Tuesday, 24 February 2015

The Repurchase - Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm

So here's the rarest of things for the beauty blogger - the repurchase.

This one is for the Clinique Take The Day Off cleansing balm - a product I use as my first step in removing my make up before going in with my second cleanse to properly get my skin cleaned, normally with a different cleanser.

I used to reach for Bioderma to remove my make up, and I won't deny that I always do keep some Bioderma in stock for the days when I have a lot of make up on or I'm just feeling extremely lazy, but in winter my skin has a tendency to be more dehydrated anyway and using water on the surface of your skin - whether thats water in the shower or water in the form of micellar - will just contribute to that. Last winter I picked this up in Florida to try and combat the dehydration caused by the plane journey and the change in temperature freaking my skin out a little, and it was love at first use.

I use this straight on to dry skin and remove it with either a muslin cloth or cotton wool pads - though I prefer the former. It melts make up off my face and leaves me skin feeling hydrated and clean but not stripped. You can see it in action in my night time routine video below.

In case you couldn't tell from the fact I've repurchased it I love this cleansing balm, and I can see me repurchasing it many a time hereafter.

I do sometimes use the Lush Ultrabland cleansing balm in its place, which is a much more budget friendly option (£7.25) and is much more gentle on my eyes - the Clinique one doesn't irritate them if I'm careful but I do need to be careful, whereas the Lush version can be slapped on with no thought and no irritation; however when it comes down to it this has more slip to it than the Ultrabland and that's ultimately why I prefer it on my skin. Though for the foreseeable future I will have both in my stash and switch between them depending on what take sky fancy. Because I'm flighty like that...

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Rimmel Salon Pro Nail Varnish

Today's post brings you a prime example of what is in a name - because it's safe to assume when this nail polish name referenced one of my biggest and oldest literary crushes (yes, there is more than one!) I was going to buy it - no matter what type of colour it actually was.

What it is is a super wearable greige that I'm getting a tonne of use from, because it's that perfect colour that blends into the background and goes with any outfit but is also a fast track to looking totally polished and put together.

Colour aside the formula of this is top notch - I can't paint my nail for shizzz and I can chip them within a minute of painting - I go in the shower, wash my hair and come out to find half my nail varnish gone. Somehow though this formula really does last and I do get a few days out of it without chipping. It's also super easy and quick to apply because of the lovely wide brush, even for a cack handed painter like me.

Now, what colour should I go for next?

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Cargo Vintage Escape Palette

Whilst this palette was in stock on Debenhams I wanted to bring it to your attention, because this might just qualify as my favourite palette ever. It's neutral enough that it compares to the likes of the Naked palettes in terms of wearability but the shadows are versatile and pigmented enough that you really can produce a show stopping look with this.

The top picture was from when I photographed the palette when I first bought it and the second picture is a more recent snap - I wanted to show you guys just how much use I have had from this one in a few months - you can see me hauling it here back in November, every shade has been touched and I'll admit to having to run a wet wipe round this palette just to make it look presentable for photographs!

All the swatches are one swipe up and one swipe down with my fingers, so as you can see they're all massively pigmented, but a 217 touched lightly to them buffs them in to look totally natural, or you can really pack them on with the 239. The only shadows that aren't totally smooth are the darkest two - you can see that Black Crow in comparison to the rest isn't maybe quite as pigmented and buttery as the others but I don't reach for black shadow all that much so it doesn't make much difference to me, and it can still be built up with more than 2 swipes of a finger if you're really keen for a deep black pigment.

The matte shades in general in the swatches look slightly less smooth than the shimmers (that's Harvest Moon, Hot Cocoa, Autumn, Chestnut and Black Crow, with chestnut being probably the worst looking) but that doesn't really transfer to the lids when used with a brush so it's really not a problem.

You can see me using the shadows in this post and this post, and I'd say overall my most used shades are predictably Cuddle, Frolic, Cinnamon and Rustic, but I love all the shades and have used all of them multiple times, with the exception of Black Crow which I've used a handful of times - though as I say that's down to personal preference!

The quality of these shadows really is up there, I'd say actually more so than the Naked palettes and the wear time without creasing has been super long - my eye make up has still been fully intact every night when I'm taking off my make up having out this on in the morning, so it's a minimum of 12 hours!

I'm trying to sound vaguely balanced in this review but honestly, it's just a rave. I love this palette a lot, it really doesn't let me down on any front and it's perfect for both every day wear and building up for a night out. There's really nothing bad I can say (and that's not something I say all that often!)

Monday, 5 January 2015

Illamasqua Aura Palette Review

Swatches: Blush - Highlight - Contour - Brow - Base - Colour - Define - Line

Another sale bargain for you all today - this palette is now reduced down to ££22.50 on the Illamasqua site!

Anyway, I bought this before Christmas (when it wasn't on sale, grumpy face!) and i was massively massively excited about it, mainly because I'd been meaning to try the Aura highlighter and the Hollow contour for absolutely ages, so saw my chance to snap up both of those products in a palette with a few other bits... I can never resist a palette.

I don't know if my expectations were too high or what but I feel just a bit disappointed by this. Let me say that I believe there arena bad products out there, just products that suit some peoples' needs better than others (let's face it, if our needs were all the same we just wouldn't have the same array of products to get excited about and would never try anything new as the same things would just be produced over and over again!) but I'll go through by individual product and give my thoughts, since that seems the fairest.

The aura highlighter was one of the bits I was most excited about, and it's ok. I've come to the conclusion I'm not a massive fan of cream products and this is a pretty wet cream product - bye which I mean it melts and moves as soon as you touch it. I feel as though it sort of disappears on my cheeks but sinks in to pores and when used down my nose when I had a little bit of dry skin it really emphasised the dry skin. In comparison to my Chanel powder highlighter or even the Mary Lou Maniser which I reviewed here it just doesn't really cut it. I don't need a highlighter that seems to make my skin look worse than it is, and that I would use only on my cheeks, brow bone and cupids bow and then have to use an alternative elsewhere. I also don't generally feel that the cream products ever live up to powder in terms of longevity, which wouldn't be a problem if it was a case of popping it in my bag and topping up through the day but the thought of carrying the platte plus the highlighter I'd be using elsewhere? Not that appealing really!

The blush is a powder blush in the shade Tremble - it's totally fine, I like a powder blush better and the longevity is there with it. It looks a lot less pink on the face than it does in the pan, which isn't really a good or bad thing, just a comment on it and I have no real complaints. Having said that I also wouldn't have rushed to buy it as an individual blush as I don't think it's anything particularly special.

I do actually quite like the contour shade - Hollow and the longevity on the contour seems much better than the highlighter. It's also much more natural looking when buffed into the skin properly than the swatch would imply. The only complaint I have about the contour is the size of it, it's the same size as the eyeshadow and brow products, so fairly difficult to get the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush or the Illamasqua Highlighter Brush in to properly. The contour should have, in my opinion, been the same size as the blush and highlighter.

The brow cake in Thunder is fine. It's a little dark for my ideal tastes, but when you're putting a palette together you have to go with the shade that suits most people and I totally get that1 I can get away with it so it's not a total waste, though to be honest I do prefer a pencil so I'm not sure how much use I'll get from this. Colour aside though the formula is good and the longevity is there, its easy to apply with my Louise Young 31 sable brow brush. For travelling if I was taking this palette I'd be more than happy to use this to cut down on packing multiple products, so I definitely don't hate it, but it doesn't make or break the palette overall.

As for the eyeshadows, the base and colour shadows are a bit redundant, they're both pretty much lost on my pale skin (#palegirlproblems) but they work well enough to even out skin tone etc.

I actually really, really like the define shade - a nice reddy brown, though I have quite a few shades like this now because I like it so much (I still love this Smashbox palette if you're looking for some great eyeshadows with the reddy toned browns in there). It's a nicely build able one - I have it on quite lightly in the pictures but you could definitely keep building with this one.

Lastly we come to the black shadow, which they suggest you use as liner. Again it's quite build able and in the pictures I applied it with the angled brush from the Real Techniques Nic's Picks set and smoked it up a little bit. My issue isn't with this as an individual thing, but in terms of the palette I think a dark brown might have toned in a little better with the other shadows - I feel like the black looks very stark against the rest of the eye.

Overall? I realise this review sounds negative but I don't hate the palette, I just think there are better choices out there and for the sake of the Hollow pigment I could have bought it individually for the price. I didn't pay £45.00 as I bought the palette when ASOS had a 30% discount code running, but I'd be absolutely gutted if I had paid the £45. Now that you can get it for £22.50, if you want to try hollow or aura, which were two products I'd been meaning to for ages, it's still a great way to give them both a go and cheaper than buying both the products individually, but I certainly wouldn't say this one is a must have.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Cargo Northern Lights Palette Review

When I noticed online that Cargo had two eyeshadow palettes go into the Debenhams sale my interest was piqued. If you watched this haul video back in November 2014 you'll have seen me raving on about the Cargo Vintage Escape palette, which ranks as one of the all time best palette purchases I've ever made. I can't find that one online now anywhere, nor was it in store when I purchased this palette the other day, but if you do ever get the chance to get your hands on it then hug it to your chest and run for the till before anyone tries to take it off you, every shade is wearable, they're buttery soft, super pigmented, blend easily and generally just perform incredibly. 

Anyway, having had such a positive experience with that palette I'd been meaning to get back and try more Cargo for ages, but hadn't gotten round to it - till now. 

The Northern Lights palette currently has 30% off at Debenhams, the fact it's a percentage reduction makes it sound like it could go back up in price so I decided it was as much of an excuse as I needed to grab another shadow palette to add to my collection, and it's one I fully recommend you grabbing too.

I'm glad though, that I didn't buy it online and did wait till I saw it in store, as I loved it even more in store and a few of the shades clearly come up very differently swatched to how they look in pan, all for the better in my opinion. For example I thought Fjord - the bottom left shade - would be blue judging by the palette, but it comes up more of a slate colour with hints of bluey green shot through it. Finland (3rd from let bottom row), which has a distinctly yellow hue in the palette is actually a gorgeous gold. Aurora, above Finland in the top row, is a definite rose gold tone with a hit of bisc shot through just to deepen the colour slightly, whereas I thought it would be very pink and very not wearable on my skin tone. Lastly Greenland, which I thought would be a really dark, deep green is actually pretty black when used, with iridescent green sparkles that catch the light when you move. 

The shades are all beautiful - though Osetra, Finland and Lapland are my personal favourites - and they all blend beautifully and build beautifully. I swatched the top row quite lightly and you can see how pigmented they are, but also how they could be applied with a very light hand and buffed away with something like a MAC 217. The bottom row I did two layers of colour to each swatch and you can see from that how easily they build and how you could really pack on the colour with something like a MAC 239/242 (or one of the flat ended brushes from the Urban Decay Naked palettes).

Speaking of brushes, this one comes with a double ended fluffy brush, one side slightly bigger and the other side smaller - not quite tiny enough to be a pencil but small enough to get under the eyes. I don't have a whole lot to say on the brush, it's good enough to be kept around for emergencies and doesn't quite deserve to go straight in the bin but it's definitely not a great brush - but at the end of the day I didn't buy the palette for the brush. I do think bad brushes in palettes cheapen them slightly and to be honest I'd rather just not be given a brush at all, but I realise for some people they do like having the brush in the palette and, like I say, this one isn't the worst I've come across.

Overall this palette is another winner from Cargo for me, I just love the quality of the shadows,  they perform as well as the likes of Urban Decay and better in some places. I'm not overly keen on the faux snakeskin casing but, to be honest, what's inside is pure eyeshadow gold. 

PS Just realised this is the first post of 2015 - happy new year everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and festive season <3 

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Dior 2014 Christmas Collection Lipstick

I already reviewed this lipstick in the shade 008 Mysterious Shock, but wanted to share this little post about the shade 006 Ardent Shock. 

Since I've already raved about the beautiful formula, which is just as beautiful in this shade as in the other, the beautiful packaging and the whole 'two colours in one' phenomenal idea I won't go on too long.

The red shade was always going to catch my eye, the matte shade (again, it's a matte shade not a matte formula, still the same nourishing one as the last!) is such a classic red, perfect for Christmas or, if you ask me, any other time of year. When I went to Disneyland Paris this year this was the shade I popped in my travel bag and it's a perfect true red.

The other side was great for days on holiday when I didn't want to be thinking about my mouth - the other side is much more peachy, low maintenance formula with a heavy enough dose of shimmer running through it to make it shimmery, without being gritty or frost finish-esque.

I love both sides of this lipstick and it's a perfect one for travelling, and also probably perfect for any make up lover - the combination of a peach lipstick with the matte red means that even those who wouldn't do red as an every day option like me still have a dressing up shade, but their every day colour comes in pretty special packaging! 

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Dior Christmas Collection 2014 - Mono Fusion Shadow 'Mirror'

Continuing on from my last post here's another piece from the Dior Christmas Collection 2014, and this time it's the Mono Fusion Eyeshadow in the shade Mirror.

I'll fully admit that when I bought this product I thought it was going to be okay... Nothing special, just okay but I'm pleased to say that I was massively wrong, I think that actually out of everything I bought from the holiday collection (Christmas collection? Holiday collection? Whatever!) this might be one of the things I'll get the most use out of.

The mono fusion shadow is a pressed pigment style of shadow, something I'm sure we're all fairly familiar with and as such it works bets when packed on with a flat brush or fingers, which is how I applied it in these photos - utilising the tools God gave me and all that! It does come with a little brush - pictured in the top photo - but other than to get in under the lower lashes and stuff it's probably not going to get a whole load of use!

It looks a lot more gold in the pan and in the swatch than it actually transfers on the lids, where it instead seems to become a more iridescent glow albeit with a gold base. In these photos the shadow is on alone but I think this will be absolutely beautiful pressed on over more pigmented shadows. 

There is a fair amount of fall down with this product, but nothing that can't be cleaned up with a little wipe of the finger and some concealer - I just put mine on after I've done my eyes rather than wasting product beforehand!

So overall? A glowing recommendation from me for a beautifully glowing product - get your mitts on this one before it goes!