Friday, 31 January 2014

Disappointing Products: 17 Instant Glow Bronzing Powder

Forever the cosmetics optimist, I like to see the good in everything. Sometimes a product isn't everything you hoped for but it still has a place or needs a little work to get it to perform. Occasionally some are just plain dreadful. Only the hoarder in me prevents me from turfing it straight into the bin.

The 17 Instant Glow Bronzing Powder is one such product.

Strictly speaking I can't complain too much as I got this free with a Boot Advantage Card voucher. I doubt I would've chosen it otherwise. But visually it was quite attractive when I first saw it, so first impressions were good.

The 17 Instant Glow Bronzing Powder is described as a maxi-bronzer - in other words the packaging is a wide pan and you get 20g of product. The bronzer also had a gold leopard print pattern in the powder too. I really liked this when I saw it - I thought the gold would give a nice shimmer to the product.

The fading animal print on the 17 Instant Glow Bronzing Powder

But here was the first disappointment. On the first use the brush immediately wiped the pattern away (as you can see in the photo above). I hoped the pattern would go right through the product but it is just a very thin superficial layer on the surface.

The second disappointment was that there was no gold shimmer to it at all. I suppose because the gold part just forms a thin section of the top layer.

The third disappointment was the texture when you tried to use it on your face: It was hard to blend and powdery, too much product came off onto the brush and it seemed to puff and float around everywhere rather than sit nicely on your skin.

17 Instant Glow Bronzing Powder swatch

My fourth (and believe me - not final!) disappointment was the colour. It just looked like a dirty muddy colour against my complexion. Granted this could be just my fair colouring but it did not warm my skin like I expect a bronzer too - it looked like a dirty smudge. In the spirit of a balanced review I will concede that the dark-dirty colouring may have been from the dark sections of the animal print in the top layer. Perhaps the product under the top layer would give a nicer warmer colour on the skin.

The final failing was the lasting power - there was none. Within a really short period of time the bronzer had floated off of my face in all of its powdery glory. Mind you, given the colour disaster of the bronzer perhaps this is the only positive about this product...

You see I told you I was forever the optimist!!!

Have you tried the 17 Instant Glow Bronzing Powder? Did you manage to get this product to work for you?

17 (or Seventeen as they seem to have re-branded to) have other, hopefully better, bronzers available for £4.59 HERE

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Rimmel Lash Accelerator Endless Mascara

As you may know by now - I love a mascara! I always have several on the go and I use different ones for different effects.

I'm always keen to try out a new mascara. Recently I gave L'Oreal's Miss Manga Mascara a go (see HERE) which gave dramatic results but was hard to manage. So when there was a 3 for 2 at the Rimmel counter recently I thought I would try the Rimmel Lash Accelerator Endless Mascara.

I haven't had a good history with Rimmel mascaras. I only usually pick them up when they are part of an offer. A few months ago I had the Scandal Eyes Mascara which has a huge barrel brush. It got messy.... I found it impossible to apply without getting it smeared over my eyelids - and I am no mascara novice.

The Rimmel Lash Accelerator Endless Mascara has a thinner brush with plastic flexible bristles. I like this type of brush and find it more effective that the old-school bristle type (like the Rimmel Scandal Eyes Mascara) so I thought I'd give it a go.

Rimmel Lash Accelerator Endless Mascara Wand

Rimmel claim that the Lash Accelerator Endless Mascara increases lash length by 99%, gives good separation and no clumps. The formula contains micro-fibres and has Grow-Lash Complex - which is supposed to boost lash growth over a few weeks. Now I can't vouch for that part because I chop and change my mascaras day by day and I assume you would need to use it continually for this to work.

Rimmel Lash Accelerator Endless Mascara

On the lashes I really like this mascara. It doesn't give the most dramatic effect I've ever achieved, but it certainly does give good separation and no clumping. It lasts really well throughout the day too. I prefer a mascara that gives a winged-out effect such as the L'Oreal False Lash Flutter Mascara, but this is a good everyday mascara to reach for on a day to day basis.

The Rimmel Lash Accelerator Endless Mascara is £7.99 HERE.

Have you tried this mascara? Do you know why some of these are in yellow tubes and some in black tubes? I'd love to know as I couldn't see any difference!

Monday, 27 January 2014

MAC Monday: Soft Brown Eyeshadow

MAC Soft Brown Eyeshadow

My MAC Monday choice this week is one of those products that doesn't look like much on its own. But its one that I find myself using all the time and it is now one of my staples. When I first started putting together my MAC Eyeshadow Palette I was searching for core eyeshadow recommendations. One that came up repeatedly was MAC's Soft Brown Eyeshadow.

I do love neutral colours for my eyes but I find cool tones such as greys and taupes quite hard to wear on their own. I naturally have dark circles under my eyes and darker eyeshadows and grey tones can just make me look tired, or even worse like I've walked into a door. In order to make these colours work for me I needed a warmer shadow to blend them with.

Having Googled suggestions for a warm brown shadow it was MAC's Soft Brown Eyeshadow that seemed to fit the bill. It is a matte shadow in a peachy warm brown which can be worn alone or used in the crease or as a transition colour to add warmth to a look. I read a fantastic post by Eyeshadow Addicts Anonymous (HERE) specifically about the best MAC Eyeshadow transition colours and Soft Brown was one.

Off I trotted to my nearest MAC counter - only to discover that MAC Soft Brown was now discontinued in the UK!!! Worse still they couldn't offer up a decent dupe for it either. The trip wasn't a complete failure as I did actually come away with a beautiful warm shimmery eyeshadow called Arena. Arena is a satin finish eyeshadow that looks gold in the pan. It is a beautiful warm shadow that is subtle enough for daytime and you can add depth to the crease or corners with a slightly darker shade such as MAC Soba. If you want to see all the shadows together the fantastic Temptalia has a great post, swatching the different MAC brown eyeshadows HERE.

MAC Soft Brown compared with other neutral eyeshadows

But there was no avoiding my need for a matte shadow in a warm brown colour. I went through my Urban Decay Naked Palette and the Basics Palette but there wasn't anything comparable - everything was too cool toned or too dark. In the photo above I have swatched Soft Brown with Arena, Naked from the Urban Decay Naked Palette and Naked 2 from the Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette. Arena was the only shadow which had the right peachy gold tone to lift my complexion, but I needed a matte shadow to use as a transition colour.

MAC Soft Brown eyeshadow is still available in the US but I couldn't find a US store that delivered to the UK. But then didn't want to pay astronomical postage either!

As I mentioned in my MAC Monday post about Cranberry eyeshadow (HERE) I prefer to buy MAC Eyeshadows in the Pro Palette format to slot into my existing palette. I had a look at Ebay and there certainly were some sellers offering Soft Brown in this format, but I really wary of buying a fake. Having read Accidental Beauty's enlightening post about avoiding MAC fakes on Ebay (HERE) I was feeling quite cautious, so her later post on MAC Ebay sellers to trust (HERE) was a godsend.

From the recommendations on her list I ended up buying Soft Brown from Rock the Catwalk for the equivalent of around £12 with free delivery from the US. This was a few months ago and I don't know if the store is still operating as the website just has a holding page at the moment. My eyeshadow arrived quite quickly and I have been loving it ever since!

Just as I had hoped - if I choose a grey or darker shadow to use on the lid, I can blend it with Soft Brown in the crease. This really warms up the look and makes it more wearable for me. Soft Brown can look quite bright and scarey in the pan but it really is quite subtle on the lid. I am yet to find a dupe from other brands widely available in the UK - so I only wish I had bought 2!

Have you tried MAC Soft Brown? Do you know any dupes or similar shades that I could try? Otherwise I can only hope that MAC bring this back to their permanent collection...

You can find MAC Pro Pan Eyeshadows HERE (including Arena). The Urban Decay Naked Palette HERE and the Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette HERE.

Check out my previous #MACMonday posts:

MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Let's Skate HERE
MAC Cranberry Eyeshadow HERE
MAC Huggable Lip Colours in Fresh and Frisky HERE
MAC Brick-O-La Lipstick HERE
MAC Divine Night Fluidline in Deliciously Rich HERE

Don't forget, if you want to join in MAC Monday send or tweet me your links (#MACMonday) and I will link to them here!

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette: Back in Stock Now!!

I was lucky enough to get hold of my Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette just before Christmas, but it seems to have been out of stock since then. I have been checking daily though...

Good News!! It is now back in stock at Debenhams online HERE and just to really spoil you also at House of Fraser HERE!

I know that lots of you have been trying to track this down so if you want one don't hang around: GO! GO! GO!

You can see my full post with my photos of the Naked 3 Palette HERE.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Real Techniques Expert Face Brush: A Review

Real Techniques Expert Face Brush

I have heard a lot about the Real Techniques brushes from bloggers. I held back as cynically I wasn't sure whether people raved about them just because they were created by beauty blogger royalty Sam and Nic Chapman over at Pixiwoo (see more about them HERE). As fabulous as they both are, I wanted to make sure I was getting a brush that did what I needed it to.

I already have a set of Borghese Brushes that I have been really happy with, supplemented by a few key MAC brushes. So I wasn't really on the look out to buy more. But one thing that I hadn't got was a decent brush to apply liquid foundation. To be honest I've always just applied my foundation with my fingers and had been perfectly happy with that!

But continual talk of flawless skin and an airbrushed appearance drew me in. A couple of weeks ago during a Sunday night Beauty Bloggers twitter chat (#bbloggers, Sunday 8-9pm) I asked which Real Techniques Brush everyone recommended. By far the winner was the Expert Face Brush. In second place was the Buffing Brush but this is only available as part of the Core Collection Set so I decided to discount this one for now. Besides for applying liquid foundation the Expert Face Brush fit the bill.

Real Techniques Expert Face Brush

I have to say I'm really impressed! The brush feels nice in your hand, it has a wide base so you can store it standing up if you want to. The bristles are synthetic taklon and create a really firm and dense brush. I'd tried a flat foundation brush before but it seemed to just soak up all of the foundation and leave brush marks across my face. But this one doesn't! The brush feels soft on your skin but applies the foundation really easily, evenly and very quickly. It seems to blend at the same time as you apply. I think perhaps I use a bit more foundation in the process but the brush helps to get better coverage and I guess uses more product.

There are tutorials about how to use the brushes on the Real Techniques website (HERE). I use mine in a circular way starting at the centre of each cheek and I was surprised how quickly I could apply my foundation. I also use it blend my concealer under my eyes. Oddly I really enjoy using the brush!! Who would think you could actually enjoy this bit right? I also really like that I don't get foundation all over my hands in the process.

I love this brush, it isn't often that I just really love a new product that I buy - but I do love this one! Price-wise this brush is really good value at £9.99, especially compared to my MAC brushes which are around £17 just for an eyeshadow brush! In fact I was so impressed I have also just bought the Real Techniques Blush Brush - and I'll be sure to let you know how I get on with it.

Have you tried the Expert Face Brush? How does it compare to the Buffing Blush? Dare I ask - are there any other Real Techniques Brushes missing from my life (come on enable me...)?

In case you are tempted to try it - I have just found a great deal on it too - the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush is at Amazon for just £6.99 HERE. The regular price is £9.99 at Boots HERE.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in Complex: A Review

The Revlon Colorburst Matte Balms have just sneaked there way into Boots ahead of the official release on the 22nd January. I had been reading about these since November and was really keen to try them. As soon as I heard they were out I popped into Boots to take a look.

In my earlier post about these (HERE) I revealed my wish list of shades based on other bloggers reviews and swatches. So I already knew exactly what I was hunting out.

The new Matte Balm and Lacquer Balm display in Boots

When I found the Revlon stand this is what I saw. No major fanfare - just the addition of the Matte Balms and Lacquer Balms to the usual Balm Stain display. I do wonder if I had never heard of these whether I would know where to start on this display let alone even notice the new additions!

Disappointingly Boots weren't stocking the full range of Matte Balm shades in store. They only had 8 in store although they have 10 shades online (HERE). One of the two missing shades was Mischievous - which typically was the shade I was most excited about.

Two of the other shades I'd wanted to try were Audacious and Unapologetic - although on a cold January afternoon they both looked much brighter than I expected. I was also keen on the rosy pink Elusive but decided to slam the brakes on, just buy Complex (the nude one) and wait for the inevitable 3 for 2 offer in a week or two. I know - what restraint - amazing!

I must be honest when the original Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains came out, I went crazy and bought most of them (except the bright pinks). Whilst I love a lip crayon and really liked these initially I did have an odd experience with them. As the balm started to wear off I found the stain left behind was a really bright fuchsia - even in the more natural shades such as Honey. The only colour that didn't do this was Rendezvous which is the orange balm. So I must admit I rarely wore the others as fuchsia is not a lip colour I do well.

With this in mind I thought I would approach these new Revlon Matte Balms with caution to see how they wear before splurging.

Complex is the nude shade although on my winter sun-deprived skin it looks like a peachy brown. This is still a colour I love to wear. The balm has the familiar minty smell that the original Kissable Balm Stains had, although it seemed to disappear much faster than before. I loved the mint smell of the originals although I know this wasn't to everyone's taste.

Complex felt nice on the lips when I applied it and even hours later feels quite moisturising not drying. You can feel it on your lips and if you rub them together feel like you can move the product around a little, but not like it will smear or you will leave lipstick marks on everything. This part was good! I can also confirm that there is no sign of a weird bright pink stain - also good!

But... when I looked in the mirror I could see that Complex had immediately highlighted the lines and dry patches on my lips. Very strange when it felt so nice on, I waited a while to see if it would 'melt' in a little bit. Here in lies the problem, I love the colour and the feel but it does look patchy on my lips. This is so disappointing as I want to love these!

Looking patchy? Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in Complex

This is a problem I often find with nude colours - so I don't blame it purely on the Matte Balm, perhaps a darker colour or the shinier Lacquer Balms would be kinder to my wintery lips. In fact the nude Lacquer Balm in store at Boots was called Ingenue and this was lovely!

I am glad I held back and played the waiting game. Whilst writing this post I have received a tweet from Revlon confirming that these will be full launched in Boots on the 22nd January WITH a 3 for 2 offer!!! This will make me more inclined to try Elusive, Mischievous and either Sultry or Audacious or what the hell venture into the Lacquer Balms too. I just cross my fingers that they won't all be out of stock. Oh dear restraint has gone...

The Revlon Matte Balms (all 10 shades) are available online at Boots HERE and the Lacquer Balms (all 10 shades) HERE.

Have you tried these? Did you find these went patchy on your lips? Did anyone else experience the weird fuchsia stain thing with the original Kissable Balm Stains - I'd love to know!

Just Released!! Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm Stains

Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm Stain

I can't tell you how excited I am to get my hands on these new Revlon Colorburst Matte Balms

I have been reading reviews and hype about them for a couple of months and finally they are released in the UK! I believe the official release date was supposed to be 22nd January, but they have already appeared on the Boots website (HERE).

I have been reading great reviews over at Lily Melrose (HERE) and Milkteef (HERE) and they have both got some amazing swatches and photos of all of the shades. I already know that I want to try the nude Complex, the orange and peachy toned Mischievous and Audacious and the pink and rosy toned Elusive and Sultry. It is safe to say that with my fair colouring I will give the bright purple Shameless a wide berth though! Such is the power of beauty bloggers - and I thank you ladies as you have made my in-store deliberating much easier now that I have a pre-planned shopping list.

So I am planning a little visit to Boots today to see whether they are also in store. They are £7.99 each and I am certain there will be a 3 for 2 offer in a week or so, but on previous experience the best shades sell out and you end up just getting 1 or 2 and paying full price anyway! Truth be told I am hugely impatient when I want something...

If I have no luck in store, thank you to the wonderful beauty bloggers out there I can order online confident that I know how the shades will look! I'll keep you posted.

Have you tried the Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm Stains? Which colours do you like?

The Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm Stains are £7.99 each and available ahead of official release date HERE.

    Psst.... I'm now back from the shops - see my review and swatches HERE!!

MAC Monday: Let's Skate Pro Longwear Paint Pot

It's MAC Monday! For this cold January day I have chosen a wintery offering from MAC - the Let's Skate Pro Longwear Paint Pot.

The MAC Paint Pots are creamy eyeshadows that apply as a cream but dry to a shadow. You can apply them with a finger but also blend them with other shadows using a brush. Let's Skate is a perfect icy shade of a pale pink with a gold shimmer running through it.

I bought this last winter and it was the first Paint Pot that I ever bought. Originally I was going to get one of the neutral shades such as Bare Study or Painterly - which are popular to use as an eyeshadow base. But as soon as I saw Let's Skate it was just too pretty to resist!

Originally part of the Glitter and Ice winter limited edition collection, it is now part of the permanent line. It swatches as a pale colour but on the eye it is a really beautiful shadow. It really comes to life when it catches the light - just take a look under some halogen lights to see what I mean!

MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot Let's Skate swatches

You can wear Let's Skate alone or under a different shadow to add some sparkle. But when you apply it - work fast! I found that this tends to dry and set quite quickly. So if you want to blend it then you have to do it quickly.

MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Let's Skate

I was a bit worried that the paint pot would crease and crepe on the eye although I was assured that it wouldn't. However, I do find it more prone to that than the Maybelline Color Tattoo 24hr cream shadows that I have, but I think its because it is a slightly drier formula. I always make sure I put on some Urban Decay Primer Potion to minimise this. The wear time is excellent and it lasts all day plus there is no fall out from the glitter either.  

I've owned Let's Skate for a year now and it is still going strong. Given it is a cream formula I store mine upside down as I heard this is the best way to stop it drying out.

Let's skate looks great on its own with a slick of gel eyeliner and mascara. For a more dramatic look you can use MAC Satin Taupe eyeshadow in the crease as the purple tones complement the pink tones of Let's Skate really well.

The MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Let's Skate (and other shades) is £15 HERE.

Have you tried Let's Skate or any of the other MAC Paint Pots? Can you recommend any other shades?

Check out my previous #MACMonday posts:

MAC Cranberry Eyeshadow HERE
MAC Huggable Lip Colours in Fresh and Frisky HERE
MAC Brick-O-La Lipstick HERE
MAC Divine Night Fluidline in Deliciously Rich HERE

Don't forget, if you want to join in MAC Monday send or tweet me your links (#MACMonday) and I will link to them here! 

Emily over at Emily Loves has joined #MACMonday this week with her post about MAC Extra Dimension Blush in the shade At Dusk HERE

Thursday, 16 January 2014

L'Oreal Miss Manga Mascara: A Review

I love mascara. If I had to choose one beauty product that I couldn't live without - it would without a doubt be mascara. So when I saw a display in Boots for the new L'Oreal Miss Manga Mascara I was immediately tempted.

I have really liked several of L'Oreal's mascaras (the False Lash Flutter Mascara and the Voluminous Mascara immediately spring to mind) so even though I hadn't seen any reviews I was happy to take a punt on it. It comes in a few bright colours such as Violet and Turquoise but I of course chose Black.

The advertising blurb is all about creating big Manga style eyes. To be honest, I'm in my 30s so the Manga thing isn't really impressing me. But big lashes - always!!

L'Oreal Miss Manga Mascara Wand

L'Oreal explain that the Miss Manga Mascara wand is cone shaped so you can use the pointed end on your lower lashes. I must admit I think mine looks a bit odd - like its been crushed and frankly a bit beaten up. The bristles seem to be different lengths and I did wonder if I'd just picked up a dud. The wand is also flexible so you can bend it to an angle to help you reach your lashes better although I don't find this necessary.

When I tried it for the first time I was quite surprised how dramatic it made my lashes look - and I liked it!

L'Oreal Miss Manga Mascara in black: before and after

In fact I found the effect so satisfyingly dramatic that for the first few days I even stopped wearing eyeliner as I liked the effect of the mascara on its own. The effect was still impressive hours later so it has good staying power too.

However, this isn't an entirely glowing report from me. I found that the wand holds too much product which creates a bit of a clumpy effect if you aren't careful. This could be part of the Manga styling thing (the advertising image below shows this a little) or perhaps I'm being too generous! I had to wipe the excess off of the wand and given the amount that came off it was a huge waste! I hope that as it dries out a little this won't happen so much.

L'Oreal's promo image for Miss Manga Mascara

I don't usually wear mascara on my lower lashes so I didn't go for their full 'manga' effect. L'Oreal make a point of providing instructions on how to use the Miss Manga Mascara - but it really is just to hold the wand horizontally at the base of the upper lashes and zigzag to the ends. This is how I've always done it so I was surprised that this would be new news to anyone. This did make me wonder whether they are aiming the product towards younger women choosing their first products (actually the manga thing should've been a bigger clue...)?

Either way so long as the mascara performs it really doesn't matter to me! I am completely happy with a drugstore mascara and whilst I like a high-end splurge on some products like foundation or lipstick - I see no need for mascara. I've had some samples of high end mascaras which really have been quite disappointing given they retail at around £25.

On the whole I like this mascara. The Manga reference doesn't interest me but if you are careful with your application you can get an impressive effect. The promo price is good too, providing you don't end up wasting so much product you have to repurchase more frequently. But fingers crossed.

L'Oreal's Miss Manga Mascara is currently at an introductory price of £5.99 (HERE).

Have you tried L'Oreal's Miss Manga Mascara?  What did you think?

Monday, 13 January 2014

MAC Monday: Cranberry Eyeshadow

It's #MAC Monday time again!

It seems that this week My Beautopia has been unintentionally dedicated to pink. Normally its not the first make up shade I reach for. But I think the rose gold and pink tones of my new Urban Decay Naked Palette 3 (see my photos HERE) have sent me experimenting in more of a pink direction. This week I have experimented with cool toned pink blusher (HERE), lusted after a warm light pink lipstick (HERE) and bagged a fantastic lip and nail diego dalla palma sale bargain - in pale pink of course (HERE)!

MAC Cranberry Eyeshadow

So for MAC Monday this week there really could only be one theme - Pink!! I mentioned in my Naked Palette 3 post that I had only one criticism and that was it lacked a shade like MAC's Cranberry eyeshadow.  I had been thinking about picking up Cranberry for a while and last week just decided to take the plunge. Having rummaged through my hefty shadow collection looking for something similar (and failing) in the end I decided just to pick up the original.

I would never normally choose a shade like this as I am usually trying to eradicate all hints of red and pink from my complexion. My natural pink tones clash with pink or red toned colours I try to wear. I often use Smashbox's green toned Colour Correcting Primer (HERE) to neutralise my skin tone. That said, I feel that if I manage to neutralise my complexion then I can start to introduce colours I would normally avoid. This is where MAC's Cranberry eyeshadow comes in.

Cranberry has a frost finish and is a warm pinky red with coppery tones. It is a really versatile shade that you can use all over the lid with a dark crease and outer corner - making it a touch of colour in a bold smokey eye. Or for a more everyday look you can use it as a crease colour with a neutral lid to subtly give some depth. I have blue eyes and it really brings out their colour if you do this. It is really pigmented but you can go as bold or as subtle as you like. But you will need your trusty blending brush to hand for the best results!

MAC Pro Palette Eyeshadow System

I love MAC eyeshadows, the pigmentation is good, they apply and blend well and they really last all day. I tend to buy them in the Pro Palette format, so they come in the cardboard sleeve. If you aren't familiar with these - the round pan then sits into one of the MAC Pro Palettes via a magnet. I have a 15 shade palette which is now full, so I also bought a 4 shade palette just to put a couple of eyeshadows in if I was travelling. I calculated that the total value of a full 15 pan palette was £165-ish, so unless you need to transport all of those shades with you, a smaller palette is a safer idea. You can of course buy each shade in an individual pot for a couple of pounds more.

To wear MAC Cranberry but avoid looking like I have pink eye or have been sobbing, I like to use it as a crease colour. To create the look in the pictures below I used MAC Orb - a pale matte pinky-nude all over the lid and socket. To warm up the lid I used Toasted from Urban Decay's first Naked Palette. Toasted is a pinky toned brown shimmer, but you could use other similar colours such as MAC's Sable.

Urban Decay's Toasted Eyeshadow swatch and the trusty MAC 217 Blending Brush

MAC's Cranberry eyeshadow used as a subtle crease colour

Then I applied MAC Cranberry to the crease and used the MAC 217 Blending Brush to blend it in and soften the edges. I used a MAC 210 Precise Eyeliner Brush to apply a thin line of brown gel eyeliner and then to finish it off - black mascara on the top lashes only. Voila! A lovely every day look.

I really love MAC Cranberry used like this and finished off with pink blusher and dusty pink lipstick it is a great pink themed look. Who would've thought that this former pink-phobic would be converted!

Have you tried MAC Cranberry? I'd love to see your pictures and tutorials - so do send your links over.

If you want to try it for yourself MAC Cranberry and other shades are available as Pro-Palette eyeshadows for £10 HERE or as individual eyeshadows for £12.50 HERE

The Pro-Palette is £6.50 for 4 shadows HERE or for 2 shadows HERE.

The MAC 217 Blending Brush is £18 HERE. MAC 210 Precise Eyeliner Brush is £16.50 HERE.

Don't forget it you are doing a MAC post on a Monday, join #MACMonday - send me your link and I will link to it from here! Last week's post about MAC's Huggable Lipcolours (HERE) was the most read post of the week so I know you all love a good MAC-fest!

In which case take a look a other recent MAC Monday posts:

MAC Brick-O-La Lipstick HERE
MAC Divine Night Fluidline in Deliciously Rich HERE
MAC Huggable Lip Colours in Fresh and Frisky HERE

Friday, 10 January 2014

Diego dalla palma Lipstick and Nail Enamel Kit

If you saw my lip gloss post a few weeks ago (HERE) you will remember that the diego dalla palma brand is a new discovery for me. I first discovered it whilst browsing the beauty aisles in Marks and Spencer and was really impressed.

Before Christmas I saw a beautiful Lipstick and Nail Enamel Kit in Pink Mix and immediately started lusting over it (and tweeting about it!). Sadly Santa didn't notice - but I was lucky enough to come across the set in the sales after Christmas!

Product Image
diego dalla palma Lipstick and Nail Enamel Kit in Pink Mix

The Marks and Spencer beauty sale was actually pretty good and I also picked up some great Autograph mousse eyeshadow and lipsticks. I would imagine that stock would be running pretty low by now, so get down there asap if you want to take a look as I can't find them on their website.

I posted yesterday about my interest in overcoming my fear of pink lipsticks (HERE) to find one that I can carry off. Then I remembered I hadn't tested my little diego dalla palma duo yet!

The lipstick is numbered 46 and the nail polish is 25 although the shades don't have names on the packaging.

diego dalla palma Lipstick in shade 46

The lipstick looks darker in the tube and the swatch than it does on the lips. It is a pale pink with a cool tone to it. It feels moisturising on the lips and has a vanilla smell which reminds me of a MAC lipstick. In fact I was keen to compare it against MAC Hue - the only other pale pink MAC lipstick I own. But actually Hue is a paler peachier tone and diego dalla palma 46 is a cooler rosier shade. I have been wearing the diego dalla palma today, and even though it is cool toned and verging into lilac territory - I think I'm pulling it off. Perhaps this is a new thing to explore for me. How bright can I go?!

diego della palma Lipstick Shade 46 vs MAC Hue

The nail polish is a beautiful baby pink, which is not as opaque as Essie Fiji but a couple of coats gives a great natural french polish appearance. The brush is regular - nothing fancy, but it applies well and doesn't go streaky. This shade would be perfect for weddings or the office or just day to day. It certainly makes a change to the bold glittery shades of December!

diego dalla palma Nail Polish in Shade 25

This is a great gift set and they do a similar one in bright red if that is more your thing. I was really chuffed to pick this up in the sales for just £7 reduced from £20. Diego dalla palma lipsticks are usually £15 each and the nail polishes are usually £10.50 each - so this is an amazing bargain!

Interested? Well the really good news is that I have just spied that this has been reduced even further and is now just £5 HERE!!!

Have you spotted any great sale bargains? Or do you have any diego dalla palma reviews - because I would love to read them?

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Hunting for the Perfect Pink Lip

You know when something catches your eye and you just have to have it? You have no idea what its called or where to get it from, but you will Google it to death until you stalk it down.

The object of lust this time was a bright pink lipstick. If you have read my blog before you may remember that pink lipstick scares me. I go for nudes, browns, peaches or on occasion coral - but pink? No.

But then yesterday I was watching ITV at lunchtime and a little trailer came on with a close up of a woman having her lips painted a bright pink colour. I found myself just staring at the colour - it was amazing. Embarrassingly I turned on the TV at the same time today hoping to get a better look and ahem... took some photos of my TV so I could think about the colour some more.

ITV's trailer featuring the mysterious pink lipstick

I am certain that I cannot carry off a blue toned pink, but I have tried. I bought MAC's Girl About Town because it looked so good on Tanya Burr in one of her videos. In fact it looked quite natural on her - but on me it is practically fluorescent! It sits safely amongst my MAC collection, still waiting for me to dare to wear it outside the house.

I have a L'Oreal Glam Shine Stain Splash in Infinite Fuschia. I love these stain/glosses and decided to be brave and try a bright fuschia. This shade isn't even available in the UK so I made my husband track it down for me when he was working in Australia. But I have only worn it once and felt quite self conscious about it all evening (helped by a comment from a family member along the lines of 'its a bit bright isn't it').

I also have various dodgy frosty-pinks that I have accumulated from free gifts over the years. They all remain tested but unworn. It is so frustrating to get a free gift from a brand like Clinique only to find the lipstick is just a hideous shade! As a child of the 80s perhaps it is too reminiscent of big hair, perms and frosty lips. If you remember things the first time round then it is hard to embrace the revival.

Then there is that sort of Glamour Model, Barbie doll, dare I say Porno look. You know what I mean, anyway that is SO not what I want to achieve... All of this has added to my fear of pink lipsticks.

But when I saw the ITV trailer I just loved the colour. It seems a warm pink to me, not too blue toned and I wondered whether I could pull it off.

I had a little snoop around Boots today swatching away trying to find a similar colour, but couldn't find 'the one'. For a paler lip I prefer a moisturising shiny finish where as I think darker colours look better in a matte finish.

Too Faced La Creme Color Drenched Lip Cream - Naked Dolly (28g)
Too Faced La Creme Lipstick in Naked Dolly

I found myself drawn to the Too Faced display. I found some great La Creme lipsticks in their Nudes, Pinks and Spices ranges. I loved the slim gold metal tubes and the formula seemed nice and glossy. (They aren't on the Boots website for some reason but you can also find them in Debenhams HERE if you want to see the shades). I was quite drawn to Naked Dolly and Juicy Melons, although I thought Naked Dolly may not be pink enough and Juicy Melons may be too dark. But at £18 I would have to be really sure I was getting the right shade.

Next stop was Smashbox. Their Be Legendary lipstick in Posy Pink seemed to be a good shade (in Boots HERE). But again at £15.50 I would want to be sure it was the right pink for me.

Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick in Posy Pink

The only thing is that I am lusting after a sunshiny-pink lipstick, but I have a completely different skin tone to the model in the ITV trailer. The model has a darker skin tone where as I am fair, and colours always seem to look brighter on me.

So I'm confused and I'm hoping you can help me with this one. Can you suggest a lipstick that matches the one in the trailer?

Is it in fact a coral and am I barking up the wrong tree completely? Even if I track it down, would it suit my colouring...?


Tuesday, 7 January 2014

MUA Blusher - A Review

MUA is a brand which intrigues me. It lurks away in the back corner of my local Superdrug. The display is frankly festering - there is never any stock and what is there is just bashed up testers or things people have opened and used.
MUA Blusher in Lolly and Candyfloss

After that glowing review you are probably wondering why on earth you would look twice at the brand. I have mainly blogged about high end products so far, but I love a good high street / drugstore offering too. I have to say that the MUA products I have tried are actually quite good. They are also unbelievably cheap!

There are lipsticks for £1, eyeshadow palettes for £4, foundation for £2. Incredible - but I do think you have to choose carefully, although at those prices perhaps you can just take a punt! I haven't tried everything (remember the shoddy out of stock display I just mentioned...?). But most recently I picked up a couple of MUA Blushers in Lolly and Candyfloss.

Top: Lolly, Bottom: Candyfloss

Unlike my eyeshadow & lipstick stash, I only have a couple of blushers in my collection. It is one area where I manage restraint - how many do you need? However, I normally choose peachier tones to warm up my complexion.

I had been wondering whether I could pull off a paler rosier pink. Blue toned pink lipsticks terrify me, but for some reason I thought it would be a good wintery blush option. Picking up a cheapie seemed like an ideal way to experiment. Seeing as these are only £1 each I thought I may as well also pick up one closer to the normal shade I would wear (did I just say how many do you need? ahem...) - and so I chose Lolly, a peachier warm tone and Candyfloss a cool blue toned pink.

My main gripe with these are the practicalities. The blushes are quite small which makes it harder to get a normal sized blush brush evenly covered without risking overloading it. That is of course if you can get the damn thing open in the first place! I broke 2 nails trying to prise mine open, but I guess once you've got the knack...

After that things got better. The powder isn't as tightly pressed as some other blushes meaning a lot goes onto the brush. I discovered this the first time I used the blue-pink one and instantly looked like I'd developed a rash. Warning - its easy to over-apply!

MUA Blusher in Lolly and Candyfloss

That said, the colour pay-off is good. I compared the two shades to the pinkest blusher I already owned - Benefit Dandelion and found it quite hard to get a good swatch of the Benefit one.

Swatch comparison of MUA vs Benefit

It is a little tricky to see in this picture, but MUA Candyfloss is a deeper blue-pink than Benefit Dandelion, and MUA Lolly is a peachier shade. In fact I would say that Benefit's Dandelion is a cross of the two MUA shades.

I'm not sure that wear time is as good as other blushers I have tried, and I still prefer my favourite Bourjois Cream Blush (HERE) in Nude Velvet but for the price difference the MUA Blushers did well.

Overall I am impressed with these. I can't believe they only cost £1 each where as the Benefit Dandelion blusher was £23.50 (HERE if you are interested). It is definitely worth picking up a couple to try different shades or to just throw in various bags in case you want them on the go.

MUA Blusher comes in 6 original shades (just numbered 1-6 but no names) and 6 new shades were released last year which are: Marshmallow (Pink), Bon Bon (Apricot), Lolly (Soft Orange), Cupcake (Soft Peach), Candyfloss (Pink Shimmer) & Bubblegum (Coral Rose Pink).

MUA Blushers are available from Superdrug HERE or direct from MUA HERE.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Eve Lom TLC Cream

I will admit that unlike other beauty products I am not fanatical about skincare. I will happily buy premium brand lipsticks or foundation (or eyeshadow come to think of it) but my lotions and potions are always the high street options and I am generally happy with this.

Eve Lom TLC Cream

I will also admit that I had never heard of Eve Lom until I had an email from Lookfantastic promoting 10% off Eve Lom products. It was then I remembered that I had been given a sample of Eve Lom TLC Cream when I had a little spree in Space NK recently.

I decided to dig it out and give it a whirl. To do an unbiased test I wanted to see what I thought before I had a look at any reviews or even looked up the price. So today was the day...

The sachet suggested you use the cream after your morning cleanse or 'preferably' at night. Now it is January my skin is pretty dry and needy, so I thought I'd try it at both times. My usual Olay cream isn't quite cutting it at the moment so I had been thinking about finding something more nourishing.

The instructions suggest you hold the cream between your fingers for a moment before dabbing it onto your skin. I guess this must be to warm it slightly. The cream feels pretty regular on your fingers, but as soon as I started applying it to my face it felt quite sticky and difficult to spread. But actually I quite liked that it felt 'more' than other creams and serums I have tried and even now several hours later I can feel it on my skin.

The only thing is - damn I'm shiny! When I applied it this morning I intended to put on foundation as normal, but the cream just felt a little too heavy to apply foundation over the top. I waited to see if it would sink in at all, but it didn't so in the end I decided to skip the foundation and just have a blotchy and shiny day...

Eve Lom TLC Cream Sachet

Although shiny, the cream is not oily on the skin and is very moisturising. With my shiny face in mind I would suggest this is an excellent night cream but best skipped in the morning. The good news is that a little goes a long way which means my 5ml sachet should last a few days and give me chance to see whether this cream really helps my skin. Also looking at the price of the full sized version this is a pretty generous sample worth around £5 (so thanks Space NK!)

Once I'd tested the cream for myself I did a little Googling and could see that this is a cream designed for 'maturing or deeply needy skin'. That explains the formulation although makes me paranoid as to why the girl in Space NK decided this was the sample for me!

The cream particularly encourages you to use it on the neck and decolletage. It claims to reduce redness and puffiness, improve skin resilience and soften fine dry lines. The Eve Lom website also suggests the TLC Radiance Cream as a day cream which backs up my feelings about this one as a night cream.

The Eve Lom TLC Cream is usually £55 for 50ml but Lookfantastic have 10% off for a limited time HERE.

MAC Monday: Huggable Lipcolour in Fresh and Frisky

MAC have released a lot of limited edition collections recently, normally I let them pass me by. But there have been 3 releases in the past month or two that have really got me excited. The first was the Divine Night Collection, but I was late to the party on that one and missed out on the Private Party berry toned lipstick. However I did snap up the Fluidline in Deliciously Rich - a pretty, dirty-bronze gel eyeliner that is best used as a cream shadow (see my MAC Monday post about that HERE). Amazingly, given recent experience this is still available HERE.

Then came the Magnetic Nudes Collection - I read about this weeks ago but only yesterday decided I really needed a beautiful lipstick called Sensual Sparks and it is SOLD OUT EVERYWHERE. Gutted. It was an great brown nude gold tones. Swatch photos online looked amazing. I still live in hope I may track this down to a counter somewhere... The collection was only released a few days ago and seemingly sold out immediately online. My nearest MAC counter is 40 miles away (I know!) so it really would be an act of desperation for me to travel that far specifically for a lipstick. Mind you, it wouldn't be the first time.

So this time having learned my lesson I decided to pounce on MAC's Huggable Lipcolours as soon as I had chosen the shade I liked. The Huggable Lipcolours come in 12 different shades and claim to cling to your lips for up to 6 hours. I found a great Allura video on YouTube that live swatched all of the shades (see below or click HERE if the video doesn't show on your device). Having watched this a few times I decided that I would like try an every day nude type colour and was torn between Touche a pale beige colour and Fresh and Frisky - a neutral peach.  I thought that Touche may be too pale for me as I struggle with really pale nudes, so I chose Fresh and Frisky as thinking ahead a little I think it will be really pretty for Spring.

I hate to buy a lipstick which I have never seen in the flesh, it is a huge gamble especially when they are at a premium price. This is actually how I started getting interested in beauty blogs a couple of years ago - looking at the real-life swatches online really helps me to judge whether the shade will suit me.

I know I've said it before, but when I buy make up online I often try Debenhams as I like to use my Beauty Club Card to collect points to turn into discounts. Sometimes there are bonus point offers and you also get free delivery codes (see HERE for Beauty Club info). They have also finally improved it so you can also redeem points online, because it was a HUGE pain the rear before.

But Debenhams failed me at the time and had none of the Huggable Lipcolours online at all (they do now have some HERE). So next port of call was House of Fraser, who luckily had some in stock (see HERE). The MAC website also had some in stock too, but delivery was almost £4 unless you spend over £30 (which I wasn't), where as I can click and collect for free from House of Fraser. It did mean I had to venture out in the January rain but it was worth it to get my package just 24 hours later and all in time for MAC Monday!

MAC Huggable Lipcolour in Fresh and Frisky

First impressions were good. The lipstick comes in a metal tube rather than the standard MAC black plastic bullet. I like the feel of the metal tube and it is a really attractive iridescent silvery purple. This and the satisfying click when you push the top on makes the product feel a bit more 'premium'. It also has the trademark MAC vanilla scent. From the first swatch the texture was soft, glossy and moisturising although the colour seemed quite sheer compared to what I was expecting.

MAC Huggable Lipcolour in Fresh and Frisky

On the lips the coverage wasn't fully opaque but it certainly gave a good colour. Fresh and Frisky was exactly the shade I hoped it would be (thank God for those online swatches!) and is a pretty but very wearable daytime peachy nude. The formula feels moisturising and sets to a sort of balm or gel and has a glossy appearance. It doesn't feel like its going to slide all over your face and doesn't come off as soon as you have a drink like some balms. The wear time is a few hours (although more if you don't eat or drink). This is better than I expected and longer than my other MAC lipsticks, except perhaps for the mattes. The glossy feeling even lasted after a meal which is pretty good. Perhaps the darker shades have even better lasting power?

This shade Fresh and Frisky is quite similar to MAC's Shy Girl lipstick although the Huggable Lipcolour formula is much glossier.

I own two other peachy MAC lipsticks so I swatched them together to compare them. Fresh and Frisky is the peachier of the three although the formula gives more of a sheer colour so it doesn't appear as bright on the lips, although you can layer it up. In comparison Freckletone is more brown and Shy Girl is less pink.

I really like MAC's Huggable Lipcolours although I have no idea why they are only a limited edition collection. The formula does seem to cling to your lips more than MAC's regular lipsticks but without being drying. In fact it reminds of the amazing YSL Glossy Stains once they have set on your lips.

Having tried Fresh and Frisky and been really impressed I would like to try one of the brighter colours. As the formula has a sheer but lasting quality, the brighter colours would be easier to wear than a full on matte opaque colour.

These are selling really fast so don't make my mistake - if you want one, get it fast! They cost £17.50 and you can get hold of them HERE or there are now more colours HERE.

**UPDATE: Since writing this post I have also succumbed to another shade - the beautiful Out For Passion. Take a peak HERE.**

Have you tried the Huggable Lipcolours? Send me your links or recommendations for other colours! Don't forget to join in #MAC Monday - tweet or email me and I will link to your posts!

#MACMonday Bloggers:

Emily over at Emily Loves has joined #MACMonday with her review of MAC's Creme Cup Lipstick HERE