Thursday, 30 September 2010

Cute Pumps!

I spotted these a few weeks ago in House of Fraser and it was instant love but when I checked the price - £80, they were more then what I would usually spend on flats so I passed on that occasion.
Today however there was 20% off in their spectacular event so I took advantage and here they are:

I love ballet pumps and these look a bit different with the metal chain bow detail.
They are from Ted Baker (I think shoes are a new thing for them, as I don't remember them ever doing shoes before).

They have a suede upper so I will not be wearing these in the rain!
Super comfy and cute, I am very happy with these.

Monday, 27 September 2010

NOTD: Dior Vernis in Aztec Chocolate

While browsing at the Dior counter on Saturday, a few of their nail polishes caught my eye - Aztec Chocolate (886), being one of them.

2 coats (not sure what that line is on middle finger, I think it's picked up from camera flash)
Aztec Chocolate (love the name) is a beautiful taupey/dirty-brown sort of shade (in real life it looks less browner and more taupey then my pic), with very faint golden tones which give it a more dimensional quality. It applies well with no streaking and is opaque in 2 coats. I can't comment much on the lasting power as I've only worn it just over a day, but so far there is no tip wear. I have found generally that Dior's nail polishes last well (in my opinion I much prefer Dior's quality over Chanel).

Dior have recently revamped their nail polish line up with new shades and a change to the brush with a more wider, flatter style and rounded brush end (like Sally Hansen's Salon Manicure polishes), which makes it a bit easier to apply neatly near the base of the nail.

This was £16.50 and is 10ml.

Disclaimer: Purchased by me

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Quick Pretty Eyes: Sue Devitt Eye Intensifier - Laos

Sue Devitt Eye Intensifier - Laos

This is a beautiful deep bronzey brown with a slight metallic finish and very fine shimmer. My pics don't really do the colour justice as it looks so much more gorgeous in real life.

I use this all over the lid and to line the eyes and I absolutely love it. It is so quick to apply in the morning and gives a lovely intense finish to the eyes. It goes on very smoothly, is very well pigmented and surprisingly it lasted incredibly well on my oily lids - I applied it about 7.30am and it was still there when I got home about 7pm, it had slightly faded but overall I was hugely impressed as I had not used any base at all under this.

Here I have used it all over the lid and lower lash line then lined the upper lash line with MAC's Kohl Power pencil in Feline. The mascara is the new No7 Exceptional Definition.

this one shows the tone of the brown better as the colour is a bit deeper then above pic

There are quite a lot of shades in the Eye Intensifier especially more browny/bronzey shades which look as though they might be the same but swatch differently.
At £17.50, it is slightly more then what I am used to paying for a similar item, but in comparison to something like a MAC Shadestick or Illamasqua's Fat Pencils, the finish with Sue Devitt is better.

Disclaimer: Purchased by me

Friday, 17 September 2010

Ren ClearCalm 3 Anti-Blemish Skincare: 4 Weeks In

Acne. Blemishes. Spots. Zits. Break-outs. Whatever you like to call it, my skin has been plagued by this pesky condition since my teens. While it has settled down considerably now I am in my late twenties, I still get smaller spots every now and then and I have been left with scarring, redness and uneven skintone from previous break-outs.
So when I discovered that my fave skincare brand Ren were coming out with an anti-blemish range, I naturally was very excited. Ren's new ClearCalm 3 range is designed to combat the 3 key causes of breakouts and blemishes: excess sebum, build up of dead skin cells, blemish-causing bacteria and it does this without harshness.
This launched on 1st September, but Selfridges had this a couple of weeks earlier so I bought the range which consists of an Anti-blemish Clay Cleanser (£18), Anti-blemish Day Fluid (£24), Replenishing Night Serum (£20) and Anti-blemish Treatment Mask (£28).

The Box info (has a good breakdown of key ingredients and benefits):

The blurb (can be enlarged)
L-R: mask, cleanser, day fluid, night serum
Ingredients (can be enlarged)
L-R: mask, cleanser, day fluid, night serum  

My skin for reference apart from being blemish-prone is combination - I have an oily T-zone and my cheeks are slightly drier.
I have been using the ClearCalm 3 range for almost 4 weeks now so these are my initial thoughts.

I'll start with the Anti-Blemish Clay Cleanser:

Anti-Blemish Clay Cleanser, L - small pump, R- spread out a bit

I was a bit dubious about this as the name had me envisioning rubbing something akin to a clay mask over my face and sucking it dry, but this could not be further from the truth. The texture is not what I had expected from a blemish range as this is a cream (if you've tried Ren's Hydra-Calm cleanser it is a similar texture). Quite a light cream so it is easily spread and massaged into the skin and is rinsed off leaving no residue. It doesn't leave the skin feeling dry, rather more soft and comfortable. The scent is a herbally-fresh sort of scent, I wouldn't say minty or menthol as such, but slightly more herbal (sorry for the rather rubbish description). I started using this first for about a week before the other products to see how this feels and while I like it and there isn't anything wrong with it, I am not blown away. Maybe after using a lot of their other products I have very high expectations. I think it is helping to make the skin appear a bit clearer but I haven't noticed a significant difference with this. I don't use this to remove makeup, I always use a separate cleansing oil or balm as these to me are the most thorough for makeup removal. Overall I find this quite pleasant to use being a cream and I will happily use up the bottle although I not sure if I will repurchase.

The Anti-Blemish Day Fluid:

Anti-Blemish Day Fluid

This was the one product in the range I was the most cautious about - I am used to using creams rather then fluids and the texture of this feels quite different. It is a slightly runny, quite thin liquid (maybe even a bit gel like), that when applied to the skin has an odd combination of feeling rather slippy but matt/silky at the same time. A small amount of this spreads very well over the skin, but when absorbed (which is quick by the way), it is completely matt and natural looking that it is not evident that you have applied anything. I can imagine this lasting quite a long time, as I am nowhere near having used even 1/4 of the bottle. The scent is similar to the cleanser but a bit lighter. I was worried that this would not be moisturising enough for my cheeks, but I haven't experienced any tightness/or dryness from this. I admit that I do crave a slightly more creamy/plumper base for my makeup and with this feeling like virtually nothing on the skin I use a little primer on top (not on the t-zone). I have used without primer and have not had any issue but I do wonder when it comes to the colder months if this will provide enough moisture.

I am pleasantly surprised by this fluid as it does seem to make my t-zone less oily (I still touch-up my powder halfway through the day) and I think it has helped a little with slight redness. As this feels so light I can use sunscreen or primers on top without feeling that I've applied too much to my skin.
I have found gradually that the more I use this, the more I have come to like it as it does make the skin feel soft and hydrated.  

The Replenishing Night Serum:

Replenishing Night Serum
This is a cream (the day fluid feels more serum like to me), and is not greasy but light and easily absorbed. The scent to this is very mild that I don't really notice it, but smelling it more closely it as a more softer, milder herbal scent not dissimilar to the cleanser. This claims to calm the skin, reduce redness and pigmentation scars and while I think it has helped a little in calming the skin, I haven't noticed any difference to my scarring or evenness, although I don't really expect a great deal on the these fronts as I haven't used this long enough to see if it really does help. Personally I prefer Ren's Omega 3 Night Repair Serum over this as after using that I really saw a difference in my skin the next morning in that it looked more glowy and clearer and did a good job of healing blemishes too.
This is the one product in the range I am not sure of - while it feels pleasant to use, I don't really see much difference in my skin but I will continue to use it to see if I notice any further improvement over time.

The Anti-Blemish Treatment Mask:

Anti-Blemish Treatment Mask
This new mask is a creamy clay texture with quite a strong refreshing herbally (sort of minty?) scent. It does not dry hard and you are supposed to leave it on for about 15 mins then wash off (although I have left this on for an hour with no problems). It is best used twice a week. When washed off my face feels soft, a bit clearer and my pores seem less visible with no dryness. This has also helped to unclog the pores/bring blackheads to the surface on my t-zone so that they can be extracted more easily. This is my favourite product of the range.

Overall being an anti-blemish range, nothing about it feels harsh, all the products have felt lovely to use and comfortable, and I haven't had any adverse reactions to them. I like that the range says it's for problem skin rather then oily/combination/problem skin as a lot of other brands seem to throw those skin types together. In terms of keeping blemishes at bay, I think that it helps a little - I still get a few smaller spots, but they seem to go away and heal a bit better with this, but it is not a huge difference. Hopefully with continual use I might see more of an improvement. The product I would repurchase is the mask as I was impressed with this, even after the first use. I would possibly repurchase the day fluid as I wasn't expecting to like this, but the more I use it the more I Iike it.

I will continue to use the range, and update after a month or so. 

Disclaimer: All products purchased by myself

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Burberry Makeup Haul & FOTD

Last week I checked out the Burberry counter in Harrods for the first time and picked up a few bits. It really is worth seeing this in store as I wasn't sure what to expect but was surprised at how everything swatched in comparison to how it looked in the pan/tube. I bought the Sheer Eyeshadow in No.7 Taupe Brown (£22), Lip Cover in No.5 Heather Rose (£22), and the Eye Definer in No.4 Midnight Blue (£15).

Sheer Eyeshadow in No.7 Taupe Brown:

This is a beautiful dark taupe matt shade which almost looks grey but you can make out a hint of brown in the shade. The texture is very soft and smooth and excellently pigmented (which is a surprise since it is named 'Sheer Eyeshadow'). Along with my Rouge Bunny Rouge shadows, these are up there in the quality stakes. Even though this is matt, it doesn't look chalky at all and has a great depth to it. I can't convey how much I love this as I don't own anything like it. Sometimes with taupey or brown shades they blend too much into the natural colouring of my eyelids (as my eye area is darker then the rest of my face), but I am pleased to say that this does show up. Overall a great eyeshadow and I can definitely see this becoming a staple of mine as it looks softer then black for creating smoky looks.

Eye Definer in No.4 Midnight Blue

A sharpener is supplied in the box

This is a deep, dark blue shade with a slight metallic sheen which stops it looking flat and again like the eyeshadow has a good level of pigmentation.
It applies quite well, but doesn't have as much glide as something like Urban Decay's 24/7 liners although it is still slightly creamy and give quite an intense colour. It lasted well throughout the day without migrating anywhere else on the eye.

Lip Cover in No.5 Heather Rose:

The lipsticks, along with the eyeshadows are probably my favourite items from the range. There are a lot of lovely natural shades (which are right up my street), along with a few more brighter ones that it was hard to pick just one.  In the end I went for Heather Rose as I don't think I have anything similar to this. The shade is a peachy/pinky neutral, great for pairing with more dramatic eyes. The Lip Cover lipsticks are light, silky and have a slight glossy sheen to them so the colour doesn't look flat but still manages to give a good level of colour to the lips. The formula feels quite moisturising as well so even when it wore off, my lips didn't feel dry.

L-R eye definer, taupe brown e/s, Heather Rose. Natural light

I was also given a small folded card which has some little samples of a few other shades of the Lip Cover and also 2 shades of the Sheer Fluid Foundation.  I have been using the sample of the foundation in Trench No.7 for the past 4 days (I was surprised how long this little sachet lasts) which is a good match for my skin tone as it is slightly more yellow based and doesn't have any ashy undertones. It is quite a creamy liquid that blends well into the skin and gives a natural finish. I think that it does seem to slightly diffuse the look of pores and fines lines so giving a slightly more plumper appearance. The coverage is sheer-medium, so I did use a little concealer to cover blemishes but overall it does a good job of evening the skin and I was surprised with this as I was expecting it to be a lot sheerer. Lasts well throughout the day, but I do use some translucent powder to set it as I have an oily t-zone. So far I am rather liking this foundation, and may consider buying the full size (once I get through my drawer full of other foundations).

I've done a simple look with the items:

My face is a bit darker then my neck and I haven't blended any foundation down!
the pic has washed the colour out slightly

What I've used:
Burberry Sheer Fluid Foundation Trench No.7
Undereye Concealer - Ellis Faas Concealer No.5
Burberry Taupe Brown eyeshadow on lid, blended into crease and also applied to lower lash line
Burberry Eye Definer Midnight Blue on upper lash line
Mascara - NYC Sky High Mascara in Carbon
Powder - MUFE HD
Blush - a very light dusting of NARS Douceur blush
Burberry Lip Cover Heather Rose (for some reason it looks like I've applied lipliner but I haven't used any).

I also have my eye on the Light Glow Blush in Russet Blush No.1 which is a rosy brown type of shade. I had this applied on counter and it lasted well as it was still visible when I got home. The SA said as well as the lipsticks, that the mascara is a bestseller as well (in fact a customer next to me bought four) which has piqued my interest so I might try this next.

Overall I am really impressed with the range, the quality is excellent and I can see myself become a bit obsessed with the eyeshadows and lipsticks, although at £22 a pop, I will get a few more bits gradually rather then all at once.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Good Ol' Black - Illamasqua Boosh Nail Polish

Black is black - in nail polish the difference is barely discernible, but here's a pic anyway:

Illamasqua Boosh Nail Polish

I've had a few different black polishes in the past ranging in the low end, and this is the first
high-end one. Just as with Illamasqua's other nail polishes the quality with this is excellent and it is one of the few high-end brands where I am happy to pay extra for the nail polish.

Illamasqua Boosh is a rich, true black that gives a lovely opaque finish in 2 coats. One thing I like in particular about Illamasqua polishes is that they flow very nicely so application is easier and streak free.
The pic is after 2 days wear (with Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Top Coat on top), and there is ever so slight tip wear but generally it has held up rather well.

I haven't worn black nail polishes in ages, and it feels good to be wearing it again. This is one nail polish I will be repurchasing when I run out.

Disclaimer: Purchased by me

The Primer Set: Rouge Bunny Rouge Prelude In The Clouds Aqua Primer Review

To prime or not to prime? Primers are one makeup product I am unsure of - do I really need one? So with that question in mind I have several primers that I am going to review over the next few weeks.

First up is Rouge Bunny Rouge's Prelude in the Clouds Aqua Primer:

Almost finished this so it can't be bad, can it?

Probably the most prettiest packaged primer out there in a glass bottle with a beautiful illustration printed on the bottle. The product is dispensed via a pump, which works well and allows control so not too much comes out. I find about 1-2 pumps enough for my whole face. This apparently can be used around the eyes and on the lids as well to help with eyeshadow to last longer.

The texture is a sheer white (but goes transparent when applied) looking gel-liquid, it feels a bit like a water type gel because when applied it has a refreshing and hydrating feel, not at all siliconey which makes it more unique compared to other primers on the market. It is light and non-sticky as well and on some days I have used this on it's own instead of moisturiser.

This glides very nicely over the skin and absorbs fairly easily into a natural finish. It smooths the skin a little bit but I don't think it minimises the look of pores or fine lines in any way.  When I look at my skin, it basically looks the same.

I have used this on my eyelids and around my eyes and found that it was fine for use there and didn't cause any irritation. I have very oily eyelids, and this doesn't make eyeshadow last any longer then usual on me, even when paired with Rouge Bunny Rouge's lovely eyeshadows.

In terms of making the rest of my makeup last longer, unfortunately I didn't see any difference.

So overall I think this works okay as a general hydrating and slightly smoothing base, but in terms of real primer powers this just doesn't do it for me. It does feel very pleasant to use thanks to it's lovely texture, hence why I have almost finished up my bottle but unfortunately I will not be repurchasing.

This is £45 for 30ml so definitely a pricey primer and for me personally I don't think it is worth it. I bought this from Zuneta who exclusively stock the range in the UK.