Monday, 30 November 2009

Love, Lust, Loathe

Items that I am loving, lusting after, and loathing this month:

LOVE:

MAC 168 Brush
I've been after a decent blush/contour brush for a while now, my blusher brush from The Body Shop just wasn't cutting it in application terms of precision, so when I spied the MAC 168 on legeleven7's blog sale recently, I snapped it up for a bargain price (as an early Christmas pressie to myself!).

It is already revolutionising the way I can apply my blusher, and I get a much better colour payoff with this brush too. It has shed a couple of hairs, but I'll give it a wash with some trusty baby shampoo and I'm sure it'll be right as rain! It's nothing I can't cope with anyway!

I really would like to try some Louise Young or Sigma brushes, but for now, I'm happy with my trusty MAC staples. If you haven't got any, they really are worth the investment.

LUST:

Viktor & Rolf: Flowerbomb
I have been lusting after this perfume for approx 4 years now, and the increased lusting may have something to do with it being on a certain Mrs Cole's favourite scents list!

I've literally lost count of the amount of times I've spritzed this all over myself at fragrance counters, and kept those little tester cards drenched in Flowerbomb in my handbag! It really is such a perfect scent, I can't get enough of it!

I'd class the price of this fragrance on the more high end scale, which is why I can't justify buying it for myself. It's on my Christmas list, so let's hope Santa thinks I've been a good girl this year! I have, I have, I have :)

LOATHE:

Pink Eyeshadow
No matter how hard I try, I just can't make certain shades of pink (well, pretty much all of them really) eyeshadow work for my skintone :( This makes me sad a) because I adore pink, and b) because there are some gorgeous different pink eyeshadows out there.

Any pink on my eyes just makes me look like I've been crying for 24 hours straight, with no sleep and then got punched...guess I'll have to stick to pinky tones on my lips and cheeks instead :(

Ah well, we can't have it all can we?!

What are you loving, lusting and loathing this month?

Product Rave: Soap & Glory Girligo/Flirtigo

Soap & Glory
Girligo/Flirtigo

I'm a massive Soap & Glory fan. Every aspect of the brand appeals to me really, from the pretty pink, retro packaging, to the super feminine scents and textures, there really isn't one thing from the brand that I've tried and not liked.

Girligo (formally known as Flirtigo, not sure why they changed the name, it was much better before in my opinion!) is a light spray body mist (in other words, a spray on moisturiser). Despite it being so light it does give a decent amount of moisture, and the thing that I really love about it is the non greasy feeling after application, meaning you can shower, spray, and dress without having to wait around flapping manically as it sinks in! It has a very delicate fragrance, the trademark Soap & Glory scent, and really makes me feel all nostalgic for summer. This is a firm favourite of mine!

At the start of the year I was going through a phase of trying to use up all of my existing body lotions (which I did!) before I repurchased my favourites, so when I finally got around to buying this again earlier in the year, applying it instantly took me back to my holiday in Grenada...instant nostalgia!

I love the soft, silky feeling that Girligo leaves my skin with, and the fact it is something that evokes such happy memories gives it pride of place in my 'lotions and potions' drawer for a long time to come!

What is your favourite Soap & Glory product?
What are your thoughts on the brand?

In & Out: November

Yesssss! I don't mean to wish my life away, but the end of November signals one thing and one thing only: it's CHRISTMAS! I hope you've got your advent calendars at the ready! I'm already getting excited about buying my tree, decorating the house and playing loads of silly board games!

IN:

X Factor ~ I know, I know, when will she shut up about X Factor already?! I know I've shared my experience with you, but obviously a big up for November was going to one of the live shows, and I had a really, really fantastic time. There seems to have been a lot more controversy and mixed opinions with this years bunch of contestants, and each to their own, but I'm backing Joe to win now poor little Lloyd is gone.

New Moon ~ Is it possible to be more in love with a film/book? I don't think so! Twilight fever is still gripping just about everyone I know (Mum, won't be long before you get sucked in!), and obviously November saw the release of New Moon...simply fantastic :) I don't need to tell anyone how hot Jacob is, he may be 17 in 'real life', but...mmm!

Scented candles ~ I've bought some gorgeous scented candles from Waitrose, 'Shearer Candles' is the make I believe. They are making my house smell divine, and I'm loving the 'Vanilla and Black Walnut' and 'Frankincense and Myrrh' ones, perfect for Christmas :)

OUT:

Swine flu ~ I'm pretty sure I got struck down by the swine (lets face it though, who knows for sure) a few weeks ago, and it was horrible. I felt awful for about a week, then the week after was like the dregs dragging on for sooo long. It really seems to be doing the rounds and it means everyone in the area I work in is on high alert. I hope it doesn't ruin too many peoples Christmas.

Bad skin ~ Yep, fraid so peeps, my skin is still the bane of my life. I'm actually considering going back on the pill in the vain hope that it might clear my skin. I can't be sure if coming off the pill caused it to flare up even more, but whatever it is, nothing I'm doing to try and combat it is working. I've been using an acne gel prescribed by the doctor, but I think it is only making it worse, and more sore. I might have to go to a dermatologist which I really can't afford, and although I'm loving Liz Earle I don't know how much it is working for my skin now. Maybe I should try Dermalogica next?

I'm going to leave it at that, I've been pretty skint this month so haven't really been anywhere and done anything particularly interesting!

Pinch, punch, first of the month for tomorrow ;)

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Beauty Grumbles...

I was watching the latest Pixiwoo video on YouTube (here) and found myself manically nodding along, making "mmmhmm" noises in agreement with Sam (for those of you who don't want to watch it, she was talking about the 'Photoshopping' trend in adverts and promotional shots, and how there is an absolutely unnecessary pressure on women to look like the unrealistic, unhealthy images we see in magazines and on TV).

It got me thinking about something that really makes me grumble in terms of beauty. I present to you a (randomly picked) case study: a mascara advertisement.


I'm not sure which mascara this is advertising, but it showcases the typical look we are presented with when watching an advert for a new mascara on TV, or flicking through the pages of a magazine. I challenge anyone to tell me something that is believable about those lashes?! All I am seeing is a pair of false eyelashes, that have been Photoshopped to within an inch of their life, and resemble nothing that the mascara can actually produce, and also nothing like the models natural lashes I am sure!

What is wrong with being REAL?!

Also, I hate to say this because you all know how much I adore Cheryl Cole, and she is the new face of L'Oreal (which I know she's proud of, and why shouldn't she be, it IS a good, reputable brand), but why oh why produce an advert for a shampoo that is supposed to restore your hair to it's wonderful, bouncy, wavy self and shoot the model (poor Cheryl, just the guinea pig!) wearing extensions?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! It makes no sense, and in my opinion actually makes a mockery of the product itself.


Here is a message to the people that make these adverts...WE WANT TO SEE WHAT THE PRODUCT REALLY DOES, NOT WHAT YOU HAVE PHOTOSHOPPED IT TO DO! We're not stupid!

I think it's sad that we are bombarded with these fake images, which promote an altogether hugely unrealistic image that many impressionable women (and guys I'm sure) try and embody. There is nothing wrong with wearing false eyelashes and popping some extensions in your hair if it makes you feel better, it's a bit of fun after all, but don't use them in advertising...it's just one big lie!

Rant over!

What winds you up about the beauty industry, media and marketing? Do you share my views?

A Review: Revlon Beyond Natural

Revlon Beyond Natural
Skin Matching Makeup

I've been sitting on this product for a while (not literally mind you, I just mean I've almost used it up, so I'm a bit behind writing this!) and thought it was about time I reviewed it for you all! This blog isn't just about reviews, although I am aware I do a lot of them. I actually really enjoy writing them, even if no one reads them (they also get published on SwapsiesUK), and it also gives me a chance to properly reflect on products and establish exactly what I think about them, whether they are worth the money I spent on them (or would spend in the case of something I received from a PR company) and if I would repurchase them.

What Do I Think?
The concept behind this foundation is something I find rather intriguing...you put a white lotion (with small dark flecks in) onto your face, which is more reminiscent of a moisturiser than a foundation, then as you massage it into your skin, it changes colour, supposedly adapting to the shade of your skin. Magic huh?! Now, before even using it I'm pretty sure most of us would realise this isn't going to be a really full coverage foundation, and it is probably better to think of it in tinted moisturiser terms, providing a slight colour to the skin and evening out uneven skin tones. That assumption is not only pretty fair to make, but also pretty accurate, because in essence that is exactly what this product does. It's like that saying 'your skin only better', it provides the bare minimum of coverage but perks up your skin, for a more natural look...hence the 'Beyond Natural' thing I guess! I'm rather dubious of the whole 'skin matching' concept to be perfectly honest, because the sceptic in me doubts very much that this is possible, and rather the colour is contained within the little dark flecks in the mixture, and upon application they get crushed, thus turning to a predetermined foundation shade. I may be wrong, but that is my take on it! Regardless of how it works and the 'science' behind it, I like this product, and I am almost out of the bottle I've had for approx 2 months. I think I will be repurchasing it (although next on my list to try is the MaxFactor Second Skin) because I like the results, and especially like how light it is, I don't like to be able to feel the foundation on my skin, so this is great. FYI this product is available in 5 shades: Light, Light Medium, Medium, Medium Deep and Deep. It also contains an SPF of 15.

Where Is It Available?
To my knowledge Revlon is stocked pretty much nationwide, and is available from drugstores and some supermarkets.

How Much Does It Cost?
I get most of my prices from the Boots UK website, and this is currently retailing for £9.78.

Would I Recommend It?
Yes, I would, if you're not looking for a heavy, full coverage foundation, this could suit you really well. It is ideal for summer or those living in warmer climates than the UK, and gives you a bit of extra confidence if you're not comfortable with a 'naked' face. My skin is FAR from perfect, yet I am happy to apply this and add some MAC MSF over the top and I'm good to go (as far as a base is concerned!).

Star Rating:
4/5

Sunday, 15 November 2009

A Review: Remington Wet2Straight!

Remington Style Therapy Wet2Straight!
8 Hours Anti-Frizz Hair Straighteners

Thank you to Daisy for letting me use her picture :)

I was sent these straighteners to review, but please don't think that affects what I say in this review! OK...so if you're not familiar with the concept of these, let me just run you through the theory behind these new straighteners from Remington (as I understand it!). By using these you can effectively skip a step in your routine (blow drying), enabling you to straighten and dry your hair using one product. One of the ceramic plate has holes in it, that enable the 'steam therapy', thereby drying your hair as your go through, section by section (if you do use these, make sure you have the plate with the holes facing away from your face because they do emit a lot of hot steam). By omitting blow drying Remington believe your hair will be less frizzy, and the plates also lets off 'frizz-resist micro-conditioners' as you straighten. There is a setting for wet straightening, and also one for dry. The temperature can be varied from 150ºC to 230ºC and they heat up in 15-20 seconds. OK...so that is the 'brand talk' out of the way, what do I think?

What Do I Think?
The very concept of putting something hot onto my hair (as lipgloss86 said, you cook your food on the same temperature that we apply to our hair, scary!) when it is wet literally terrifies me, but in the name of beauty and experimentation, I put these straighteners to the test. I sectioned my wet hair off into manageable sections (as advised in the little info booklet), took a deep breath and started straightening. I'm not going to lie, I was horrified at the hissing and steam that was being produced by my hair, and it honestly sounded like it was being burnt and frazzled to a crisp. There was a kind of funky smell too, but I did persist and do my whole head. I have to say I wasn't at all impressed, I had to go over each small section 3-4 times before it was both dry and straight, and even after I had finished tricky to reach areas like the back were not totally dry. I found my hair was quite flat because I normally blow dry my hair upside down to help add volume, but by using these I'd skipped that step, and I honestly thought my hair was frizzier than normal. Not too impressed. However, the next time I used these I tried them on the dry setting (which automatically switches to a lower temperature) to see if there was any difference in the end result. I was impressed that it didn't take as many strokes to produce straight hair, but they still left my hair with a frazzled kind of smell (maybe this wears off after prolonged use?), and my hair was definitely less frizzy than the wet hair straightening. I was comparing these to my GHD's (maybe I shouldn't?!) and other past straighteners (a Remington pair in there too!) all the time, and sadly they just can't compare.

Where Are They Available?
Where aren't they available?! You can get these from all major retailers, and also Boots, Superdrug and some larger supermarkets.

How Much Will They Cost?
I think they retail somewhere between £50 (£52.19 at Boots) and £70 from all major electrical retailers.

Would I Recommend Them?
I really don't think I could recommend them for the wet setting, it just does not make sense to me to put such heat directly onto wet hair, but on the dry setting I suppose they are decent hair straighteners. These take longer to heat up that my GHD's too, and don't produce as good results, so ultimately these are not for me.

Star Rating:
2/5

Also, head over to Amy's website 'Make-Up & Beauty' for her weekly giveaway! This week it's a Maybelline Crystal Rocks Lipgloss :)

Product Rave: Nails Inc A/W Collection

Nails Inc
Autumn Winter '09 Collection

I'm not normally a fan of Nails Inc nail polishes. Past experience of using them has always resulted in me wondering how they can charge £10.50 for a nail varnish that flakes off despite using decent base and top coats. Admittedly the colour selection is just a good and almost as extensive as brands like Chine Glaze and OPI, but I really wasn't a fan. Until now!

On a recent trip to Bluewater I was in a department store browsing the makeup counters (obviously), and a sales assistant offered my friend and I a lucky dip. I pulled out a money off products voucher for Nails Inc, so decided to have a browse. I spotted the Autumn Winter '09 Collection set of 4 polishes, including the colours Belgravia, Hampstead Heath, Victoria Gate and Berkeley Square (l-r in above pic) which retails for £20. Given that Nails Inc polishes retail for £10.50 each, getting 4 for £20.00 is an undeniable bargain. I loved all four shades, and decided to purchase it (the voucher meant I got even more money off, can't remember what %, sorry!) to give Nails Inc a final try at impressing me!

My favourite is definitely Victoria Gate, it's a gorgeous deep purple colour, and Hampstead Heath looks superb on toes too! I'm a lot more impressed with the quality and longevity of the Nails Inc polishes this time around. I'm not sure if the base coat I was using was the problem, because when I just used a base of No17 Clear Nail varnish these last a lot longer with minimal chipping. Maybe Sally Hansen isn't such a Miracle Cure afterwards?!

I'm definitely looking to get some more Nails Inc polishes, and the sets for £20 are a great way to try out colours you might not normally pick, and get 4 for the price of 2!

What is your experience of Nails Inc polishes? What are your favourite shades?

Saturday, 14 November 2009

A Review: Palmers Skin Therapy Oil

Palmers Cocoa Butter Formula
Skin Therapy Oil

What Do I Think?
Palmers are renowned for their really intensive skin care products, with the most 'famous' being the Cocoa Butter that everybody probably knows and loves. Palmers newest offering is the Cocoa Butter Skin Therapy Oil, which has been formulated to target dry, damaged skin, with scarring, stretch marks, uneven skin tones and aging skin. Along with the classic 100% Cocoa Oil and Vitamin E, this oil contains Rosehip, Sesame and Canola. It has a lovely delicate fragrance in my opinion, and is not quite as strong as the traditional Cocoa Butter lotion. You really can use this sparingly, oil products in general tend to follow the 'little goes a long way' rule, and it leaves a subtle healthy looking sheen to your skin after application. I find the best time to apply this is right after a bath or shower, when your skin is still slightly damp, as it really locks in the moisture and makes your skin SO silky smooth. This may sound silly, but I don't find this Palmers Oil as oily as baby oil, the consistency is slightly thinner (more watery is the only way I can think to describe it) and it therefore absorbs into the skin easily. I don't have particularly dry skin as such, apart from on my legs which I suppose is because of shaving and more exposure to the elements, but I don't find that this makes me feel extra oily. It really does absorb so quickly and makes my skin look and feel healthy and in better condition. I tend to go through phases where I moisturise my body religiously everyday, morning and night, but then these fade out and I only moisturise approx once a week! I'd not found anything (other than the traditional Cocoa Butter or a really thick cream like The Body Shop Body Butters) that really sank in and repaired my skin until I tried this, so it's a bit of a revelation to be honest! I do have quite an uneven skin tone too and it seems to work pretty well at evening it out and making me look better!

In terms of it's effectiveness at reducing scarring and stretch marks, I can't be too precise because I am lucky enough to not really have any, but I know that when I am pregnant (whenever that may be!) I will use this on my baby bump, because it feels so luxurious and can only be doing good things! Palmers say that this product can be used on the face too, although I'm not sure that I would use it there.

Where Is It Available?
Palmers is available nationwide to my knowledge, and is stocked in most drugstores (Boots, Superdrug, Savers etc in the UK) and supermarkets (I picked mine up from Tesco).

How Much Does It Cost?
I actually can't find a price for this online and can't remember exactly how much I paid, but Palmers body products tend to retail for between the £3 and £5 mark. You get 150ml of product which is outstanding value for money!

Would I Recommend It?
Yes, definitely. This product is a miracle worker for sure!

Star Rating:
5/5

Friday, 6 November 2009

A Review: MeMeMe Fat Cat Lashes Mascara

MeMeMe Fat Cat Lashes
Mascara

MeMeMe is a drugstore brand stocked in Superdrug. MeMeMe products are probably most recognisable for producing products which are clearly dupes for higher end brands like Benefit...High Beam and PoiseTint for example, are duped in the MeMeMe range, as are the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks. I would say that if this mascara is a dupe for a Benefit product it would be Bad Gal, which has a very similar consistency and wand. For the record, I don't like Bad Gal at all!

What Do I Think?
MeMeMe market this mascara as giving 'false lash effect'...hmm! If you like using false lashes that are dry, sticky and all clumped together then maybe this does create the effect! The only two things going for this mascara are the fabulous packaging (I'm a bit of a sucker for animal print) and the huge brush with natural bristles (as opposed to plastic wands!). That is where the plus points end though sadly! I like the MeMeMe range, I think in general they produce good quality products for low prices, however this mascara really lets them down. The formulation is too dry and sticky, which makes it very difficult to get the product to transfer onto the lashes during application. Even if I rub it onto the back of my hand very little product is transferred...not a promising sign! I don't find that the product that does manage to make it onto the lashes holds any length, volume or curl it attempts to create, and it flaked pretty quickly on me too. This also made my lashes itch, so it went straight to the bin!

Where Is It Available?
As far as I know, MeMeMe is only available in Superdrug in the UK, but please correct me if I'm wrong!

How Much Will It Cost?
This mascara retails for £7.99 in the UK.

Would I Recommend It?
Nope, plain and simple this mascara is pants! This is another mascara my friend didn't use so gave to me to try, I'm glad I didn't buy this!

Star Rating:
1/5 (purely for the packaging!)

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

In & Out: October

Please try and ignore the fact I'm writing this at the beginning of November! I've been a busy bee!

IN:

X Factor ~ I am going to the LIVE show on the 7th :) I'm soooooooo super, duper excited, and really can't wait to see Cheryl, Dannii, Dermot, Holly...Danyl and Lloyd :) My friend got 2 tickets and invited me, and I am literally squeaking with excitement! I think it'll be interesting to see what goes into making the show how we see it on our TV screens at home, because after being in the audience last Christmas for The Girls Aloud Party, it made me realise that even though they were amazing, there is a lot more that goes on that we as viewers are oblivious to!

Christmas ~ It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere I go ;) Hehe, sorry to all your scrooges out there, but YES I am starting to get excited about Christmas in early November, and YES I have started my Christmas shopping and started thinking about decorations! I can't help but be a MASSIVE kid around this time of year,

Channii ~ In other words, Cheryl + Dannii = you guessed it, Channii! These two women are a force to be reckoned with aren't they! Both are so stunning (although obviously Cheryl has the edge!), really talented in their own unique ways, and have such passion and empathy that is hard not to like. Besides, you can't help but be captivated by the outfits these ladies pull off week after week! Fashion icons of our time? I think so :)


If you haven't seen Dannii's interview with Piers Morgan, check it out...good to find out a bit more about the elusive Aussie! Also, if you haven't got your hands on a copy of Cheryl's album, 3 Words, what are you waiting for?! Double number 1, go on girl!

New Moon ~ Yes, the Twilight saga continues in cinemas this month with New Moon :) I can't wait to get my fix of Bella and Edward...or lets be honest here, Edward and Jacob ;) I still haven't finished reading the last book in the saga, I can't quite bring myself to let it be over! I'll probably have to read them all again, I love them!

OUT:

Winter blues ~ I happen to really like winter, I don't mind it being crisp and cold outside, as long as I am warm and snug inside. I love layering and snuggling up in warm winter kints, open fires and yummy home cooked comfort food like toad in the hole, fresh soups and casseroles...mmm! However, with the advance of winter comes darker evenings, and less sunlight, which results for a lot of people in S.A.D (the aptly named Seasonal Affective Disorder). The weather at the moment is wet and dreary, and only services to make me feel pretty darn depressed! Roll on the snow!

Bad skin ~ I finally swallowed my pride and went to see my GP about the terrible spots on my chin. I don't know why I was so embarrassed, I think I just felt too vain going to a GP about my skin when there are FAR worse things to suffer from. I was diagnosed as having acne, and given a treatment gel to apply daily. I'm not convinced that it is working, although they did say I should use it for two months at least to see the full effects. I don't know about you, but when I am walking about with AWFUL, awful skin that is impossible to conceal, two months is far too long to be patient :( I'm at my wits end really. Using Liz Earle has made the rest of my skin pretty flawless, and in a condition I am more than happy with. Yet nothing is making a blind bit of difference to the spots on my chin, or shoulders for that matter. The areas are very specific, and I don't know enough to know if this means something, so if anyone out there can help me, please, please do! I won't terrify you all with a photo, but it's basically lots and lots of spots which seem to be under the skin, all along my jawline (worse on right side), chin and around my mouth. It may be coincidence, but using the acne treatment seems to be making heads appear on them, but generally they resemble some form of rash that is made MORE visible when I try to conceal it. I don't know what else I can do :( My confidence is evaporating, and I feel very, very self conscious.

I don't want to leave this with too many 'outs', so that is all I will bore you with for now!


A Review: L'Oreal Telescopic Explosion Mascara


L'Oreal Telescopic Explosion Mascara
With globe wand

There have been quite a few brands to come out with mascaras featuring innovative new wands. The 'globe' wand featured on the Telescopion Explosion mascara is the drugstore brand answer to the Givenchy Phenomen'eyes mascara, which retails for a MUCH higher price! I was given this by a friend who didn't use it, and felt compelled to tell you all my thoughts!

What Do I Think?
Sadly, like the much hyped Maybelline Pulse Perfection vibrating mascara (read my review here), this is yet another gimmicky product gone wrong for me! I find it hard to find any good points about this mascara, it is truly awful! The 'globe' wand is essentially a spiky ball of plastic on the end of a very wobbly plastic stick, covered in black goop that frankly should not be put anywhere remotely close to the eyes! The formulation of this mascara leaves a lot to be desired, it basically clings to the 'spikes' on the wand and doesn't transfer well to the lashes at all. In fact, you could probably apply more product if you used your fingers, although I wouldn't necessarily advise it! The wand arm itself is so thin, flimsy and wobbly that even if the 'globe' worked well it would be far too difficult to retain any sort of precision with the application. It wouldn't surprise me if any efforts to coat your lashes with this resulted in a painful jab to the eyeball...not pleasant!

Where Is It Available?
L'Oreal is stocked nationwide, and is sold in most drugstores and supermarkets.

How Much Will It Cost?
This mascara retails for approx £9.78 in most UK drugstores and supermarkets.

Would I Recommend It?
Honestly, no way! If you want to try it for pure experimental purposes, and have a spare tenner to burn, then be my guest, but this really doesn't tick any boxes on my mascara expectation list! Really, the shape and design of the globe wand should allow for good product application to those hard to reach areas of your lashes, but sadly it fails to do even that!

Star Rating:
0/5