Thursday, 31 July 2014

Is It Just Me? #1 - Models Own Hyper Gel Nail Polish

No-one likes a negative Nigel, that’s for sure.  Many people review products that they absolutely love, and I for one am guilty of that as a newbie blogger.  It’s hard when you just want to shout your fave products from the rooftops and pretty much shove them in everyone’s face.  But sometimes when perusing reviews/blogs en general for a purchase, “5 star reviews” aren’t overly helpful or that informative, and it’s annoying when the hyped products just aren’t for you.  I’ve decided to start a series as titled above “Is It Just Me?” *captain obvious* chatting with you about products that to me have been a little (and a lot) disappointing to me.




First up is the Models Own HyperGel nail polishes.  Lord knows I love a good Shellac, so when a good brand like Models Own brought out their HyperGel range I went my pants with excitement (not literally) and got cracking on reading reviews.  10/10 from everyone I read.  More excitement for the weekend’s purchase!  Classic Boots 3 for 2 meant I could get my mits on, and justify, three of them.  I chose Coral Glaze, Pink Veneer and Naked Glow.  It was a hard decision as they had a really good variety of colours but I went with some of my faves, as if they were going to be as good as everyone had said I would want them in my staple nail colours.

I already owned a couple of nail varnishes from Models Own, with my favourites being the Ice Neon collection.  They applied like a dream, dried super quick and had lasting power.  Surely adding a gel into the mix was going to make these super invincible for months?! (I exaggerate, weeks would be more precise).

But no. No, no, no.  I don’t know if I am doing something wrong with these babies but I have tried with base, without base, with top coat, without top coat, thin layers, thick layers and I just cannot get them to look nice.  They applied really streaky to my nails with brush marks fully visible (I don’t like my nails to make me look like I’m a polish novice because I’m not!) and took ages to dry.  Definitely not a “quick before bed” polish choice. 

In terms of staying power, I painted these last Thursday before a party on Saturday and I am sat here tip tapping away like chippy tramp-hands.  Not a good look and something that personally winds me up on people (apologies to myself). I was hoping for a solid week at least!

If anyone has any tips for how they snake charmed these to work for them then please let me know, but for the time being my colour selection will not be broadening and I don’t think they will be seeing the light of day any time soon. 


Have you tried these before? What were your thoughts?

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

03 Is A Magic Number...

This little gem had been hiding in my lipstick collection for a while.  All I can do is apologise to myself for not cracking it out sooner, as this is now my favourite lipstick in the world.  I’m going to keep this post short and sweet as I really have nothing bad to say about it!



The Kate Moss’ Rimmel lipsticks have been reviewed and loved by many. Fair play and high praise – the colour selection is great and the quality is really good for the high street!




03 in the Lasting Finish collection is by far my favourite. A super affordable nude that is now my right hand lipstick and fail safe for all occasions. Cue the classic ‘my lips but better’ line but I think this really is true.  You can’t tell from the photos, but in natural daylight it does remind me of the ‘Kylie Jenner’ colour that everyone has been falling over themselves to find.



I find the smell is pleasant and it does have some staying power.  I’ve got three doing the rounds between handbags and make up bags so that I’m always covered.  I picked mine up for £5.49 from Boots but there’s always some sort of deals doing the rounds in one of the drug stores so I’d definitely recommend this if you’re looking for a nude that’s not too orangey.  

Do you have any favourite nudes you think I need to check out?  I'm always on the hunt to build my collection!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Twice As Nice...

A few Saturdays ago Lauren and I ventured off to Bristol for a much needed shopping trip!  I had decided that I wanted to finally take the plunge and treat myself to a MAC lipstick… or two!

I had a few ideas of the ones I wanted to get (which naturally were completely forgotten due to the sheer excitement!) so I got swatching to see which colours I liked and suited me best.  I really couldn't decide whether I wanted to get a bright, stand out colour or a subtle nude which are always my "go to"... So I got both, and I could not be smugger.

The Nude - Shanghai Spice Cremesheen Lipstick




I was completely overwhelmed by the choice of nudes that were in MAC, and it wasn't even large compared to some of the stores!  After much umming and arrring I went with Shanghai Spice.  It was the only one I kept picking up time and time again forgetting I’d swatched it, so went with my gut instinct despite not reading much about it before hand (shock horror, I usually like a good few reviews to give me an idea of the purchase ahead).  It's a lovely warm pinky peachy nude, and is a warmer version of my favourite ever nude lipstick (Rimmel Kate moss 03... blog post to follow!!) it suits my warm skin tone really well and isn't overly drying. Some nude lipsticks can make you look like you’ve got chapped lips or can look really light and painty (if you know what I mean... Concealer smeared lips anyone?) But this one applies so well, which I completely expected from MAC!  A definite repurchase for when this one’s gone!

No Flash

Flash


The Bright – Morange Amplified Crème Lipstick 




There are many bright staple MAC lipsticks that are lusted over in the world of beauty blogs like Lady Danger, Ruby Woo and All Fired Up.  Taking a practical and sensible approach to the selection (faint) I discounted any "similars" that I already had (*cough* enough reds to last me a life time *cough*).  Morange was one I had seen on many beauty blogs and videos, and my choice was swayed once swatched.  A lovely orangey red, perfect for my warm skin tone and the summer ahead!  One swipe of colour and this baby is opaque on your lips leaving a bright, punchy summer pout.


No Flash

Flash

£30 for two lipsticks certainly isn't high street drug store prices, but are well worth it in my opinion.  I can feel that these two lovelies are going to be my ‘go-tos’ this summer and are perfect for taking away but having both "bright and natural" lip bases covered.  Easy!  I can't wait to build my MAC lipstick collection up further!

What are your favourite MAC lipstick colours?  Are there any more you think I definitely need to try?

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

An Offering From ELF: The Contouring Blush and Bronzing Powder...

Following on from my last post (a slack two weeks later...) I thought I’d review the ELF Contouring Blush & Bronzing Powder duo, a very similar offering to the Nars duo at a snip of the price.

ELF Turks and Caicos Contouring Blush and Bronzing Powder Duo £3.95 (link)

On the ELF website the colours look very similar to the bronzer and blusher duos that are on the Nars site.  Points to ELF for providing a selection of shades and colours, unlike some cheaper make up brands.

 I chose the shade Turks & Caicos, which has a peachy shimmery blush and a dark but warm bronzer (light hand needed as I later found out…!).  Other shades available are St Lucia, which looks perfect for light skinned girls with natural blush and light bronzer, and Antigua, which is a bright pink blush for that pop of colour teamed with what looks like the same dark bronzer as Turks and Caicos.  I am fully aware that most people have blogged that the St Lucia is the ‘dupeyest’ of them all, so perhaps if you’re looking for an exact colour match then go for that one.  However as I though this would be too light for my skin tone and wasn’t looking to purchase a dupe.



On first glance in to your make up bag you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the Nars and the ELF in terms or packaging.  Sturdy, black, plastic outer? Check.  Nice big mirror? Check.  Initial appearances are good!

The first contrast I noticed between the Nars duo and ELF duo is the texture.  ELF is very quick to powder and crumble when swirling your brush, meaning that with constant use it probably won’t last that long. The Nars powders are more solid yet still give a good colour pay off.  However for £3.95 I don’t think there’s much room for complaining!

The blush I was very surprised with.  I usually like to have stronger orange/coral cheek colours as I personally think it makes me look a lot healthier.  As you can see, this ELF blush doesn’t look like it would provide what I’m after, maybe a half hearted attempt but nothing more.  However, after applying I was really happy with the result it gave me, almost an inner glow in a very natural colour with a hint of shimmer (highlighter could be used but wouldn't be missed!).  Both Orgasm and Turks & Caicos have made me happy on the blusher front and both aren’t colours I’d necessarily reach for.

The bronzer.  Oh the bronzer.  I was really excited to try this after the blush.  My ideal cheap duo finally here to make my life easier, could it be?  Oh no.. no, no, no.  Remember earlier when I mentioned ‘quick to crumble?  You need an extremely light hand with this bronzer, as a little goes a verryyy long way as you can see from the swatches.  It’s quite hard to buff in once you apply it too, so be super careful.  Perhaps if you’re going for a severe contour look then this is for you, but when you’re running out the door to work you don’t ideally want two brown stripes under your cheek bones and some brown smears around your forehead!  Nars Laguna that I’ve previously reviewed is a lot easier to get just right as it doesn’t go on to heavy, can be built up and can be easily buffed out

Without Flash

With Flash

For £3.95 I don’t think can you really go wrong with this one, and despite my bronzer mishaps I am tempted to purchase in the other two colours to see if this differs.  I now know that I need to be very light with the bronzer so maybe with more perseverance I’ll final conquer the application?!  I’m always getting emails from ELF too about one promotion or another so a deal is definitely to be had especially if you’re adding this to an ELF shopping list! However, if you are looking to invest and cost isn’t an issue for you then I would definitely recommend going for the Nars duos as the quality is really good.


Are there any high brand ELF dupes that you’ve loved? I’d love to expand my collection!

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

My First Nars..

Nars ASOS Exclusive Bronzer Blush Duo £30 (link)


Nars Laguna (link)
Nars Orgasm (link)

Do you ever have those items in your ASOS saved list that you are 100% in love with but never can commit to buying?  This was it for me.  I had been lusting after this beaut for ages, forever calling out my name when I went through my saved list, or fancied “treating myself*” to a purchase, but I had never managed to make the saved-list-to-basket move.

(*nb making a “I've worked hard and deserve a treat” purchase every week probably doesn't quality as a treat and more a buying addiction).

After much deliberation the purchase decision came from three things - 
1. ASOS 30% off beauty event (big up… I filled my boots!). 
2. My determination not to miss another discount. 
3. Lauren adding to my justification/easily persuaded (check her blog out here).


This is my first Nars product, so I was super excited to see what everyone raves about.   Combining two of the cult Nars items (Orgasm blush and Laguna bronzer) I could already sense good things about this bad boy pre-box open.




The packaging is super sturdy (could definitely take a few handbag/make up bag bashings and still be fine) and there is a lovely big mirror for on the go touch ups (or as I found, full make-up application at the boyfriend’s house due to his poorly placed mirror)

I know I’m repeating every other blogger about these two when I describe them, but they are simply as beautiful as everyone says.  Laguna is a warm bronzer that really sculpts the face and adds that pop of natural ‘post sun glow’ minus the tango/mud look that many people are wary of with bronzers.   Orgasm is a shimmery pinky blush which makes you look natural and healthy.  I know that’s an awful description but it’s true.  The two of these just go hand in hand together to make you look healthy, sun kissed, and radiant.  To be completely honest I was a little bit worried when I saw Orgasm in the pan, as it’s a lot more pink than any blush I would ever choose for myself (I tend to stick to oranges/corals/ nudes for my warm skin tone) but somehow it just works.  The pink in the pan isn't as pink as it turns out when applied, which definitely contributes to how it looks so natural.  There is some shimmer to it, as you can see in the swatch photos below, but I personally really like this.

Without flash 

 With flash

I had always been a benefit bronzer and blush girl when it comes to higher end make up, but since getting my hands on this I would say I couldn't pick a side. I would definitely consider re-purchasing these once I hit the pan as they are such a great combination together.  It can be quite tricky picking a complimenting blush and bronzer from a brand that you've never swatched as sometimes the cult items that you’d be tempted by don’t always look right when worn at once, but this duo makes it so much easier as they’re already paired.   I’ll definitely be looking to expand my Nars collection now!


What Nars products have you tried and what products are your favourite?

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

CCcrazy for CC cream...

Me and BB creams have never got on.  From the first one I ever tired(highly anticipated Garnier BB cream I'm looking at youthey haven't lived up to my expectations.  I know they aren't for coverage but no matter how I applied them (hands/sponge/brush) I just couldn't make them work.  They left me looking sticky and shiny even though I have dry skin.  Any colour that was in them went streaky down my face.  To finish it off, my preferred skin look is matte, so as I'm sure you can tell BBs were pretty much dead in the water.


When CC creams came onto the scene a while ago I completely dismissed them, assuming the hype would be exactly the same as it was with the BBs and I would be underwhelmed. 




But SHUT THE FRONT DOOR.  I am converted *raises hands in praise-the-lawd style*. Let me introduce to you my new BFFs.  Bourjois CC cream and CC eye cream.  This stuff is insane and my new secret face recipe (not so secret now!).






(completely blended in like a dream!)

In terms of coverage it's not up there with the heavy bases so bear that in mind if that's more your thing, but the three colour correction pigments in there provide a really flawless airbrushed finish (apricot for anti fatigue, green for anti red and white for anti dark FYI).  It feels really light on the skin and can be easily worked in with fingers or buffed in with a brush to help achieve the 'perfect skin' illusion.  It also smells really fresh and clean too (with an added bonus of SFP15 for the daytime).






Hand in hand comes the CC eye cream.  This is a recent purchase for me and came after the CC cream (I thank you, ASOS 30% off beauty!).  I am paranoid about my eye bags.  Sadly I can't blame them on genetics or inheritance, it's just because I'm tired all the time. I wake up and think about when I'll have a nap.  I get to work and all day think of napping.  At the gym when I can't breath I just keep myself going with the promise of a nap. So I need some pretty hefty eye baggage cover. The CC cream isn't as thick and heavy like some of my concealers (sorry Collection Lasting Perfection concealer, I still have so much love for you too!) but applies really nicely under the eye with a great coverage over or under the CC base('blends well' box ticked right there!).


(slightly lighter shade to brighten my eyes)

My only two annoyances are with the packaging/applicator. Having a twist bottom concealer really annoys me as I can't see how much product I have left, but who am I kidding, it's definitely not a deal breaker!  The second annoyance is with the nip tip.  I don't know how to explain this, but it's very similar to some lip gloss tubes. It's definitely not the best to distribute the product round you eye, as you have to go for dots rather than lines and can get a little messy with product (a light touch needed on the twist bottom if you're a bit clumsy like me).  A brush top would have been 100% welcome ( a la similar concealers/highlighters on the market). 






I know some people aren't enamoured with Bourjois' shade selections, so that could be a slight annoyance but once the CC is buffed in I think there would be a shade that could suit nearly everyone.  Whines aside, this dynamic duo have now become staples in both week day and weekend make up routines as they give me a lovely natural glow and make me feel flawless (I woke up like this, I woke up like this). I can't see myself abandoning them any time soon.