Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Hourglass: Lips and Cheeks

Hourglass is a brand I've been admiring products from for a little while now. First of all, the beautiful Ambient Lighting Powders providing a glowy finish to your makeup, the Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipsticks and of course the Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil. It's quite an expensive brand and nowhere in Newcastle stocks it so without any means of swatching the products, I'd managed to save my pennies...until now!

You know those amazing deals Space.NK have on every now and then where you get an amazing free selection of goodies for spending over a certain amount? Well, this happened just as I was eyeing up the new Ambient Lighting Blushes. I'd already narrowed down my choices to two of the six shades so I was obviously just waiting for the right opportunity, which magically came along!

The Ambient Lighting Blushes are a hybrid of the Ambient Lighting Powders and soft focus colour. Each blush is unique due to the hand mixed formula so they will contain different ratios of the Ambient Lighting Powder versus the colour. The blush I've featured in this post is 'Ethereal Glow', a light cool toned pink mixed with the 'Ethereal Light' Ambient Lighting Powder. It took quite a lot of building up to see this on my skin but once I got it right, it looked like a really pretty glowing, delicate pink blush/highlighter. It's hard to see the full effect on my photos so that's a bit disappointing. I'm not sure how much this would show up on darker skin tones either! I'm sure the other shades in the range will be more appropriate for medium to dark skin tones though.

As well as picking up two of the blushes, I also bought one of the Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipsticks as I've often seen the shade 'Muse' featured on blogs and I really wanted to try one. I really fancied a different shade other than a red based one though so when I spotted one called 'Edition' that looked like a lovely pink shimmery shade I thought that would be quite interesting to try. These are highly pigmented, matte, liquid lipsticks that are full of fruit extracts and vitamins to help protect the lips.

Notice I mentioned 'Edition' was a pink shade? Well, that's what it looks like on the Space.NK website but it actually turned out to be more of a red with a touch of pink! Ah well, that's what you get for not doing your research and getting excited over a freebie. That said though, I do really like this shade and I think it goes well with my skin tone. This lipstick was very easy to apply with the flat lipgloss style applicator. It glided on smoothly and didn't go on patchy. The pigmentation is really good and it dries pretty fast. I do think this feels quite drying on the lips though. I can't say how long this will last on the lips as I only put it on for this look but it felt like it was a long lasting formula and it was so hard to remove from my lips!

So I quite enjoyed trying my first products from Hourglass and I'm definitely glad I placed the order. I'm looking forward to trying my other blush now, it's the Diffused Heat one which is a coral colour mixed with the 'Diffused Light' powder.

Have you tried anything from Hourglass?
Which of their products are you most tempted by?

Monday, 24 February 2014

NARS Velvet Matte/Gloss Lip Pencils

A product that I wanted to try for a long time is the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencils so when a fabulous gift set came out at Christmas (2013) containing 4 minis plus 1 mini Velvet Gloss I was extremely excited. These gave me a great introduction to the product so I thought I'd share some lip swatches with you.

My mini sizes are 1.8g for matte and 2.5g for gloss but the full sizes are 2.4g for matte and 2.8g for gloss. Both versions are £18.00 each and they come in the signature black packaging with a rubberised lid and white text. The pencils all have a preview on the outside to show you which colour you've picked up. This is really helpful as if you have multiples of these, you don't want to be wasting time reading the label. One thing that could be better is if they were twist up rather than pencils that require sharpening. It's not a massive deal though, as long as you have a sharpener!

These pencils aren't as thick as most of the other lip crayons/'chubby sticks' on the market but I think this allows for a very precise application. The matte ones are really creamy and glide smootthly on to the lips. They don't leave the lips feeling dry and they feel super comfortable. The gloss one feels like a nice moisturising lipstick leaving a pigmented look with a glossy finish. This one is also very comfortable to wear with no stickiness left by the gloss.

Wearing NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil in New Lover

Wearing NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Sex Machine

Wearing NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Never Say Never

Wearing NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dolce Vita

Wearing NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella

I love the Gloss in 'New Lover' as it's a really pretty mix of red, coral and pink. My favourite mattes are 'Cruella', a beautiful dark red, and 'Never Say Never', a dark pink with a hint of berry.

I'd love to try some more bold colours in these pencils like the Gloss in 'Mexican Rose' and 'Dragon Girl' in the Matte. You can see the full colour range at Space NK (gloss / matte) or NARS Cosmetics (gloss / matte).

Have you tried any of the NARS Velvet Matte or Gloss Lip Pencils?
Don't forget you can win one of these plus a NARS Blush, both in the shades of your choice in my current giveaway :)

Sunday, 23 February 2014

L'Oreal Paris Fibrology Range

Last month I spotted a stand in Boots with a new haircare range on it with a 3 for £10 offer. I hadn't heard anything about this range but it claimed to have a thickening effect on hair due to it's innovative Filloxane technology. This was music to my ears as I have really fine hair and I'm always looking for ways to thicken or volumise it! At the time of purchase, there was none of the shampoo in sight so I bought the conditioner, double serum and thickness booster then picked up the shampoo when I next saw it in stock. I have the 400ml sizes of the shampoo and conditioner but you can also get 250ml versions plus a thickening masque pot which I don't have.

After the first one or two washes with the shampoo and conditioner I didn't really notice a difference in my hair but fast forward a couple more washes and I really started to feel my hair getting thicker. I also think these make my hair feel and look a lot healthier too. The unique thing about this range is that the formula stays within the hair fibre for a long lasting thickening effect and this has certainly been the case for me as I like to switch to an anti-dandruff kind of shampoo every few washes to keep my sensitive scalp under control and the thickness has remained.

The Double Serum is made up of two parts, a thickening serum and a perfecting serum. When pressing the pump at the top of the bottle, these serums dispense in equal amounts and I find them to feel very lightweight. One pump is enough for my hair and I just rub it in my palms and apply it to the lengths and ends of my hair, avoiding my roots. I absolutely notice the difference when I leave out this step as I find this makes my hair feel really smooth as well as making my hair look healthier by covering up split ends and other damage. I think this is the best serum I've ever tried as I barely notice any effect with some other serums. I really feel like this is doing some good to my hair.

As for the Thickness Booster, this is a little tube of intensive thickening treatment to add in equal parts to the conditioner. If I'm honest, I haven't really noticed the difference with using this vs the conditioner alone but I have only tried it a few times. I'll certainly be giving this a few more goes though as I'm so impressed with the other products I've tried from the range.

I think L'Oreal Paris have done a fantastic job with this range and the 17 years of research and 8 years of testing have certainly paid off. You should definitely give this range a go if you have fine hair and want to add some thickness. I really want to try the masque next.

Here is a link to the range at Boots if you want to check out the very reasonable prices.

Have you tried this range?
What is your favourite haircare range for adding thickness or volume to your hair?

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Revlon ColorBurst Matte and Lacquer Balms

Ever since I heard about the relaunch of the Revlon ColorBurst Balms (previously Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain) I was super excited as the prospect of having some lovely matte and lacquer additions sounded amazing! Prior to the January 22nd launch, I was in Boots almost every day waiting for these to be on display. I eventually managed to get my hands on the shades I fancied and then what happened? I didn't even try them for about three weeks! Haha. The shades were just as pretty as I'd imagined though so it's nothing against the product, it's just my 'buy anything and everything' attitude and things don't always get tried straight away!

The Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balms were the ones I was most excited about as there are no other matte lip crayons available from drugstore brands. My favourite of the bunch is Unapologetic, a gorgeous bright red softened with a hint of pink. The other shades I have are Audacious, a orange toned red and Showy, a darkish cool toned pink. I really like these shades as well. These matte balms are perfect for a bold look that is easy to apply. The formula is so smooth and pigmented, it only takes a few swipes of the crayon to get a neat, bright coloured lip. I was surprised at how creamy these are and they feel really comfortable on the lips, not drying at all.

Wearing Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in Unapologetic

Wearing Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in Audacious

Wearing Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in Showy


The Revlon ColorBurst Lacquer Balms are also really nice. They have a nice glossy finish that isn't quite as pigmented as the matte balms but it can be built up with a few more swipes of the crayon. They have a bit of shimmer in them and they actually remind me a bit of the L'Oreal Paris Glam Shine Balmy Glosses I blogged about here. The paler shade, Demure, is a lovely natural light pink shade that adds a hint of colour to my lips but is perfect for wearing during the day if I don't want to stand out too much! Coquette is a bolder, brighter pink that I really love.

Wearing Revlon ColorBurst Lacquer Balm in Demure

Wearing Revlon ColorBurst Lacquer Balm in Coquette

L-R: Swatches of the Revlon ColorBurst Matte/Lacquer Balms - Unapologetic, Coquette, Showy, Demure and Audacious

Both the matte and the lacquers have the same minty scent of the original Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains which I think is very refreshing.

I absolutely love these crayons and think they were well worth the wait. I actually think the matte ones are a good low price alternative to the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencils at only £7.99 (or even better when it's on 3 for 2!). There is such a good colour range in all variations of the balm. The full colour range of the mattes and lacquers are on the Boots site if you fancy a look.

Did you pick up any of these when they were launched?
Which ones do you like the look of most?

Friday, 21 February 2014

Tanya Burr Lipglosses

A few weeks ago, the YouTube sensation that is Tanya Burr (link to her channel) launched her very own nail polish and lipgloss collection. She worked with Eye Candy to come up with this fab collection of colours, all with cute names. There seems to be a great range of colours so there is something for everyone.

The lipgloss comes in cardboard packaging featuring the ingredients and a lovely little message from Tanya. It's good as you know that no one has tested the product before you've bought it!

I decided to just buy lipglosses from this range and I went for Just Peachy, Exotic Island and Picnic in the Park. The lipglosses come in thick plastic tubes that feel sturdy and look modern. I love Tanya's signature on the tubes. The sponge applicators are long and quite flat making it easy to coat the lips in a few swipes. The lipglosses all smell amazing too, just like fruity chew sweets.

Swatches of Tanya Burr Lipglosses in Just Peachy, Exotic Island and Picnic in the Park

I was very surprised at how pigmented these lipglosses are as usually glosses can be quite sheer. These are beautiful colours and they glide on to the lips very smoothly. The lipgloss is quite thick in consistency which helps them to be so pigmented but there is no heavy or sticky feeling on the lips. They feel like a smooth balm and are very comfortable on the lips.

Wearing Tanya Burr Lipgloss in Just Peachy

Wearing Tanya Burr Lipgloss in Exotic Island

Wearing Tanya Burr Picnic in the Park

Picnic in the Park is a gorgeous medium pink shade that is perfect for daytime wear. I think Exotic Island would look stunning for an evening occasion. I'm not sure if Just Peachy is the best choice with my pale skin but I think it would look really nice with a tan. Ooh just imagine slicking it on whilst relaxing with cocktails in the sun! 

I'm really impressed with these lipglosses, you can tell Tanya worked very hard with Eye Candy to get these to be just how she wanted them. They are great value at £6.99 each and are available at Feel Unique (which is where I bought mine) and Superdrug.

Have you tried these lipglosses or the nail polishes?
I'd love to hear which ones are your favourites.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Experimenting with Maybelline Makeup

I picked up quite a few products from Maybelline last month so I decided to put them to the test. The product I was most excited about launching was the SuperStay Better Skin foundation after reading some rave reviews. The foundation is advertised as a 'Flawless Finish Foundation' that instantly evens out the skintone as well as improving the skin in 3 weeks with its vitamin enriched formula. The lightest shade of this is 005 Light Beige so that's the one I chose. I've included a 'before' photo so you can see what this foundation covers and how well it matches my skintone.

Before makeup (obviously!)

Before applying the foundation I used the Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser. This is a transparent, silicone based primer that feels rather velvet-like on the skin. I didn't notice much of a difference in pore size but it's good to have a smooth base before applying foundation. The first thing I noticed when I started applying the foundation is that it's a bit too dark for my skintone. It's pretty tough to get a good match in the drugstore so I wasn't too surprised with this! This foundation seems to be good at covering redness and some blemishes. Any raised spots will not be completely disguised but they certainly look a lot better than leaving them au naturale! Unfortunately the finish of this, on my skin, is not flawless! I have quite dehydrated skin and the foundation ended up looking patchy! It's not unusual for foundations to look a little patchy around my nose area but this was uneven all over my face! I would give this another go with some extra moisturising beforehand but I'm thinking this product is more suited to oily skin. I noticed the foundation felt quite nice on the skin though, it felt lightweight and comfortable.

I don't own any Maybelline concealer or blush so I haven't used these for this look. My next step was using the Color Tattoo 24HR Gel-Cream Eyeshadow in 35 On and On Bronze. I don't know why I hadn't got round to trying this shade yet but I eventually gave it some love today. It's a gorgeous cool toned bronze that is easy to apply to your eyelids with your finger. It's very pigmented so you only need to use a little bit. I really like this so I'm glad I finally gave it a go.

I'm a big fan of the Rocket Volum' Express mascara but I ran out of this a while back and moved on to the Big Eyes mascara. This is dual ended with separate brushes for your upper and lower lashes. I accidentally picked up the waterproof version so I think this has given me a bit of a bad experience with this mascara. I always go for the regular versions of mascaras and this just seems like a very fast drying formula which makes it hard to add multiple layers to build volume. I don't feel like it's very separating either which is something I look for in a mascara. The lower lash end is pretty good for the lower lashes though. It makes it easy to get in to all of the tiny lashes.

I'm not really a brows person. I slick on a bit of clear mascara to tame them but that's it so I've been wanting to try more brow products. I thought the Brow Drama in Dark Blond was the natural progression as it's like a tinted version of what I already use. I like this as it's not too wet so it doesn't stick my brows down as much as the clear mascara. It neatly tames them whilst adding a hint of natural looking colour. I think it also helped to make the outer parts of my brows look a little thicker.

I had two new lipsticks from Maybelline and I wanted to try them both so first up I went for the Color Sensational Lipstick in 725 Tantalizing Taupe. This is from the Nude collection which I think is the UK equivalent of the US 'The Buffs' collection but with fewer shades. This shade is a very different pick for me as it's a brown toned nude. I wasn't sure how it was going to look with my pale skin but I decided to give it a go. I think it looks ok, maybe a little like I've been munching on a Galaxy chocolate bar though! These lipsticks apply very smoothly to the lips and are very pigmented.

The other shade I picked up was 906 Hot Plum from the Color Sensational Vivids collection. I already have the Shocking Coral shade and really wanted this plum shade when they were released but for some reason I was quite restrained for once and didn't buy it! I eventually gave in though! I really love this bright mixture of pink and purple. I think it would be lovely for a night out.

Have you been trying out any Maybelline makeup lately?
I'd love to hear your recommendations. I think I would like to try a different mascara next, possibly the Mega Plush one.

Blog sale updates

Just another quick post about my blog sale! I've been updating it over the last few days with more skincare and makeup so if you want to check it out please click here.


Thursday, 13 February 2014

Blog sale - Feb 2014

Just wanted to let you know that I've just uploaded a blog sale with mostly skincare bits. If you want to check that out, please click here.

Thanks :)

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Farmaline - An online pharmacy

Recently I became aware of an online pharmacy called Farmaline who are based in Belgium. What I love about them is the wide range of European skincare they stock at a reduced price. It's fantastic for getting hold of brands like Bioderma which aren't widely available in the UK. From looking through popular French brands like La Roche-Posay, Vichy and Bioderma, they seem to have a much bigger range of products than other sites I've seen. For example, I know that La Roche-Posay Serozinc is quite hard to find but you can get it from Farmaline here!

Farmaline very kindly sent me a full size product of my choice from their website and some other samples to try which I'm very grateful for. I decided to try the La Roche-Posay Hydreane BB Cream in the Light shade as I've often fancied trying it.

I absolutely love this BB cream for giving my skin a healthy boost. It gives a lovely glow to my skin as well as covering most of the redness and blemishes I have. It doesn't perform as well on large, raised spots but I wasn't expecting it to as it's not a foundation. This feels so lovely and moisturising on the skin too. The addition of SPF 20 is fantastic as it's good to get some protection from the sun. I love La Roche-Posay, I just want to try all of their products!

The Farmaline products came very well packaged in a Farmaline box as shown above, within a bigger outer cardboard box. It took less than a week to be delivered too so just because it's from Belgium, it doesn't mean you will have to wait a long time to receive your order. 

I thought I'd quickly mention the samples I got too. I received some Rene Furterer shampoos and serum after mentioning my sensitive scalp. The Astera Fresh shampoo has a lovely minty scent that feels soothing and fresh on the scalp. It leaves my hair feeling squeaky clean and without irritation. I'm looking forward to trying the Astera Sensitive shampoo and Astera Fresh Leave-In Soothing Freshness Serum too. This has been a really good chance to discover a new brand and I'm all up for trying French products, always wishing I could spend all day browsing their pharmacies!

I was very pleased to find some La Roche-Posay samples in a cute little bag. I got a mini Thermal Spring Water which delivers a fine cooling mist over the skin. This would be perfect for the Summer to cool yourself down or to refresh your makeup. The Lipikar Body Moisturising Fluid is really nice too. It's a non-greasy, fast drying moisturiser that leaves the skin on your body feeling soothed and hydrated. I already love the hand cream in this Lipikar line so I knew the body lotion would be great.

If this online pharmacy is something you fancy taking a look at, the link to the website is http://www.farmaline.co.uk/health/.

Do any of the products on the Farmaline site take your fancy?
Where do you normally buy products like this from?
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