Wednesday, 23 December 2009

A Review: Urban Decay Primer Potion in SIN

Urban Decay Primer Potion

What Do I Think?
Sin is the alternative primer offering from Urban Decay, the sequel to their famous Primer Potion. Sin is a gorgeous goldy/browny/bronzey/champagney coloured primer, with a hint of shimmer and sheen. It makes a delightful base for any gold and brown toned eye shadows (and looks particularly wonderful under my favourite MAC shadow, Satin Taupe). I only have a small tube of this, it came with my Urban Decay 'Get Baked' palette, but I think it's running out so I'll probably have a look on eBay for a full sized one! Although I have very oily skin I never seem to have much problem with my eyeshadow creasing, even if I do occasionally forget to apply primer, so the reason I use them is to increase the longevity of my eyeshadow. Sin doesn't necessarily make my eyeshadow last longer, and it does feel slightly less creamy and more liquidy/oily than the standard Primer Potion (or other traditional cream based primers), but it does do a fantastic job at really enhancing the colour of my eyeshadow. For example, I have Trax eyeshadow by MAC, which is a gorgeous shade of purple with a ton of gold shimmer running through it. When I wear it with a traditional colourless primer it doesn't stand out as much as I'd like it to, however when I use it over the top of Sin I get much more colour payoff and more of the gorgeous gold shows through. I would happily use a couple of layers of Sin on it's own as a cream eyeshadow too! It also makes a great inner corner highlight too, so I always use the residue on my fingers to smudge into the corners.

Where Is It Available?
Urban Decay is stocked in larger Boots stores in the UK, at various department stores (try House of Fraser, some large Debenhams, Selfridges etc) and I think they do have some stores/counters elsewhere. Urban Decay is available across the world.

How Much Will It Cost?
As I mentioned above mine came included in an Urban Decay Palette (and I actually prefer the sample size because there is less of an epic packaging fail!), but you can purchase the full size version for £11.00.

Would I Recommend It?
Oh yes, I really adore this product, the colour is more versatile than you might initially think, and it's just such a pleasure to use and experiment with. In fact, I'm off to hunt eBay for a bargain deal (I don't live near an Urban Decay stockist sadly, so have to rely on the www)!

Star Rating:

Monday, 21 December 2009

Partial Review: L'Oreal Renewal Lash Serum

L'Oreal Renewal Lash Serum
Lash Fortifier

This is labelled as a partial review, something I haven't ever done before...I don't like to review a product until I feel I have used it sufficiently, in order to enable a fair opinion. However, as this review will demonstrate, I don't feel able to review this in it's totality, simply in the experience I have had so far...
Confused?! Read on...

What Do I Think?
I purchased this L'Oreal product soon after it came out, after constantly coming across reviews of lash growth activating products like Lilash, but obviously not wanting to fork out the ridiculous price tag accompanying them [you can also purchase this lash serum with a mascara on the other end, but I went for just the serum]. The most instantly recognisable flaw to this product (what the hell were you thinking L'Oreal?!) is that it comes exactly as you see in the above cardboard/plastic packaging, which means no instructions. Now, I'm not stupid, but a product to be used anywhere near the eyes should come with the normal 'elf n safety' information about not sticking the product in your eye blah blah blah, and should definitely include some form of instructions for! Well, the epic fail award goes to L'Oreal for failing to provide even a slither of useful information, so by buying this product, unless you've researched online for reviews, you're essentially buying it completely blind. The only place I've found any instruction is here, on the Boots website! After I recovered from this indignation, I went home, and after I'd removed all of my make up before bed I applied this to my lashes. I basically applied it as I would a mascara (sweeping under and over my top and bottom lashes) and then smudged whatever was left onto the upper lashline. The applicator pretty much also receives an epic fail award, in part due to the lack of instructions, because there is no obvious method of application, or even what way up to use the damn thing! Don't get me wrong, I like experimenting with new products, but (metaphorically speaking) stumbling around in the dark is another level! I went to bed hoping and praying to wake up to silky smooth, lusciously long eyelashes (disclaimer: I do have naturally long eyelashes, but they can sometimes be a bit sparse and you can never have too many in my opinion), or at the very least waking up without a horrendous rash around my eyes (no packaging also equals no ingredients list, something sensitive eye sufferers should bear in mind). Luckily there was no rash, no obvious disfigurements, or any noticeable change...expect for, oh wait...what's that...I can't open my sodding eyes (please accept my use of slightly bad language, I was shocked)! Do you remember having an eye infection as a child, and your parent/carer gently pressing some cotton wool soaked in warm water onto your poor weeping eyelids in a bid to free them of the sticky gunk? I literally am not joking when I say this is what I had to do. Looking back, it's probably something out of a funny movie: me stumbling out of bed in temporary blindness, feeling my way to the bathroom and inevitably falling over anything and everything in my path - that'll teach me for being untidy. So, to cut a long story short, the Lash Serum glued my eyes together, felt disgusting, didn't make my eyelashes do anything except gloop and clump, and is sitting in the corner of my bathroom being the subject of evil glances. In the name of science I did try this a few more times, but experienced exactly the same results.

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

How Much Will It Cost?
This product is currently retailing for £10.99 in Boots, UK.

Would I Recommend It?
Based on my experience thus far, I have to say a big fat no, but please make your own mind up about this because I do know of some people who have had really positive results.

Star Rating:
Based only on the not so good experience I have had in my first attempt of using this, I don't feel I can give this product a realistic rating. Apologies!

I'd really like to hear your experiences about this product.
Did you dismiss it as a gimmick and not purchase?
Did you decide to give it a go, and if so, what did you think?
Was my method of applying it the reason it all went so disastrously wrong?
Please help...answers on a postcard :)

A Review: EcoTools Bamboo Powder Brush

Bamboo Powder Brush

What Do I Think?
My beloved Bare Minerals Kabuki Brush has started to disintegrate (the glue has come away from the bristles, so it falls out of the handle, sad times), but not wanting to fork out the £26 or so for a replacement I decided to look at some drugstore equivalents. I couldn't find a nice enough quality Kabuki brush, so I looked toward more traditional powder brushes (I use mine to apply MAC MSF Natural or any other powder). I had popped to Tesco to get some groceries and stumbled (honest mistake!) into the make up aisle, where the EcoTools brushes caught my eye. EcoTools are 'earth-friendly' brushes, made with soft synthetic bristles (cruelty free) and natural and recyclable materials - the powder brush boasts a bamboo handle, taklon bristles and recycled aluminium. Aside from the ethical feel good factor, this brush is really well made and has the softest bristles I have ever felt (although man made do tend to be softer than animal hair). The only downside about this brush to me is that because it is so soft it isn't as densely packed as I would normally chose, so I have to use a few more dibs into the MSF than normal, but it really is such a pleasure to use I can accept this tiny flaw (although it's less of a flaw and more of a change to my normal practice). The finish it gives to the skin is very natural, not too heavily caked or too matte, just perfect in fact. I am really taken with this brush and very pleased I picked it up.

Where Is It Available?
I purchased my brush from my local Tesco, but I know these are available in various shops worldwide (I've seen them in Tesco and Superdrug in the UK). Click here to find out more about where to buy.

How Much Will It Cost?
I can't for the life of my find my receipt and can't recall the exact amount, but I think this particular brush retails for somewhere in the £5-£8 mark.

Would I Recommend It?
For pretty affordable prices these brushes are not only 'eco-friendly' but really amazing quality, super duper soft and mine has not shed a single hair (I have MAC brushes that have which cost a lot more money). EcoTools brushes seem very good value for money to me, and I will be purchasing some more I'm sure.

Star Rating:

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Product Rave: Valentino Rock 'n' Rose Couture

Rock 'n' Rose Couture Perfume

I love wearing perfume everyday, it always makes me feel special to spritz on a beautiful scent before I walk out of the door, like an extra confidence boost, especially if I'm going to work (which lets face it, isn't always the most glamorous of places to go!).

Perfume always seems to me like too much of an extravagant spend, so I typically stock up at Christmas and birthdays. Perfume is such a good gift (unless you know someone REALLY well I wouldn't recommend choosing a perfume from scratch, scent is a very personal thing) and I don't feel the guilt that I would if I had gone out and spent £50 odd on a little bottle!

Last Christmas I asked for Valentino's Rock 'n' Rose perfume, the couture version, which is a rose scented perfume, with what Valentino describe as a rocky edge. I'm lame at describing scents so I'll leave it at that, but this feels like such a luxurious scent, and the packaging is TO DIE FOR!

I would say this is more of an evening scent, but to be honest, wearing perfume is a little luxury every day, so why save it for night time?! If you like feminine, rose based scents, this would be perfect for you, and it looks fabulous on a dressing table.

I wouldn't say this is my ultimate favourite perfume, but I've been reaching for it more and more in these colder months, it smells divine and I just can't get enough of how it looks!

What is your favourite scent?

Thursday, 17 December 2009

A Review: Max Factor Second Skin

Max Factor Second Skin

What Do I Think?
Second Skin is one of Max Factors latest foundation offerings. I've only ever tried their mineral foundation before which was the most miserable excuse for a make up product that I have ever used, so I didn't really know what to expect. I had read a couple of reviews that didn't show it in the best of lights, but thought I'd give it a go. I don't quite know what to make of it to be honest, and buying highstreet/drugstore foundations can be a bit of a minefield. I find it increasingly frustrating that there is such a lack of information available, there is rarely any indication as to what skin type it is suitable for, what type of finish it is...blah blah blah! I still have no idea if this foundation is suitable for oily skin in Max Factors eyes, but from my personal experience I would suggest it is not. This has zero longevity factor, it literally seems to slide off of my face within about two hours of application, which certainly isn't desirable. For a foundation that is supposed to provide 'virtually undetectable coverage', this is only available in 5 shades, which seems bonkers to me. Being as pale as I am, I chose the lightest offering, Creamy Ivory. I don't really like the consistency of this either, it isn't as easy to blend as the marketing campaigns and name would suggest, and I don't think it leaves a very natural finish on the skin at all. It doesn't provide very good coverage, barely covering up redness and doing zilch to blemishes or scarring. I've been using this simply to use it up, I hate wasting money!

Where Is It Available?
Max Factor is available from most drugstores/chemists nationwide.

How Much Will It Cost?
This foundation retails for £13.99 (far too much!).

Would I Recommend It?
Not really no. I so wanted to like this, but try as I might, I just can't get it to work for my skin. By all means try it, I'd like to know what other peoples experiences have been.

Star Rating:

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

A Review: Origins Zero Oil

Origins Zero Oil
Shine Controller

What Do I Think?
Zero Oil is essentially a shine controlling product, designed to counteract the natural and environmental causes of excess oil production, making it particularly useful for oily/combination skin types. My skin is just so oily, and nothing seems to stop it in its tracks, even constant blotting and re-powdering doesn't help. Origins claim that this product can be used underneath or over make up, although I personally wouldn't want to apply it over to top. You have to shake the bottle up very well before application, in order to fully mix the solution (and I like to think it's activating the mattification masters - yes, I probably have lost the plot!) and then deposit
a tiny bit into the palm of your hand. As you can see from the picture the packaging is slightly bizarre, and not what I would say is the most effectively designed, and the nozzle/pourer leaves a fair bit to be desired because there really isn't much control. However, once shaken (not stirred!) the solution is effective at instantly mattifying the skin (I tip a tiny bit out and pat it onto my face with my finger tips) and make up applies evenly on top of it. I have been using this instead of my L'Oreal Studio Secrets Primer (which you can read my review on here) and although they are entirely different products with different intentions, I did compare them in terms of how my skin feels. The L'Oreal Studio Secrets Primer is a mousse formula, and it makes my skin feel as soft as silk when using it, although I do doubt the 'longer lasting make up' aspect. Zero Oil is a liquid formula, and whilst it doesn't make my skin any softer it most definitely controls shine. I'm not 100% convinced that this prevents oil production all day, but it certainly works better than any other primer/oil control I've tried, and my make up does seem to last a little longer. The ingredients are very soothing to my skin, and have not caused any irritations. I will continue to use this and may update you if any revelations occur, but it's working pretty well so far.

Where Is It Available?
You can buy Origins online here (where you can also find the Origins product description for Zero Oil), or at House of Fraser, Boots, John Lewis, Selfridges, Harrods or an Origins store (I'm sure there are more stockists, but I'm not Google!).

How Much Will It Cost?
£11.00 for 18ml of product.

Would I Recommend It?
Hard to say, I think this product will be very much personal experience and preference, but for £11 I think it is well worth a go if you want to fight the shine. There are very mixed opinions and reviews of Zero Oil out there in cyberspace, but to be honest if I think a product has the potential to do what I want, I buy it and make my own mind up! I also think that the type of make up used over this (or under if you prefer) will probably affect the outcome. I do feel more positive than negative about this product, and will be repurchasing.

Star Rating:

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Happy Birthday...

Laura's Bloggy Blog is one year old today :)

Happy Birthday to me!

It really does feel like much longer than a year that I have been blogging, and I'm glad to still be following and engaging with the very people who inspired me to start up my own, the likes of MagpieSparkles, Kelanjo19 and MizzWorthy :)

It's an interesting documentary of my life for 2009, not to mention amusing to see how shallow I used to be when it comes to buying new things, loving them and moving swiftly on, so I think I've matured in that sense!

I'll leave you with an interesting fact from the book I'm reading at the moment: if you see the word yawn, you'll want to yawn eventually!

Thank you for enjoying Laura's Bloggy Blog alongside me for the past year!

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

A Review: Shearer Candles

Shearer Candles

I thought I'd do a review with a difference, veering away from the 'beauty' side of this blog slightly. In my recent 'In & Out' post for November I mentioned I was really loving scented candles, and had discovered a new range at my local Waitrose on my lunch break one day (height of glamour where I live I know!).

The company is Shearer Candles, you can check out their website here. They have some gorgeous scents in their new Christmas collection, and a few offers on the website too! As you can see pictured above, the two scents that I have picked up are Frankincense & Myrrh and Vanilla & Black Walnut. I love the more musky scents, so I instantly fell for these when I smelt them in the shop! Anything will Vanilla in is a sure fire hit for me, and the Frankincense & Myrrh is instant Christmas, evoking lots of nostalgic happy memories!

Price wise I am prepared to pay around the £10 mark for a decent sized, good quality candle, and the two pictured above have a 35 hour burn time and retail for £5.90 on the website and £6.00 at Waitrose! I have also purchased some of the scented tins (see below), which retail for £2.90 on the website and £3.00 at Waitrose. You can email your postcode to to find your nearest stockist too.

As well as the delicious scents, I really like the packaging. These are very well made candles, and the packaging is extremely tasteful and not too over the top. I already have my eye on a lot of the other products on their website that aren't sold at my local stockists!

I know these must be good because normally my boyfriend moans about 'all these blimmin candles everywhere' but he's voluntarily lighting them! Our house smells delicious, and I'm not joking when I say I literally want to take a bite out of the candles because they smell so mouth wateringly good!

Worth the price? Without a doubt, these are just the right price, and they really are amazing value for money in my opinion!

Would I Repurchase? I already have!!!

Star Rating: 5/5

I think this just goes to show that Supermarket shopping doesn't always have to be dull! Lovely scented candles always make my home life feel that tiny bit more luxurious, so I'm delighted to have accidentally stumbled across this brand!