush for more depth of colour. Note the tiny specks of glitter in the Pastel Peach shade in particular. Hopefully this gives you an idea of how these really can be used for both an allover wash or more intensely on the cheeks, a truly versatile product. (This is my third edit and I’m going to stop now… I know how frustrating it is to buy a product and find it turns out differently than expected - big part of my motivation for blogging - which Is why I’m passionate about giving as accurate a representation as possible!)

I’m wearing Pastel Pink in this pic and in the past week, friends have asked what product I’m using to make my cheeks look “soft and glowy”… that’s good enough for me!

EDIT: I’ve been asked how these compare to Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blusher and would say they are midway between the Ambient Lighting powders and blushes; veering slightly closer to the powders (review). NB the Hourglass blushers vary in intensity as each one is different; I own Radiant Magenta (review) which is so pigmented on me I barely touch my skin with it. These are very different - and more like what I was expecting from the Hourglass blushes. Subtle, skin-softening with a touch more shimmer and sprinkling of fine glitter (only visible under strong light) which seems to decrease with use.

Bobbi Brown Brightening Bricks are available here

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Tuesday, 27 January 2015

The Beauty Buzz #2

For years before I started beauty blogging I’d get so excited about new season beauty releases and would stalk the corridors of Boots, Debenhams, House of Fraser and Space NK coo-ing and swooning over the counters. I haven’t lost that (obvs, or I wouldn’t be doing this) and still get that buzz, though sometimes the onslaught of new beauty releases can be quite overwhelming. I’ve combed through the best of the rest to share with you… beauty highlights, offers and steals!

NEW FOUNDATIONS
  NARS_AllDayLuminousWeightlessFoundation   Lancome-Miracle-Cushion   Clinique-Beyond-Perfecting-foundation-concealer
Forever in search of my holy grail base, new foundation releases catch my attention more than any other and we have three hitting counters any day now from NARS, Lancome and Clinique…

NARS All Day Weightless Luminous Foundation: full, longwear coverage in one drop - I was very excited about this release although from the reviews I’ve read, it sounds like it’s best suited to oily / combination skins and based on reviews, I think the finish is too ‘made up’ looking for my personal taste.  You can see the lovely Simone Scribes applying it on her YouTube  channel here.

Lancome Miracle Cushion: for a sheer, skin-like finish - the liquid cushion compact is a South Korean beauty trend, which you press with fingertips to release product. Coverage is described as sheer and hydrating and I think this sounds like a good option for Summer skin. Miracle Cushion is available in six shades and launches in February, priced £29.50.

Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation and Concealer: full coverage with a lightweight formula that can be blended over the face or applied more concentrated as concealer. Suitable for dry combination to combination oily, there’s a chance I might be able to get away with this one. Available February, it comes in 21 shades and costs £25.

 
JO MALONE JUST BECAUSE

JoMaloneJustBecause JustBecause  JoMalonePomegranateNoirCologne 
Sometimes the most genius ideas begin as a simple concept, which is exactly what this is. Jo Malone London has launched a campaign that’s all about gift giving ‘just because’ - and everyone knows that ‘just because’ is the best reason to receive a gift, right? The service, which includes pretty personalised messages and packages wrapped up with Just Because ribbon, is available now at jomalone.co.uk  PS I can vouch for the fact that the Pomegranate Noir bath oil pretty much made my weekend! My other favourites include Blackberry & Bay, Wood Sage & Sea Salt and Peony & Blush Suede… I own the first two (thanks Santa!) and the latter is on my wish list.


LIMITED EDITION ELASTICIZER
PhilipKingsleyElasticizer-GeraniumNeroli

Philip Kingsley has revealed a limited edition Fragranced Elasticizer, available in February for one month, exclusively on QVC. The scent of neroli, geranium, lavender, rose and orange oils was inspired by trips to Italy, all wrapped up in a floral pump bottle. Elasticizer has been my go-to hair mask or years - it strengthens, softens, detangles and can be used as an overnight treatment. Despite the £58 price tag for this mega 1 litre bottle, this is such a cult product I can imagine it selling out fast. If you fancy testing out a smaller size there are lots of options at feelunique.com, where I first discovered it in one of their Try Me Kits (from £5).


FENWICK HERE I AM
FenwickHereIAm-gwp
 
Receive a £250 ‘Here I Am’ beauty bag when you spend £200 at Fenwick of Bond Street’s Beauty Hall. Featuring luxury brands including Eve Lom, Suqqu, Laura Mercier and Chantecaille, this is one for Londoners as it’s only available in-store.

 
GET THE GLOSS WITH LATEST IN BEAUTY
latest-in-beauty-box-GetTheGloss
Get the Gloss has put together a Beauty Insider’s Kit for Latest in Beauty, featuring lots of gorgeous brands such as Essie, Eyeko, GLAMGLOW, Laura Mercier, Balance Me, James Read and Daniel Sandler. I reckon even non-fans of Beauty Boxes will love this one… valued at  £116, you can get your hands on it now for £19.95 + p&p here: Get the Gloss

 
BEAUTY STEALS
  • £10 off a £60 spend at cultbeauty.co.uk (easy done!) from 12 noon 29 Jan - midnight 2 Feb, with code PAYDAY10… see the website for bigger discount codes if you’re feeling extra spendy!
  • 25% off selected brands including Klorane and Avene in a flash sale at escentual.com
  • 40% off sale & non-sale products online and in-store using code 14671 at thebodyshop.co.uk

Anything calling your name?
 

















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Friday, 23 January 2015

Barry M Chisel Cheeks Contour Kit

BarryM-ChiselCheeks-contour-palette-kit-drugstoreBarryM-ChiselCheeks-how-to-contour

Barry M Chisel Cheeks Contour Kit is a great place to start if you fancy trying your hand at contouring without spending big bucks on high end palettes like Anastasia Beverley Hills Pro Series or Laura Mercier Contouring Palette. It includes three matte powder shades to bronze, contour and highlight with a simple to follow guidelines to explain how it all works. All three shades are well pigmented, soft and blendable.

BarryM-ChiselCheeks-swatches

The light shade is a matte cream that adds light without shimmer, unlike most contour kits which do include a sheen at least (Barry M has shimmer and glitter covered elsewhere if that’s what you’re after).  This can also be used to dust all over the face like a standard powder if you wish, though personally I think it’s best use is to blend out the edges of the darker shades, or use all over them to tone down the colour if you’ve gone overboard (who, me?).

The middle shade is a warm medium bronze, neutral enough to suit many skin tones and could be used as a blush replacement for a subtle make-up look.

The cool toned dark shade is my favourite of the three, the perfect contour shade that actually creates the effect of natural shadows on the cheeks. Kevin Aucoin and Chanel have created great cooltoned contour products in similar tone, with even more shadowy grey undertone, but the price and performance of this make it a great alternative.

BarryM-ChiselCheeks-swatches-

My favourite contouring combo is the darkest shade of Barry M Chisel Cheeks as contour with Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Highlight where the light catches naturally, on tops of cheek bones and brow bones. You can read more about Clinique’s contour kit in yesterday’s post.

While I think it’s great that these new kits make contouring more accessible to everyone, my only concern is that people will overdo it and end up looking ridiculous. At least with Barry M’s version, you won’t break the bank in the process! If you can’t wait until launch date to get chiselling, have a go with a cool greyish brown eye shadow like MAC Omega.

Barry M Chisel Cheeks, £6.49 launches into Boots on 4 February and Superdrug 11 February 2015.

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Thursday, 22 January 2015

Clinique Contour: Chubby Sticks & Cheek Palette

Clinique-Contour-ChubbySticks-Cheek-palette

Struggle to get your head around contouring? Clinique has demystified make-up artist secrets with an upcoming collection featuring two Sculpting Chubby Sticks to contour and highlight and four Sculptionary Cheek Contouring Palettes.

SCULPTIONARY CHEEK CONTOURING PALETTES

Clinique-Defining-Roses-Cheek-Contouring-PaletteClinique-Defining-Roses-swatches

I’ve been testing out the powder contour in Defining Roses, a trio of soft plum and berry toned pinks with a shell pink highlight. The colours can be used separately with small brushes to sculpt the face, though I like them best swirled together and applied like a regular blush, adding subtle highlight with the palest shade. Above, I’ve swatched the 3 colours both individually and blended - in a surprisingly flattering shade that I probably wouldn’t have picked up myself but like a lot.

 

CHUBBY STICK SCULPTING CONTOUR & HIGHLIGHT

Clinique-Curvy-Contour,Hefty-Highlight-swatches.Sculpting-Highlight Contour-pic

As you can see, the tone of Curvy Contour is too warm for my skin, though I’m all over Hefty Highlight… I’ve shown both of these swatched heavily (pretty scary huh) and blended out. Hefty Highlight is a cool toned silvery peach, the kind of shade I find works best on my pale skin. It has a gentle shimmer with no glitter particles and can be sheered out as much as you like for a really subtle effect… just add a single swipe across tops of cheekbones and brow bones and tap to blend. If I’m feeling extra daring I’ll add a little down the centre of the bridge of my nose and on my cupid’s bow - for this I just take a little on my finger tip rather than applying straight from the bullet.

Even if you’re not into highlight per se, a creamy highlight like this is great for awakening the face - just by adding a little brightness. Great for days when make-up looks a bit flat or over powdered, or on tired eyes.

Contouring is something I prefer to keep very subtle. My face is quite long and angular already and emphasising that doesn’t do me any favours, so just a little shadow under cheekbones and a touch of highlight is my thing.

My top tips:

  • If you have lines around your eyes, keep highlighter below this area to avoid errr… highlighting them!
  • Don’t highlight cheeks or any area with large pores or blemishes; you may as well shine a spotlight on them.
  • Blend thoroughly… no-one should see where the highlight starts and ends.
  • Less is more - keep it subtle.

Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Contour & Highlight, £19 & Sculptionary Cheek Contouring Palettes, £28 are available on Clinique counters from 6 February 2015.

Do any of these appeal to you? Next time, I have a budget contouring option for you - and I’m impressed!

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Tuesday, 20 January 2015

How to tidy up a mani: Nails Inc SOS

Nails-Inc-Express-Nail-Polish-Remover,SOS-Nail-Pen

Not many of us get our mani perfect first time, every time - for me, my right hand is always the issue - the line around my cuticle is never as slick as I’d like it to be! Thankfully there are easy ways to fix these and two staples that I use regularly for tidy ups are a finger dip remover sponge and a clean up pen. Nails Inc have just released new versions of both, which are great… Express Nail Polish Remover Pot and SOS Nail Pen mean messy tips are a thing of the past. 

How-to-tidy-up-a-mani

This is my set up pre-manicure (nails already filed, cuticles pushed back etc - separate post coming on my full routine). I started off by making sure my nail beds were oil and dust free with a coat of No7 Nail Cleanse & Prime, which also helps dehydrate the nail. Awful as that sounds, it’s actually a good thing as it helps polish adhere better, whereas moisture will encourage it to lift and peel off.  Since discovering ORLY Bonder, I very rarely stray - it really does help bond polish to the nails. I chose a dark shade of polish to really put these products through their paces, a current favourite, Bobbi Brown Bordeaux.

Nails-Inc-Express-Nail-Polish-Remover-pot-sponge

Express Nail Polish Remover is similar product to Bourjois 1 Second Remover, which now has quite a few competitors. Essentially a sponge in a pot, soaked with remover. You dip one finger in at a time, twist and remove - and tada, polish free. The main difference I noticed with Nails Inc’s version is that the sponge feels more dense and compact around my finger, meaning it grips better and removes polish very easily.  This is perfect for a nail that has gone wrong and looks patchy or uneven. Painting over an uneven surface leads to a thick layer of polish which usually isn’t pretty and is more prone to peeling. Much better to remove and start again. These little pots are great as you can clean up one nail without damaging the rest of your mani (just me that ends up smudging another nail with the remover soaked cotton pad?).

NailsInc-SOS-Nail-Pen NailsInc-SOS-Nail-Pen-review

The SOS Nail Pen looks like a felt tip, soaked in remover and comes with several fresh replacement nibs. Clever design means the lid doubles up as a cuticle pusher and mini nail file, which you can see more clearly in the top pic. Enriched with Jojoba Oil, it is acetone free. Using this to tidy a deep polish shade will mean the nib gets mucky pretty quickly, so wipe off any excess on paper or tissue before moving on to another nail and each nib should last quite a few times.

Bobbi-Brown-Bordeaux-with-flashNailsIncSOS-Nail-tidy-pen

Left, before - you can see brush strokes next to my cuticle. Right, after - the polish edge is smoother and cleaner (still not perfect, but better!) This isn’t a brilliant example as 1. my mani wasn’t too bad on this occasion and 2. I was tidying up my right hand with an unsteady left hand, so even the clean-up wasn’t 100% perfect, but I wanted to give you an idea of how the SOS Nail Pen works. I had one by Ruby & Millie years ago and have never found a decent replacement, so am delighted to discover this one. I will say that it’s best saved for minor fixes, such as tidying the cuticle line or removing any flecks of polish on the skin next to the nail tip. If you’ve got polish all over your skin, I’d pop the nail in the Express Nail Polish Remover pot and start afresh, otherwise you’ll run out of fresh nibs in a couple of manis!

I hope this helps any fellow wannabe mani perfectionists or other bloggers who post nail polish swatches… it’s pretty unnerving the things you start noticing about yourself when you start blogging - close up pics can be very daunting!

You can buy the Nails Inc SOS Pen on its own here or as part of a duo with the Vitamin E oil here. The Express Nail Polish Remover Pot is available here, where you can currently receive 20% off any two Nails Inc products. I’m a big fan of their nail polish sets, some of which are on offer!

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Friday, 16 January 2015

Bobbi Brown Illuminating Nudes

Bobbi-Brown-Illuminating-Nudes-Collection-2015

My New Year was brightened with the arrival of Bobbi Brown Illuminating Nudes, a collection described by Bobbi herself as ‘subtle, light-reflective nudes that instantly give you a lift and a healthy, natural glow.’ I’ll have some of that!

The collection features five ‘effortless’ products, four of which I have to share: moisture balm, eye shadow, brow gel and lip gloss, plus two new shades of CC Cream.

Bobbi-Brown-Golden-Peach-Sparkle-Eye-Shadow 

Sparkle Eye Shadow in New Golden Peach was the one that really grabbed my attention. It looks bronze in the pan, but transfers to lids as a beautiful warm peach with intense gold shimmer that really makes blue eyes pop. The texture is a creamy powder with great colour pay off… swipe it all over the lid or add a pop of highlight to a neutral or smokey eye. Lasting power is good on me (I’ve been wearing it over NARS eye primer) with a few specks of glitter on cheekbones by the end of the day but the lid look remaining intact. I get the most impact with finger application, though you can get a finer, more subtle finish with a flat brush.

BobbiBrown-Illuminating-Nudes-swatches          

This is a single swipe of the eye shadow swatched on my arm, next to Lip Gloss in Almost Peach, a milky nude that tones down the pigmentation of lips with a semi sheer finish. Two new shades have been released in the Natural Brow Shaper & Hair Touch Up: Slate and Brunette. I think Slate (or possibly Blonde) would be my shade of choice, though I was surprised to find that I could totally get away with this shade for a slightly bolder brow look that still looks quite natural. Application with this is a total breeze and the spacing of bristles on the teeny applicator wand mimics the effect of fine brow hairs, as I’ve attempted to demo in my swatch. By far the quickest brow fixer I’ve tried to date, this applies as smoothly and easily as my usual Eyeko Brow Gel, with a more pigmented punch that requires no additional filling in.

Extra_Illuminating_Moisture_Balm_SS15_CMYK

I’ve had a little tester pot of Illuminating Moisture Balm to play with and if you love a luminous base then this is a serious game changer. Bobbi Brown calls this her ‘Dream Cream’ for a lit-from-within-look and I can totally see why. Radiance in a bottle right there, best for normal to dry skin. This can also be used over your regular moisturiser for highlight only where needed (yes, it’s that luminous). Think pretty and glowy rather than sweaty betty. Hooked.

The collection is available now at johnlewis.com

Which products do you rely on for a brightening glow?

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Thursday, 15 January 2015

Clarins Garden Escape: Spring Lips

Clarins-New-Instant-Light-Lip-Balm-Perfector-Spring-2015

Looking out my window right now all I can see is sheet rain and trees being blown almost horizontal. Hard to believe it was so bright and sunny this morning when I took these pics, but let’s pretend that the central heating is sun with actual warmth and take a moment to daydream about brighter, balmier days ahead. Nothing puts a spring in my step like a Spring collection and Clarins Garden Escape Collection is packed choc full of pretty. While the floral eye shadow palette and Blush Prodige look divine, the new lip line-up is my favourite, including Instant Light Lip Balm Perfector, Joli Rouge Brilliant and Limited Edition Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil.

 

INSTANT LIGHT LIP BALM PERFECTOR

Clarins-Instant-Light-Lip-Balm-Perfector-swatches-orange-rosewood-mypink Clarins-Rosewood-Instant-Light-Lip-Balm-Perfector-swatches-swatch

I’ve been wearing these daily over the past week and if your lips are as dry as mine right now, you don’t wanna wait until Spring to get your hands on them… luckily they’re available now! If you like Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector (In the squeezy tube), you’ll love these. They aren’t poles apart… I’d describe  the new Instant Light Lip Balm Perfector as a slightly more sophisticated grown up sister. The  balm levels are higher here and the texture and sheen finer. Mango, Shea, Vitamin E and Hyaluronic Acid create a very nourishing formula and they feel just as good as they look.

Available in 6 shades, I was sent 3 to share with you and the middle one, Rosewood, is my favourite, a pinky beige nude that’s perfect for everyday wear - see  the middle swatch above and on my lips. Orange will add a lovely pop of colour for Spring and My Pink is completely unique, literally, adapting to your own lip colour via pigments which react with the pH level of your lips. Although it looks like nothing on my arm, it’s a lovely raspberry tone on my lips, a couple of shades darker than my natural colour and less sheeny than the others, but with the same balmy feeling.

Rosewood and My Pink are the kind of colours that can be applied blind, ie keep in your pocket/bag and swipe on without a mirror - my ideal formula for everyday wear.

Clarins Instant Light Lip Balm Perfector, £15.80 (usually £18)

 

JOLI ROUGE BRILLIANT

Clarins-Joli-Rouge-Brilliant-Lipstick-Coral-Dahlia-22  Clarins-Jolie-Rouge-Brilliant-Coral-Dahlia-swatch-swatches-sheer-lipstick

Much as I love a bold matte lip, sheer colour is where my heart lies. Stepping up a few levels on the colour factor Joli Rouge Brilliant combines the highly pigmented colour of a lipstick with a similar balmy feeling to the Instant Light Lip Balm Perfector.  Essentially, these are very moisturising lipsticks that pack a good punch of colour. The two new shades are Coral Dahlia, a red-toned coral (above) and Rose Petal, a mid rose pink. The moisturising element and lovely sheen means that lasting power isn’t amazing, but having worn this kind of formula for years, I can live with that. Perfect for daytime wear, I’d opt for a more densely pigmented or matte formula for evening lasting power.

Joli Rouge Brilliant, £16.70

 

INSTANT LIGHT LIP COMFORT OIL

Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil 02 Raspberry LE Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil 01 Honey LE

While I haven’t personally tried these, I wanted to share as these were the first specific lip oils I’ve come across. Clarins are renowned for their fabulous oils, rich in plant actives, and these contain hazelnut oil, mirabelle and organic jojoba oils. The shade names, inspired by their colour, are Raspberry (online only) and Honey. I’ve been told that they don’t add a noticeable colour to the lips, but Raspberry does look particularly pretty. I do use oils on my skin and am not sure that a separate one is needed for lips, but am drawn to these as they are so unique - and of course good for topping up on the go - don’t know about you but I wouldn’t whip out a bottle of face oil on the train. Clearly many others share my enthusiasm as it’s out of stock already, with more stock expected in a few days.

Instant Light Comfort Oil, £18 (back in stock soon!)

Any of these calling your name? And which do you prefer: a balmy wash of colour or matte lips?

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Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Evening Skincare Routine

Skinesis-Ultimate-Cleanse,MerumayaOvernightRecharge,AntoniaBurrellRadiantLightSerum,AurgiaFlavioCSerum

Forgive me as I should have shared this with you pre-Christmas - I got caught up in a glitter and tinsel tangle - what can I say? There have been a few tweaks to my routine since then as some of these products ran out and I started testing others - my thoughts on them remain the same and will hopefully be helpful to some of you.

First up, this is my routine post make-up removal, which I normally do using a cleansing oil - favourites include Bobbi Brown, DHC Pore Cleansing and Una Brennan Superfacialist. (Gonna pick up The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Oil to try next as I’ve been meaning to for ages). If you’ve never tried a cleansing oil, I can’t recommend them enough as the quickest, easiest way to break down make-up and get rid of it fast.

Make-up out of the way, I go in with a cleanser that can now access my pores and deep cleanse my skin. You may have seen me rave about Skinesis Ultimate Cleanse in my Top 14 of 2014… deeply luxurious, this slightly oily balm feels heavenly massaged into my skin and leaves it feeling pampered and completely clean (minus the squeak, not a fan of squeaky skin). It’s not the cheapest, but it’s the best cleanser I’ve tried to date and if budget allowed, I’d choose it every time. I bought it during a QVC offer, so worth keeping an eye on there. The closest I’ve found on a similar level is REN Rosa Centifolia Cleansing Balm, also beautiful and less spendy.

EletheaEyeArchitecture,AntoniaBurerellRadiantLightFacialOilSerum, 

After cleansing I go in with an eye cream, in this case one of the priciest I’ve been sent to trial, Elethea Eye Architecture Cream. I love this brand’s ethos and pretty packaging and the cream helped keep my eye area well hydrated. It’s packed with an impressive ingredient list including peptides, tamarind seed extract, rosehip oil and omegas, so was it worth 3 times what I’d normally pay? I had a couple of niggles… that it pumps out more product than needed and takes a long time to sink into my skin. Not massive issues and didn’t interfere with product performance, but worth noting. In all honesty, I think there are equally good eye creams out there for less cash.

Now for a product that’s worth every penny... oh Antonia you can do no wrong. In fact I’m going to do a separate feature on Antonia Burrell’s line up as this brand is one of my best discoveries and I want to share the love. Radiant Light Facial Oil Serum can be used as a final step in your routine, or below moisturiser if you feel it’s needed. The texture leans more towards oil than serum and a drop or two does the job.  It’s quite a bright yellow, which I feel shows up on my pale skin, hence restricting it to evening use (I’m guessing this is due to carrot seed extract/ oil - of course the colour disappears when absorbed into skin!). Made with 18 pure plant extracts, frankincense and rosewood, this gives my dull winter skin back its glow and leaves it looking revitalised and healthy, as if it’s had a vitamin fix!

Speaking of vitamins, a couple of nights a week I’d swap this for Flavo-C Serum, another radiance-inducing product with an extremely rare stable vitamin C formula that stays active for 10 hours. 30% ginkgo biloba adds a powerful antioxidant punch (and herbal scent). This does leave my skin slightly tacky and although the addition of moisturiser helps with that, I prefer to save it for night time use rather than top with make-up.

There are times when I feel a facial oil is enough nourishment for my skin, but 8 out of 10 nights I’ll add a moisturiser - and Merumaya Overnight Recharge Night Cream is just gorgeous. I love the pump bottle and rich texture of this cream, which leaves my skin feeling deeply moisturised with a plumped up, velvety finish. Some rich skincare seems to induce those under skin bumps on my face, but this doesn’t clog or irritate in any way.

My top picks from this line-up which I’ll definitely repurchase are Skinesis Ultimate Cleanse, Antonia Burrell Radiant Light Facial Oil Serum and Merumaya Overnight Recharge Night Cream.

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Monday, 12 January 2015

The Beauty Buzz #1

In this new series for 2015, I share my highlights from new and upcoming beauty releases and not-to-be-missed offers, aka the beauty news I’m buzzing about the most!

 

LA ROCHE POSAY SEROZINC IN UK

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The cult product that everyone (inc me) stocked up on during trips to France is now available in the UK. I’ve been asking Escentual, one of my favourite beauty retailers, to stock Serozinc since I discovered it and yay, finally they are (I first wrote about it here). Clearly I wasn’t alone in waiting for it to hit our shores as they have sold 1 every 3 minutes since it arrived! So do you need it? A facial mist toner with Zinc Sulphate, it soothes, hydrates, mattifies and treats blemishes. Apparently designed to target oily, blemish-prone skin, my dry-ish, dehydrated skin loves this, so I actually think everyone can benefit. I don’t use it every day, but often spritz it on pre-serum and moisturiser and find that it helps hydrate and calm my skin. It helps reduce redness and speed recovery time of blemishes (on face & body) and is a pleasure to use. 

La Roche Posay Serozinc, £8.50 *PS get 20.15% off EVERYTHING at Escentual.com (ends today)*

 

REAL TECHNIQUES BOLD METALS

RealTechniquesBoldMetals

Pixiwoo sisters, Sam and Nic Chapman have released a premium collection of make-up brushes aimed at professionals and serious make-up enthusiasts. Made using very high spec, super soft synthetic hair, the brushes have colour coded, weighted metallic handles for ease of use. I mentioned the release on Instagram a couple of weeks ago and the brushes have since arrived in stores. I was very excited to try them on first sight, though with prices ranging from £12-25 I won’t be racing out to buy the full collection. The two that appeal to me most are the oval shadow and blush brushes... now available online and in-store, they are exclusive to Boots in the UK and Ulta in the US.

Real Techniques Bold Metals, £12+ 

 

HOURGLASS MODERNIST PALETTE

Hourglass-Modernist-palette-InfinityHourglass-Modernist-palette-Exposure Hourglass-Modernist-palette-graphite 

Hourglass Infinity, Exposure & Graphite palettes

Pictures of the upcoming Hourglass Modernist eye shadow palettes have been floating around for a while and as a huge fan of the brand, I can’t wait to try them. Available in 7 shades including rose and green tones, the above 3 appeal to me the most. Inspired by an artist’s palette, the sculpted design reminds me of a sandy beach after the tide has gone out, just beautiful. I love the mostly-matte and satin finishes with shimmer highlights and the texture has been described as a buttery, creamy powder.

The palettes launch the UK on 2 February and I’ve spotted them online and ready to go at Space NK , so I’m guessing they may offer pre-ordering, as with previous Hourglass releases. If you can’t wait until then, you can order from Sephora.com from 18 January (now shipping to UK).

Hourglass Modernist, £56 from 2 Feb

 

COLAB EXTREME VOLUME

Colab-dry-shampoo

In the Autumn, Ruth Crilly, one of my favourite bloggers and YouTubers at A Model Recommends, launched a great new dry shampoo called COLAB, unique thanks to a light finish that doesn’t leave hair looking chalky. In a recent video, Ruth mentioned the imminent release of COLAB Extreme Volume, for adding even more va va voom to the hair... I’m always up for some volume at the roots, so look forward to trying this. If you haven’t given the original a go, it’s very good and well priced - in fact I must stock up on the full size as I bought a mini to try it out (very handy for handbag or travel!).

COLAB Dry Shampoo, £1.99-3.49

 

NEW IN BEAUTY

   Bobbi-Brown_illuminating_nudes_collection            Clinique-Repairwear-Sculpting-Night-cream       Clarins-Garden-Escape-Collection 

Other new releases I’ve been trialling and loving lately are Bobbi Brown Illuminating Nudes Collection to brighten a weary New Year pallour, Clinique Repairwear Sculpting Night Cream to add luminosity and definition and Clarins Garden Escape Collection, a welcome dose of pretty for Spring (out today). More to come soon on these!

 

PS Did you know that I also write beauty and style features for City Guide? You can see one of my articles at the top of this page: City Guide and click my profile on there to see more.

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