Thursday, 31 January 2013

A Few January Favourites


I’ve been favouring sheer, hydrating lipsticks this month and Chanel’s Antigone and Chatecaille’s Bourbon Rose have both been colours I’ve reached for often. Antigone is a pretty raspberry red/berry shade and Bourbon Rose is a natural, cool rose pink. 

Laura Mercier’s Sweetheart Lip Glace has also found a home in my make up bag. I’m normally not much of a gloss fan, but I’m actually really liking the non-sticky formula and pretty hint of pink glossiness this adds to my lips. 

Laura Mercier Sweetheart Lip Glace, Chanel Antigone & Chantecaille Bourbon Rose

Rouge Bunny Rouge Delicate Hummingbird and Laura Mercier’s Caviar stick in Twilight have both been firm favourites in the shadow department this month. Delicate Hummingbird is a beautiful purple taupe and Twilight is a fantastic dark metallic grey, which works well as a base for other shadow shades and as a liner. 

Rouge Bunny Rouge Delicate Hummingbird & Laura Mercier Twilight Caviar Stick

Becca’s Romanticism Eye Tint is a product I’ve used frequently since purchasing last year. It adds a hint of sheer, bronze-y, mauve colour to my lids, and like the other tints from range, creates a perfect base for other shadow shades. 

The mascara I’ve been favouring this month is, Laura Mercier’s Lash Building Mascara. It separates, adds a little bit of volume and darkens lashes well, but still looks fairly natural.

Laura Mercier Lash Building Mascara & Becca Romanticism Eye Tint

Blush has been a pretty boring affair throughout January. I’ve stuck to one colour almost everyday, Chanel’s Orchid Rose. The shade adds a touch of peachy colour to my cheeks and leaves a pretty, subtle glow. On the days I haven’t worn this, I’ve used NARS Douceur

Chanel Orchid Rose

What products have you been enjoying this month?

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Dior Nude Tan Healthy Glow Enhancing Powder: 004 Sunset

Dior’s Nude Tan Healthy Glow Enhancing Powder is one of the make up goodies I received in my stocking last Christmas. It’s a product I saw reviewed and swatched a lot last year, and something I was very tempted to buy on quite a few occasions. For some reason, I never did get round to buying one, so I was over the moon when I found Father Christmas had left one in my stocking Christmas morning. In fact, there was a “oh wow, that’s pretty” moment, followed by an “aww shit, that’s incredibly dark” moment when I opened up the beautiful quilted compact and noticed that the shade was 004 (the darkest out of the four colours offered). Despite the colour being far too dark for my NC15/20ish skin tone, I decided to give it a go anyway, and was actually pleasantly surprised with the results.

Dior Nude Tan Healthy Glow Enhancing Powder: 004 Sunset

The powder comes packaged in a beautiful quilted, heavy silver compact, and included in the box is a mini kabuki stamped with the initials CD. I’m always pretty unimpressed with the applicators and brushes which are included with products, but I have to say, the kabuki is very nice. It’s soft, buffs product into skin nicely, and actually washes quite well too. I still prefer to apply with a bigger face or bronzer brush, but the mini Dior brush works perfectly well. 

The Dior Mini Kabuki

The powder itself is described as ‘A complexion-boosting, multi-toned bronzing face powder’, and is available in 4 colour harmonies: 2 pink harmonies to add a touch of freshness and a highlighting effect, and 2 apricot harmonies for a vibrantly sensual glow. Sunset is one of the apricot harmonies, and contains four different shades, which are supposed to be swirled/blended together to create a healthy glow. 

Dior Nude Tan Enhancing Powder: 004 Sunset

Dior Nude Tan Enhancing Powder: 004 Sunset

The two background shades are complimentary, slightly shimmery bronze hues, the D and U letters are shimmerier bronze-y colours, and the embossed N and E are an a apricot/peachy shade. Blended together, the colours create a pretty bronzer, which does a fantastic job at brightening and adding warmth to skin. 

All shades blended together and swatched fairly heavily on the left, and blended out on the right.

Even though Sunset is aimed at darker skin tones than my own, when used with a very light hand, I can just about get the shade to work for me. The apricot and bronze tones warm up skin nicely without looking orangey and the delicate shimmer adds a pretty glow. I’ve added a photo to show what it looks like applied. The fact that I can just about pull off the shade, despite it being too dark for me gives credit to just how subtle and natural looking Dior’s Healthy Glow powders are! 

Dior Sunset Applied with Chanel's Orchid Rose JC Blush

While I can just about pull off the shade, I think Sunset is something that will probably be stashed away for now and pulled out again when the weather warms up and my skin’s a tiny a bit darker. In the meantime, I think I may actually purchase one of the lighter colours on offer as I really am impressed with the subtle effect Dior’s Healthy Glow Enhancing Powder creates. The apricot tones, delicate glow, and the soft blendable powder are lovely! 

All of the four colour options are available from escentual (£31.45).

Monday, 28 January 2013

Lip Balm Love: Balance Me Rose Otto Intensive Lip Salve

My lips hate cold weather and central heating and every year as soon as the temperature drops and the heating goes on, they become horribly dry and uncomfortable. Luckily, being the lip balm fiend that I am, I’m never more than a few feet away from a balm (I literally have them stashed all over the place). I’m not particularly fussy when it comes to balms – as long as they hydrate and taste ok, I’m happy. There has been one in particular that I’ve been favouring over others this winter though, Balance Me’s Rose Otto Intensive Lip Salve.

Balance Me Rose Otto Intensive Lip Salve

It contains a whole host of lovely hydrating and nourishing ingredients including 100%  hyaluronic acid, Shea butters, jojoba and virgin coconut oils, and is free of chemicals and nasties (it’s 100% natural).

It’s become my most reached for balm this year for a number of different reasons. Firstly, I’m in love with the fantastic, non-sticky formula which feels really comfortable and hydrating. Secondly, I love the beautiful Rose scent, which is quite lovely and sort of soothing, and thirdly, I love the packaging. The handy little squeeze-y tube and hygienic, slanted applicator are great, and much cleaner than stick or potted balms.

Balance Me Rose Otto Intensive Lip Salve

I find a small dab of the intensively hydrating balm is all that’s needed to add much needed moisture to my parched lips. The non-tacky formula feels comforting and soothing, absorbs quite quickly and leaves my lips feeling moisturised and soft. 

Overall, a fantastic lip balm, which feels great and does a brilliant job at moisturising and soothing dry, dehydrated lips.It's not the cheapest of balms at £12.00 for 10mls of product, but my little tube, which has been very heavily used over the past couple of months seems to be lasting forever. 

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Rouge Bunny Rouge Long-lasting Eye Shadow: Delicate Hummingbird

After reading countless positive reviews and drooling over swatches of the beautiful shades available for months and months, I finally made my first Rouge Bunny Rouge purchase a few months ago. There are so many pretty things available from the brand that I had trouble deciding on what to try first, after much deliberation though, I decided upon one of the brand’s Long Lasting Eye Shadows, Delicate Hummingbird. 

Here’s what Rouge Bunny Rouge say about their long-lasting shadows: 

Discover a new powder eye shadow with an astonishing lightweight, creamy touch and unprecedented adherence. This formula creates pure dynamic iridescence while it maintains second skin effect. It has extended 8-hour wear that will stay perfect and look freshly applied all day. Orange-derived Flavonoid improves blood microcirculation, enhances luminosity and serves as free radicals scavenger. 

Delicate Hummingbird is described as a Cool, dusky sugar-frosted plum, iridescent with pink shimmer. I’d say the description is pretty much spot on! Delicate Hummingbird is a beautiful, iridescent purply, plummy taupe with delicate pink and blue shimmer. 

Rouge Bunny Rouge Delicate Hummingbird

Rouge Bunny Rouge Long-lasting Eye Shadow: Delicate Hummingbird

Rouge Bunny Rouge Delicate Hummingbird

I’d heard good things about the brand’s shadows, and I have to say, I completely agree with the positive reviews. The powder is incredibly finely milled, has a buttery smooth/creamy texture and applies and blends perfectly. Delicate Hummingbird is pigmented and the plummy taupe shade has the most beautiful sheen, which gives an almost foiled appearance once it’s been applied. I find the long-lasting claim to be true, too. Even without primer, the shade holds up brilliantly on my oily lids, and I’ve had no issues at all with creasing. 

Rouge Bunny Rouge Delicate Hummingbird Applied

Above, applied with a little bit of MAC's Satin Taupe in the outer V, and below swatched on my NC15/20ish arm. The photo on the left was taken outside in natural light, and the picture on the right was taken inside with flash.

Rouge Bunny Rouge Delicate Hummingbird. Left: Outside, Natural Light & Right: Indoors (with flash).

Delicate Hummingbird is a beautiful colour and the silky smooth, long-lasting formula is excellent. The only reason I waited so long before trying the brand is because I literally couldn’t decide what to try first. After trying the brand’s shadows, I will definitely be giving some of the other pretty goodies on offer a go. In fact, I think my next Rouge Bunny Rouge purchased might just be Eclipse Eagle, the richer, darker sister of Delicate Hummingbird. 

Available from Zuneta (£20.50)

Friday, 25 January 2013

Liner Love: Bobbi Brown Lip Liner: Ballet Pink & Lancome Khol: Black Coffee

Bobbi Brown Lip Liner: Ballet Pink & Lancome Le Crayon Kohl: Black Coffee

A quick post on two recent pencil purchases, Bobbi Brown Lip Liner in Ballet Pink and Lancome Eyeliner pencil in Black Coffee. I picked these up just before Christmas from Cheapsmells and have been using both on a daily basis since.

Bobbi Brown’s Lip Liners are described as being long-wearing, non-drying and are supposed to help prevent feathering. Ballet Pink is described as ‘a pale neutral pink’ on the Bobbi Brown site, which is a fairly accurate description. I mainly purchased to use with paler lipsticks and glosses as a base to tone down my naturally pigmented lips, and it does actually work well used like this. The shade is slightly lighter than my natural lip colour, but still looks very subtle and natural after it’s been applied and blended.

The pencil itself is quite soft, but not overly so, applies well without dragging or pulling, and the formula is comfortable and as promised, is non-drying. I find the colour lasts well on lips too, and fades evenly throughout the day. 

Bobbi Brown Lip Liner: Ballet Pink & Lancome Le Crayon Kohl: Black Coffee

Lancome’s Le Crayon Kohl’s are described as ‘smudgy, creamy-smooth eye pencils, which glide on effortlessly and blend beautifully’. Black coffee is a dark, natural brown. It’s not quite as harsh as black and not as soft as some of the other brown liners I have, it's perfect for everyday wear and creating natural looks. The pencil applies well, feels really soft and creamy and again, doesn’t drag or pull. The formula is creamy enough to smudge and works beautifully at creating a fairly natural, smoky eye look. 

I mainly use kohl pencils to line my upper lash line and used in this way, Black coffee stays put all day. Once it’s been applied, it really doesn’t budge. I have used it on my lower lash line and waterline on a couple of occasions and found it also lasted well. It doesn’t hold up quite as well used in this way, but lasting power is still pretty impressive. 

Swatches of both shades, and below a photo to give an idea of what they look like applied. 

Ballet Pink applied all over lips with a little bit of balm, and below, Black Coffee applied on the upper lash line. The photo was taken at the end of the day after about 8 hours of wear, so my shadow has started to crease, the liner is still is still pretty much perfect though.

I don’t often get excited about lip liners or eye pencils, but I am really pleased with both of these. Both shades are flattering and perfect for creating natural make up looks and they both apply and wear really well. As I said, I purchased both from Cheapsmells for quite a lot less than I’d have paid if I’d purchased them from the official Lancome or Bobbi Brown sites. I believe the only difference with the pencils Cheapsmells are selling is the liners come without boxes and sharpeners. The boxes certainly don’t bother me and I’ve collected a ridiculous amount of sharpeners over the years with various different lip, eye and brow pencils, so that’s definitely not a problem either. 

Both pencils are still available on the site. The Bobbi Brown liner costs £10.95 & the Lancome kohl is £10.45

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

A Few Nail Essentials

Nail polish is a fairly recent discovery for me. I’ve always loved nail colours, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I actually started wearing it on regular basis and began to experiment with different shades. While I loved the way it looked, I just couldn’t get polish to last more than a couple of days before it started to chip, peel and generally look a bit of a mess. The whole process of applying and having to remove it a day or so later seemed like far too much effort, so I kind of gave up on it for a while. It wasn’t until I started to read beauty blogs on a regular basis and started to follow nail bloggers that I actually decided to give it another go and invested in a few products and tools to help prolong the life of my manis. 

One of the first products I invested in, and the one I feel has made the biggest difference to the condition of my nails is, Leighton Denny’s Crystal nail file. Before buying this, I was using a cheapy Boots own brand glass file and while it did an ok job at shaping, it never really left the edge of my nails completely smooth. Leighton Denny’s file shapes and files quickly and easily, it never drags, and it never leaves the edge of my nails feeling rough, jagged or uneven. Since replacing my cheapy file with one, I’ve seen a huge improvement in peelies and splits, which I was having major problems with before, and as a result have found nail polish stays on much longer. 

I’ve tried quite a few different basecoats from various different brands, but I always seem to come back to Orly’s Bonder. It’s a relatively quick drying, rubbery/gummy textured basecoat, which grips polish to the nail surface. Out of the basecoats I’ve tried, I’ve found Bonder to be the most effective at prolonging the life of my manicures and easily get a couple of extra days wear from my polish when using it as a base. 

If it wasn’t for Seche Vite, I don’t think I’d paint my nails nearly as often as I do. It smells pretty awful, but dries nail colour unbelievably quickly, leaves an amazingly glossy finish, and evens out my sometimes less than perfect polish application, too. Brilliant stuff! 

I picked up Mavala’s Cuticle oil on a whim last year when my cuticles were in a horrible state. I wasn’t really expecting too much from it, but have been pleasantly surprised at how well this hydrates and softens. It absorbs pretty quickly, smells pleasant and although the bottle is fairly small, it seems to be lasting forever.

These products along with generally taking a bit more time over my nails have really helped to prevent the annoying chips, which put me off of nail colour for such a long time. Used together, they make application easier, really extend nail polish wear and generally make my nails look a bit better. I think the Leighton Denny file has been the most helpful thing I’ve purchased though - it’s amazing how much difference a good nail file can make!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Lipstick: Antigone

Chanel’s Antigone is the most recent addition to my ever growing Rouge Coco Shine collection. Since trying the formula a couple of years ago and falling in love with the lovely balm-like texture and glossy finish, I’ve purchased quite a few of the other shades on offer. 

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Lipstick: 60 Antigone

Antigone is a raspberry red/berry shade, shot through with very delicate gold shimmer. It’s one of the more pigmented shades from the colour range, but still imparts a pretty, sheer and wearable colour to my lips. 

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine: Antigone

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine: Antigone

The balm-like formula glides on effortlessly and has a soft, cushion-y type feel which feels really comfortable and light weight. The finish is glossy, but not overly so and actually looks fairly subtle and natural. The shiny finish and balmy texture mean that the colour doesn’t really stick around on lips for long, but the feel and hydrating formula make up for that (for me anyway). The glossiness wears off fairly quickly, but Antigone does leave a beautiful stain behind as it wears. 

Chanel Antigone

Above, Antigone swatched on my fairly pigmented lips and below, swatched on my NC20ish arm. The tiny, delicate shimmer is barely visible on lips.

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine: Antigone

Since purchasing, I’ve found myself reaching for Antigone on a regular basis. In fact, it’s become a firm favourite over the past few months. I’ve had a hard time getting some of the shades from the Rouge Coco Shine range to work on my pigmented lips, but because Antigone adds slightly more colour than some of the others I’ve tried, it works well for me. I love the pretty berry colour, and I love how the sheer, glossy finish leaves my lips looking slightly plumper and hydrated. 

Thursday, 17 January 2013

REN Moroccan Rose Experience Set

I’m currently working my way through a few different body and bath goodies I received for Christmas, but there’s one beautiful set in particular that I’ve really been enjoying, REN’s Moroccan Rose Experience Set. I’d actually tried a sample size of the body lotion which is included last year and fell in love with the amazing scent and lovely texture, so I was thrilled when I unwrapped this little box of goodies on Christmas day.

REN Moroccan Rose Experience Set

There are four different products included in the set, a Moroccan Rose Otto Body Wash and Body Cream, an Ultra-Moisture Body Oil, and a Bath Oil, all of which come packaged in a beautiful Arabesque patterned gift box. 

REN Moroccan Rose Otto Bath Oil

REN’s Moroccan Rose Otto Bath Oil is formulated with Moroccan Rose Otto Oil to nourish, moisturise and condition the skin and leave it lightly fragranced with roses. 

I have to admit, I’m normally not a fan of bath oils, as most of the one’s I’ve tried leave an oily kind of film in the bath, and on me. I’m pleased to report that REN’s bath oil doesn’t do this. In fact, it doesn’t feel oily or greasy in the slightest - it actually mixes with the bath water, turning it slightly milky, and fills the bathroom with a beautiful, soothing aroma. The scent is quite intense, but isn’t overpowering or cloying. To me it smells of a mix of gorgeous, fresh roses and Turkish delight- absolute heaven. 

After bathing in the oil, my skin feels wonderfully soft and hydrated, and I can still smell the lovely scent for hours after. Again, not strong or overpowering, just a delicate hint of fresh rose. 

REN Moroccan Rose Otto Body Wash & Body Cream

Moroccan Rose Otto Body Wash is described as a delicately scented shower wash and is formulated with Rose Otto, Palmarosa and Geraninium oils. 

This is probably the product I was most looking forward to trying in the set, as I’d read a lot of positive reviews on it, and it’s won the InStyle best body wash award 10 years in a row! Pretty Impressive stuff. It smells absolutely amazing and creates a gorgeously, creamy rich lather, which feels incredible. It leaves my skin feeling comfortable and soft, and the elegant scent lingers on my skin for quite a while after using. 

REN’s Rose Otto Body Cream is described as an easily absorbed body cream that will leave skin optimally hydrated, silky soft and lightly fragranced. 

To me, this feels more like a lotion than a cream, as it’s quite thin consistency wise, and feels very light weight. It’s very easily absorbed and leaves no oily/greasy residue behind, which is fantastic (I can’t stand greasy body creams!). It adds enough hydration to my skin and it does leave it feeling very soft and smooth (especially when used in conjunction with the other products in the set), those with very dry skin might not find this hydrating enough though. As with the other Moroccan Rose products, this leaves a very light, delicate rose scent on my skin, which lingers for hours after I’ve applied. 

REN Moroccan Rose Otto Ultra-Moisture Body Oil

Moroccan Rose Otto Ultra-Moisture Body Oil is a rose infused body oil formulated to intensely replenish the skin, lock in moisture and give a healthy, youthful glow. 

Like bath oils, body oils are something I’m normally not overly keen on, because most of the one’s I’ve tried leave an oily residue on my skin. Like the body lotion from the set though, REN’s body oil absorbs quickly and easily, and leaves no greasy residue on my skin at all. I’ve mainly been using the oil on dry areas which really need extra moisture (elbows, knees etc), but also find that mixing a few pumps of the oil with the body cream and applying all over works brilliantly at hydrating, and leaves my skin feeing beautifully soft and smooth. 

Overall, I’m incredibly impressed with REN’s Moroccan Rose Experience set. The products included are fabulous, they smell divine and they all do a fantastic job at hydrating. They make bath time a real treat, and I wouldn’t hesitate to repurchase any of the beautiful products from the set in the future. 

The kit is available from the REN site (£32.00).
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