Monday, 31 October 2011

NARS review #1 Super Orgasm Illuminator

NARS Illuminator in Super Orgasm, £21.50 for 30ml

My memory of buying this a few months ago was when I was in Space NK, and they were short staffed. The lady called over to me because she could see I was looking and asked if she could grab me something, and I remember; "yes please, the NARS Illuminator in Super..," and before I finished we both said "orgasm!" across the shop floor. I'm glad no-one else seemed to hear as we were in the rather well- to- do Henley on Thames, dahling.

 ...Aaaanywho I love NARS as a brand, their New York style sleek packaging and excellent reputation really appeals to me, and people never seem to be disappointed by their products. I intend on increasing my collection. Although I'm not disappointed in this product, it does exactly what you expect and to a high quality, I'm just not sure it really needed to be added to my already vast collection of illuminators and highlighters!

The product is a creamy, thick liquid, a smooth texture and has stunning light reflecting pigments in. It also has some really exciting ingredients in it which I feel makes it stand out in comparison to other illuminators out there; Vitamin B5 (Conditions and protects skin), and Polar Berries (antioxidant properties) are amongst them.
Left flash, Right without.
It is a really feminine, coral shade with really fine gold shimmer particles. I tend to use it on top of/underneath a blusher for extra impact, but on it's own in summer over a tinted moisturiser it gives a really natural glowing look. It's pearly, and due to it's golden shimmer particles it adds warmth to the skin- something important all year round. The shimmer stays all day.

All in all, the product is going to last a long time, so excellent value for money in the long run. I use less than a pea sized amount each time. It's also really versatile; I've mixed it in with foundation which gives a subtle, all over radiance and I've also used it on my lips with a lipgloss on top, as well as using it on my cheeks and cheekbones.

Pictured here on cheeks and lips
I'd really like to try it in the Copacabana shade, but I have a feeling its silver & pink pigmentation may be too similar to Benefit's High Beam, so it might not be a necessary purchase until I eventually run out of that!

Have you used NARS illuminators, or are you tempted to? Which other NARS products would you recommend?

Saturday, 29 October 2011

What I Wore #4

Grey Marl Midi Dress

I'm not happy with how any of the photos came out, my boyfriends a tall man so I feel like I look a bit stumpy in all of them because they were taken from a height, (when I'm actually 5'7 and not stumpy at all!) Anyway, as there aren't any particularly flattering or good shots, I've made a little compilation instead. The weather was stunning, golden autumn leaves were on the ground, there was a gorgeous frost to the air but it wasn't cold. I don't like being cold!

I really like this dress because a)I love grey marl. I have a few tops that are similar to this. It reminds me of comfort and relaxation, but because it's a dress I think it makes it a bit more exciting than your average marl tee (not knockin' them, I loves a grey marl sweatshirt!) b) It's going to be versatile; here I've worn it with tights and boots, but it could equally be worn with ankle socks in spring, and on it's own with a belt and sandals in the summer.

 What have you been wearing lately?

Friday, 21 October 2011

Eyeliner Review #1 Maybelline, M.A.C, Rimmel

Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Liner £7.99
M.A.C. Superslick Liquid Eye Liner £15 for 1.8ml
Rimmel London £5.29 for 2.5ml

As promised in previous posts, I'm going to compare three different eyeliners, all of which you can create the winged flicks with, the makeup trend that I posted about here. Two are liquid liners and one is a gel liner.

1) Maybelline's gel liner caught my eye earlier this year because firstly I hadn't tried it before and secondly, it made a change to liquid liners. I had heard a couple of good things about it so bought it and gave it a try.

  • This pot of gel liner has so much product for the money you pay and will last you yonks.
  • The container it cute and small, and frosted glass- like! And it comes with a precision brush.
  • The gel liner is a good shade of black, but I find that it needs two coats to be jet black. I find this quite difficult, as the line always seems to thicken the second time and I don't always want this to happen!
  • I personally find the brush to be too thick and hard to control. It is especially difficult when using it on the inner corners of the eye, where you would want a thinner line (ready to graduate to thicker once gliding it accross the lid). It really depends on how steady my hand is that day and if I have the patience to try this product, as it does take a lot longer to apply than a liquid liner. 
  • It has pretty good lasting power.

The gel liner does give a nice effect, it is more soft focus than a hard line. It does seem to fade throughout the day, not too drastically though and I'm sure this might be prevented through wearing an eye lid primer.
I think this product's success is down to personal preference for how you like to apply your eyeliner and how thick you like your lines and flicks to be. I think I'll be trying this out more; I used it for a couple of weeks and put it aside, some mornings I find the brush and the pot too fiddly and time consuming. Practice makes perfick though, I suppose!

2) One of my most disappointing purchases from M.A.C. I even repurchased when the first one ran out thinking maybe the one I'd had previously had been a dodgy one. No such luck, the finish and colour pigmentation is terrible for the price, the lasting power even worse, shame!
  • Superslick eye liner is supposed to leave a wet look finish. It does leave a slight glossy finish. 
  • The colour is more of a charcoal- grey than a black, which is fine if you want a more subtle or natural look.
  • The brush is my favourite part, it is thin and precise which means excellent control over how thick you want the line to be, also means a perfect flick, there's less room for mistakes to be made with this brush.
  • Only hours after application the eye liner fades dramatically, it smudges and rubs off a bit too easily, a definate disadvantage.

These photos were taken about an hour after application, as you can see there is clear fading already happening [ :-( ]. I'd recommend this product if you're looking for a precise brush and therefore a precise/thin/subtle line, but be prepared to reapply throughout your day.

3) I bought this Rimmel eyeliner partly because I was broke, needed a liquid eyeliner and it was cheap, and partly because I had read pretty impressive reviews. I must say, I think this is my favourite of the three, I pick this one up before the other two when I'm applying my makeup in the mornings.
  • The brush is slightly fatter than the M.A.C. one so it is a bit harder to apply such a precise or thinner line, but the pigmentation is fab. 
  • The formula is slightly watery and can take a couple of minutes to dry, but this is common amongst wet cosmetics such as liquid eyeliner. It can rub off quite easily, but in comparison the previous M.A.C. one this one has excellent staying power. I can complete a 9hr shift at work and still have a clear line and flick by the end of it.
  • It can take two coats, but this is easily achievable with liquid eyeliner. I only struggle to go over lines with the gel liner.

Eyeliner really is one of those personal choices every girl makes because every girl wants something different from an eyeliner, from price, to finish, to overall look. I hope these mini reviews help at least one of you out there to make a decision though! :-)
Top; Maybelline. Middle; M.A.C. Bottom; Rimmel
What eyeliner do you use? Do you have any products where you pick the 'drugstore' brands over the more high end brands?

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

VO5 Hot Oil Review #1

VO5 Hot Oil Nourish Me Truly, about £4 for 4x15ml

My friend at University introduced me to V05 Hot Oil when I was complaining about my bleached hair (it was in AWFUL condition) snapping, being uncontrollable and dry. She used Hot Oil herself and swore by it. So I bought some and along with some other hair treatments, my hair was pretty much transformed as best it could be in a matter of weeks. I had bleached, white hair for a couple of years and used V05 Hot Oils weekly until I (stupidly) dyed my hair jet black in 2009 (but that's a story for another time...)


This past year I have focussed on recuperating my hair after years and years of complete abuse. I get it cut regularly, and am now proud to say not a touch of dye has touched my scalp in 10 months (you may have seen in my pictures a slight unintentional dip dye going on, it's because I'm simply growing the black out and letting my natural hair come through). I now use heat protection products, and try to use my GHDs a lot less, and I'm careful to let my hair do it's own thing a couple of times a week, I'll either hide it up in a bun or wear it wavy so that I can give it a 'rest'.

Until lately my hair was in quite good condition, but I noticed it was becoming quite dry again. I remembered, VO5 HOT OILS! The next time I was in Boots I picked some up.

The packet comes with 4x15ml treatments. I use one weekly. I place the tube under hot running water in the shower until it heats up and apply to wet hair before shampooing. Massage it into the hair and leave it on for one minute only, any longer can lead to irritation because it is an intense treatment. I wash it out as normal and commence my usual shampooing and conditioning routine.
Like I have mentioned, this benefited my bleached hair so much and was affordable on a limited student budget. I have been using the Hot Oils again for 2 weeks (2 treatments) and this is what I think so far;
  • The first time I used them, the hair felt soft and healthy again after washing. It made my hair easier to handle after washing, and smoother when styling (I used my usual heat protection products). I noticed that it made my hair so silky and soft that it looked quite flat/sleek. However, by the next day my hair had gone greasy. My hair felt quite heavy and like I had used too much product in it.
  • The second time I decided to apply the hot oil just to my ends, as this is where the dryness was occurring and I was hoping to avoid greasiness the next day. Bearing in mind I had been to get my hair cut inbetween treatments so the ends weren't as bad as they were, but after I washed my hair (cue soppy moment) my boyfriend was stroking my head and commented on how soft it was. He normally comments that my hair smells nice, or that it feels good after a cut but I think this comment shows that it works (I hadn't told him I'd used Hot Oil, cos let's face it, what kinda man cares?!) The next day it felt soft, and nourished, but not greasy or flat like the time before, result :-)

If you have seriously damaged hair, then I cannot praise this product enough. It works wonders on dry hair, but be prepared that it might be so nourishing that your hair might feel greasy the next day. Plus if you're a busy gal, this only adds on a couple of minutes to shower time and you're done. If you think of it as a pound a week spent on nourishing and restoring your hair, then I think it is a price worth paying. If your hair is healthy. naturally quite oily, then you do not need to use this product. I believe it benefited me mostly when I had bleached hair, but now I'm happy to continue using Hot Oil because it is without a doubt doing my hair good.

If you're interested in hair related reviews, then I'll be reviewing some Lee Stafford products in a couple of weeks, once I've had the chance to use them!

Have you ever used VO5 Hot Oils, did they work for you?

Back to Black (Eyeliner)

Makeup Trend; Black Eyeliner Flicks.

It came to my attention recently (though it's taken me ages to blog about it) of the thick, fluid black lines that were used on the models' upper lids on the catwalks over the various fashion weeks in September.
This trend has been pretty popular for a good few years. (I have been doing it for years, and I'm sure lot's of you have too) However I can now appreciate it more as it has been used in such a modern way, also giving us the chance to embrace it even more!

M.A.C. for Kanye West, Paris Fashion Week.
M.A.C. Tumblr
M.A.C. Tumblr
Again, M.A.C for The Blonds, NY FW:
M.A.C. Tumblr

Heavy eyeliner was also seen at Richard Nicholl, Jonathon Saunders, Dolce and Gabbana, and more.

If we're talkin' eyeliner flicks, we can't forget Amy Winehouse, who changed the way so many girls dressed (nude ballet pumps, vintage denim high rise shorts, Fred Perry, hair accessories), let alone how they applied their makeup. The thick, black liner with the winged flicks became her signature look;
Google Images
Of course, the look is inspired by the pin- ups of the past, but it doesn't mean that this is the context in which we now have to understand it or use it. It can be so modern, sleek, and sexy.
It is often seen with a bold red lip for a vintage look (think Dita Von Teese), or with smokey eyes and pale lips for a modern spin on the classic look (like on the catwalks). Either way, I think it is a trend that can be easily applicable in daily makeup, it isn't too 'out there' or different, and the extent to how bold you want to be is your decision.

I've got a post coming up that will compare three different eyeliners (all at different price ranges) that you can use to create this look on the upper lid, so keep a look out for that in the next few days :-)

Will you be flicking your eyeliner? Do you already create this look?

Hello to all my new followers! X

Thursday, 13 October 2011

M.A.C. review #2 Lip Stick

Firstly I'd quickly like to say thankyou to Miss Melita Kiely (click here) for my lovely blog award, it really made me smile and felt recognised and appreciated. Please check her blog out, she is a lovely girl, a chatty blog with a bit of everything, and she has really good taste! A great blogger, so thankyou x 

M.A.C. Lipstick in Blankety, £13.50 for 3g.

If you're looking for a really neutral shade, that will work with every look and throughout the year then Blankety is a good option. It's simple and feminine, a muted pink- brown shade. It is pink enough to compliment my pale pale skin but I think it would suit the majority of skin tones (particularly olive to asian tones!)

Top; Without Flash. Below; With
The smell is gorgeous, definate vanilla scent-age! Sweet yet not overpowering.
The formula is really creamy, so it is easy to apply, particularly if you're on the go. It's also really moisturising and nourishing. It has become a handbag staple, for me, at the moment because you just can't go wrong; it's inoffensive, and highly usable. However, it has also become a handbag staple because reapplication is so necessary, and disappointingly, is needed quite often throughout the day. Unlike the M.A.C. matte lipsticks, that I find faultless (Russian Red I <3 U), Blankety is an 'Amplified' creme. Therefore due to it's sheen finish it comes off very easily.
On the upside, it is heavily pigmented, the colour on the stick is the colour you get on the lips, and you can choose to apply as little or as much as you like, it is buildable.

I find it looks most noticeble/effective with smoky brown eyes, as the browns brings out the dusky hues, however it also looks nice with natural greens. A feminine, realiable shade, just a shame about it's poor lasting power!

Final Portrait; I went to visit my mum and my cat a couple of weeks ago, here is me and Chrissy, and I'm wearing blankety!
She looks pretty unimpressed but I think she is adorable, I love her so much! (crazy cat lady alert)

Do you own this lipstick? What's your favourite shade?

Sunday, 9 October 2011

What I Wore #3


Other red items I like;
 The dress would look cute with chelsea boots, chain necklaces and a bobble hat.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Foundation Review #2 Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation

Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation in 02 Pale £25 for 30ml

I'm the first to admit, that I LOVE ILLAMASQUA! I love their branding, I love their campaigns, I love their makeup counters, I love their product and I love what they stand for 'Release your alter ego'! 

I've previously spoken about their Theatre of the Nameless Autumn/Winter 11 Collection here and how excited I was for it, and there's reviews to come on some of those products!

Today I'm going to talk about the Skin Base Foundation and how I got along with it.

Packaging; The small, hand sized bottle is pretty neat, and is made out of a thick plastic (good for travel as there's no risk of breakage). The clear container means the shade you choose is visible. It's light, because it isn't glass. The squeeze nozzle is excellent, I've become accustomed to using Revlon Colorstay (review here) so this controlled application is a treat, there's no risk of any excess leaking out. Good packaging.

Shade; Firstly, I think it is phenomenal that Illamasqua offer this foundation in 18 shades, so there really is a shade to suit everybody. I am matched to 02 (I'm usually the palest in any collection, but 01 is pure white!- I suppose because they're a brand who cater for evening/professional makeup. The drag queens and cabaret acts I used to work with loved Illamasqua.) 02 shade is super pale, it does match me well but can be a little ghostly looking at times, obviously I add warmth later with contour/blush and so on.

Thick consistency
Skin Type; Illamasqua state this foundation is suitable for all skin types. I have found it to be more on the dry side, so I wouldn't recommend it to those with dry skin unless you are extremely well moisturised! This foundation doesn't contain an SPF, so although it's great for flash photography it's lack of sun protection factor must be taken into consideration. Illamasqua state that Skin Base Foundation 'is undetectable in a professional HD environment.'

Formula; The consistency is thick however the coverage it gives is up to you. A really small amount can be applied to create a light medium coverage, or you could build on this to achieve a near full coverage if so desired. A definite plus is that although it is fairly thick, it never feels cakey-  it becomes a second skin and is comfortable to wear. At times it can be more difficult to blend due to it being thicker than most liquid foundations. I find the lasting power to be good for around 6-7 hours with primer. On busier days however it can slip off areas that are more oily on me such as my nose and chin.
Although I think that this foundation is pretty great, I do prefer it mixed in with another foundation or BB cream rather than used solely on its own. (Try it!)

  • It goes without saying that good skin will shine through foundation. Establish a good skincare routine and this foundation will look flawless. Due to it's slightly dry nature, it may cling to any dry spots you may have .
  • I can normally take or leave primers, however I would recommend one to be used with Skin Base to help prolong its longevity throughout the day.
  • A little goes a long way, the smallest amount will cover the entire face, so don't squeeze out too much! (30ml will last you a long time) 

The outcome of this Skin Base Foundation is ah-maz-ing. I am really impressed with it, the coverage lasted all day and once it has settled into the skin it looks quite natural (though lets face it, it is still obvious you're wearing foundation!)
I don't think I'll use it everyday because it's lack of SPF is a flaw for pale skinned me. I'm not around flash photography enough for SPF to really matter in that respect,  everyday.

Do you use Illamasqua products? Have you tried Skin Base Foundation?

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Topshop Makeup Review #2 Lipstick

TopShop lipstick in Mink, £8.

I had been thinking about purchasing a new lipstick for a couple of weeks. I wanted my new lipstick to be sophisticated, but also bold. I wear red a lot,and wanted something a bit different.

Initially I went into TopShop to buy the 'Rumour Has It' lipstick from the Autumn collection 'Smoke and Mirrors' that I reviewed here. I really loved the idea and the branding of the collection, and felt 'Rumour Has It' would be the lipstick to fulfil my search, plus I preferred the packaging of this in comparison to the white with sketchy polkadots and stripes of the core collection.
Annoyingly, it had sold out. A week later I returned, it still wasn't there (sad face). I had to reconsider my options...

I bought from the core collection. 'Mink' was pound cheaper than 'Rumour Has It' and seemed like a similar colour match.

Top; With Flash. Bottom; Without.
The texture is so easy to apply, a lip balm underneath is a definate must to avoid cracks (it can be quite dry) and reapplication is necessary, but only every few hours. The colour is what I determine as a dusty pink but with peach/brown/lilac undertones. I find it is really wearable, it applies neither completely matte nor too shiny, a perfect inbetween and doesn't leak or smudge easily.

If it is worn with brown shades on the eyelid, or dramatically dark eyes it looks gothic (same goes if paired with a neutral, brown toned blush). It can also look really 90's- I'm not saying this is a bad thing, I'm the 1990's biggest fan (I'm sure there's a post coming up on how much I love the 90's..)

For a more modern, contemporary look wear this lipstick with whites, creams, peaches and other nude colours on the eyelid (bright eyes!). Pink blush also compliments this look well, so do sparkly/highighted cheekbones :-)

My cupids bow is indeed non existent

I'd recommend this lipstick because it is affordable, pretty 'on trend', autumnal, wearable, subtle yet different.

Do you use TopShop lipsticks? What shades are your favourite at the moment?