27 February 2014

Illamasqua Glamore

You may have sensed some buzzing around Illamasqua and their social media as they prepared for the launch today - yes, it's today! Glamore, a collection revealing two new formulas of nail polishes and lipsticks from the brand will be launching.. well, today.

I think Jayne put it perfectly when she said it's a collection that appeals to both the long-time die hard Illamasqua fans, as well as the newbie patooties who aren't quite yet ready to embrace dark purple lipstick *sheepishly raises hand*..

Here are my thoughts on the collection.

The Nails
Fire Rose, Marquise, Trilliant

Fire Rose, Marquise, Trilliant

Fire Rose, Marquise, Trilliant

Fire Rose, Marquise, Trilliant

I quite like textured nails - do you? I wore Trilliant for a good few days and loved how it goes with everything. It lasted quite long as well, before it started fading at the tips. Fire Rose and Marquise are slightly out my comfort zone in terms of shade, but there's no questioning the formula of these new nailpolishes. They dry super quickly, and the texture is gorgeous if you love that kind of thing. Fire Rose is a wee bit grittier than the others, as it seems to have quite large glitter bits - Marquise is definitely the smoothest of the lot, and has a bit of a glossy finish. Trilliant is somewhere in between! The pigment is also insane - that's two coats up there! There are so many glitter-based polishes that look opaque in the bottle but require about 4 coats to get there. These are nothing like that. Classic Illamasqua.

The Lips
Soaked, Glissade, Luster

Soaked, Glissade, Luster

If there was a brand that could tear me away from my nudes, it was going to be Illamasqua. I've never tried their existing lipsticks, which are renowned for their brave shade choices and matte finishes, and it's probably because neither have ever been particularly up my alley. But these new lipsticks are.

Yes, they are still bright but oh does Illamasqua do bright well. Usually, I try reds and bright pinks and it washes my complexion out completely - and I've never known why. Somehow, these shades don't do that and I can whack them on whenever I please without worrying. My favourite of the lot? Glissade. It's a gorgeous cherry red/pink that I've previously sought for through the aisles of Boots with no success. Much appreciated, Illamasqua.

Matte? Nah. These babies are creeeeeeamy. Well, at least Soaked and Glissade are - I find Luster ever so slightly drying but no where near matte. I find these much more accessible than matte finishes, and if they come out with more shades, I will be on it. These give a nice cream finish and are extremely comfortable to wear. It might be because they're bright but they're also super long lasting. You might feel like they've worn off, but there's always some pigment left on your lips in case of a missed touch up.




And here's us, demonstrating how gorgeous the lipsticks look even if you wish to pull funny faces.. very informative, I'm sure.
Gem's blog (wearing Luster); Jayne's blog (wearing Soaked)

You can find the full collection on their website here.

Anything on your wishlist ladies?

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25 February 2014

Review Series: Night Creams #1

Bringing you the second of the Review Series (i.e. mini reviews in a certain category) - night creams!

Dermalogica ClearStart Overnight Treatment
This sits on my bedside table reserved for a very special occasion - break out time. Usually I get under-the-skin spots from dehydration, but this is for the proper, tiny, red and reactive little unspeakables that is most commonly from stress and congregate around my lower cheeks and jawline. It's super light and hydrating, but does enough to sooth the spots and heal them over time.

YON-KA Hydra No1 Creme
The Hydra No1 Creme is one of my all-rounders - it's a smooth, medium-to-thick cream that hydrates and moisturises at the same time. If your skin is irritated from the dryness, it'll sooth that but also make sure that my dehydration is tackled! A recommendation for most skin types.

REN Vita Minerale Emollient Rescue Cream
This Emollient Rescue Cream is thick - like, to the point it's hard to smooth, but that's why it's so unique. I warm this up between my fingers and pat it on. And boy, does it work. It's heavy-duty moisturising in a tube, so I love it for both smoothing out the dryness on the surface of my skin, and sealing in hydrating serums. I'd recommend it for people who have dryness on the surface of their skin, and aren't too fussed about hydration/want to avoid rich creaminess!

L'Occitane Ultra Rich Shea Butter
One of my all time favourites - this is a creamy, but almost solid, balm. It's slightly richer so better for people who want to focus on moisturising the top layers of their skin. I usually recommend this to people who get dry, irritated skin and want something soft and nourishing. The shea butter is so effective and gentle, that nothing ever stings  - just softens :)

ARgENTUM la poition infinie
A few months ago, if you said I would try and justify a £147 cream, I would've snorted and laughed. Yet, here I am. This cream is a miracle cream. It does EVERYTHING. It claims to be a serum, moisturiser and eye cream in one, and it actually works - it hydrates my skin like my favourite hydrating serums and gets rid of my spots. It smooths the surface of my skin and locks in the hydration. It moisturises my undereye without worsening my milia. The even more super impressive thing though? You can feel it tightening up your skin, and in the morning you're glowing, smooth and peachy. Not even joking. Which means it's my go-to for when I just want to get to sleep. Considering some serums, moisturisers and eye creams can easily cost up to £50, the price is actually not as insane as it initially seems if you've got the money to pay it all at once.

Dermalogica, Yon-Ka, REN, L'Occitane & ARgENTUM

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21 February 2014

The "When I Grow Up.." Wishlist

This week's Stylist was amazing. The main feature was about how because of societal changes, more and more, our generation is starting to feel like we're growing older faster than we're growing up. A lot of people, myself included, often feel both too young and too old for what they're doing - too young to be sitting at the grown-up table at family dinners, and too old to not have gotten married yet.

It might sound depressing, but actually for me, it was uplifting to know that I wasn't the only one. I'm 23 and my career is yet to start - the thought of still studying makes me feel old, old old. But the thought of working in law in the next few months *crossed fingers* makes me stop and go: "ME?!" But in the end we throw ourselves into the unknown, and come out the other end wiser.. or I'd like to think so.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say in a wayyy long-winded and over-philosophised way, is that depending on where you are in life, certain things seem out of reach. And to bring it back to the more beauty-related side of things, there are some brands that you feel a bit giddy about trying. Why? Because they're expensive, luxurious and you're just not sure if you're ready to handle it (or whether you can afford to) - but hey, wishlists are for daydreaming, am I right? *pushes aside study materials.. for now*. Here is my wishlist for when I eventually grow up..

Even saying the name makes me giddy - oh no, it's not "CHANT EY KALE". You probably don't even have to ask what it is I want to try from this highly praised brand - Just Skin Tinted Moisturiser. Duh. The promise of glow, skincare benefits and a moderately high coverage for a tinted moisturiser makes it sound like a perfect pick for a combination-skinned gal like myself. For now, the Bobbi Brown Original Tinted Moisturiser is filling the gap.. but one day..

Yes, I have been a victim of the amazing sales assistants at the Hourglass stand at Liberty. They are always just so nice and they tell you so much about the amazing technology behind their foundations and their primers. But what am I eyeing up? The Ambient Lighting Powder, of course! Perhaps not as pricey as other candidates at £38 a pop but it's enough to make a student wince.

Creme de la Mer
When I hear someone mention "THE miracle cream", I think of Crème de la Mer. Sure, it's not the most popular in the blogosphere, but in the "real world", it's massive and I want to have a go at what I always call "the £100 cream" (which, since blogging, I've discovered really isn't that rare, lol). You can check out Crème de la Mer at Harrods.

Tom Ford
Last year, I bought like.. 2 blushes. This year, I am all over them. The one that I genuinely cannot see myself shelling out for in the next 365 days, is the Tom Ford Cheek Colour. Ohhhh hath thou been raved about.  Its pigmentation, packaging and gorgeous soft finish. Love Lust, one day you will be mine (along with other things, like a mortgage, tax returns and a husband.. and a LV Speedy 30, we can't forget about him).

*Sponsored post
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17 February 2014

Post-chop, Post-ombre Hair Stylin'

When it comes to hair, I'm a minimalist. All the daily make-up that go miles beyond mascara and lipstick, and the multi-staged saga that is my skincare routine flies out the window when it comes to hair. In fact, the thing I miss the most about having long hair is the big ass bun I can just knot up in 2 seconds.

The hairstyling shift was needed for 2 reasons. I've noticed since the chop that with my stick-straight and annoyingly ruly hair, a shoulder-length long-bob can look slightly LEGO-head. So texture has been the name of the game. Also, I did a mini ombre experiment with L'Oreal Preference Intense Ombre in 104 (can't seem to find it on Boots online, but it's this one) which means I also need to make sure I keep up the ends.

My hair oil of choice for preventing those icky ends is the EverRiche Absolute Oil Precieux which I've actively chosen over the famous Moroccan Oil. It's so much lighter on your hair and absorbs better in my opinion. The spray applicator means you're not getting it all over your hands either, and it's less than half the price.

This product has been the life and soul of my hair over the past two months, and it's the Wave Creating Spray from their new #TXT line. Although I wasn't a massive fan of it when my hair was long, using this with shorter hair gives you the fake messy-ness, control and texture of 2nd day hair. It's great for people like me who have thick hair that defies all things volumising and uplifting.

At this point my hair routine is looking insanely L'Oreal-centric (in fact, my shampoo and conditioner at the moment is their EverRiche line), but they're the best in the hair market for the price - in my opinion.

Easy? Tick. Affordable? Tick. Lookin' good? Well, I'd like to think so.
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13 February 2014

Rebranded! Lily Lolo

Do you remember that in my glowing review of Lily Lolo's Metallics Collection Smoky Rose Eyeshadow Quad, I mentioned that the packaging was nice? It's true, it was nice. Then they went and did this. The packaging is now officially, phenomenal.

Lily Lolo has rebranded into this simple, classy, slightly Mary Quant-ish monochromatic brand and it's fantastic. The pattern on the inside of the box is stylish, and the frosted pot.. oh the frosted pot! It's just so luxurious and gorgeous. How cute is the four leaf clover? Everything looks much more expensive and beautiful - it's simply the perfect rebrand.

The two products you see above are the Mineral Blush in Ooh La La and the Mineral Eyeshadow in Miami Taupe, both of which I have been loving immensely since receiving them. The blush is a gorgeous shade of warm rose that would look beautiful on any skintone. It's a true blushing shade that's warm enough to really brighten your complexion, but not so orange/peach that it looks unnatural. The lasting powder has been quite impressive and I find it lasts well into the afternoon after applying it in the morning.

The eyeshadow, on the other hand, I wish was slightly more long lasting and I still rate the Eyeshadow Quad above it. However, as I always say - eyeshadows hardly ever last on me anyway, so it should be fine for most people. The thing I do love about Miami Taupe is the colour. It's this gorgeous medium taupe with a satin finish and a slight shimmer, and it's the perfect shade for something in between nude and smokey. Even just a wash of this all over your eyelid will create a dimension that looks like you've got about two shades of eyeshadow on. Perfect for the early morning quick-fix.

Overall I am so excited for Lily Lolo. Their relaunch is just sheer genius and the shallow Yu is now eager to find out more about their products. Hey - that's the purpose of rebrands, right? What's even more is that they've kept their good ingredients, amazing colour range, gorgeous packaging and solid performing formulas at their affordable price range. The blush comes in at a mere £7.99 and the eyeshadow at £5.99.

What are your thoughts on the new branding?
You can check out their website and their "new look" here on their website.

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9 February 2014

For Your Rosey Valentine's..

As my phone blinks at a Facebook invite to an anti-Valentine's event (cheers Hannah, Ben appreciates it), I realised that with the concept of anti-Valentine's spreading like wildfire, almost everyone now celebrates Valentine's in one form or another. So I've put together a rosey feature for the perfect Valentine's.. and one raspberry thrown in for good measure. Everyone loves raspberry. Right? Raspberry macaroons, my fave.

For the prep..
For the smoothest skin with a waft of genuine rose, I recommend a soak in the REN's Moroccan Rose Otto Bath Oil to start. It'll relax you if you're nervous for a first date, and it's also super nourishing so your skin will feel soft and supple for the big night. I also love their scrub, and they also have a body wash, a body oil and a body cream to ramp up the rose. If you're not sure about it, try out their Gift Set for £18.

If you're going to be curling your hair for romantic locks, keep it in place with Fudge Urban's Iced Raspberry & Vanilla Hair Spray. Not only will your hair smell of subtle sweet vanilla with a hint of raspberry, it'll keep your hard work in place with its strong hold yet soft-to-the-touch formula.

A Finishing Touch..
I've recently be spritzing the L'Occitane Rose 4 Reines Eau de Toilette for a fresh rosey aroma. You might think it's too much to smell of pure rose, which is why this EDT is so great. Its top notes include violet leaves, Sicilian bergamote and blackcurrant leaves, while its heart notes are an array of various roses - Grasse rose, Bulgarian rose, Turkish rose and Moroccan rose to be precise. The base notes are some of my favourites, with musk, sandalwood, heliotrope and white cedar. So as you can imagine, it's a complex and gorgeous rose-dominated scent with a solid base notes and light top notes.

On to the Make Up..
I'm a firm believer to keep the make-up fresh and to the minimum on truly romantic dates - something I took from Tanya Burr's Valentine's videos years ago. Two things are a must though - lipstick and blush.

Continuing with the rose theme, I bring to you Chanel's Rouge Coco Shine in Secret. Now which shade you choose is up to you, but these lipsticks have a gorgeous rose scent to it. I chose Secret because it's a gorgeous pale pink with a hint of warmth. The Rouge Coco Shine give you the purest light gloss and just enough pigment to keep your lips looking fresh and "you".

For blush, I've chosen Stila's Convertible Color in Rose. It looks scary in the pan, but actually, it's a truly natural blush that'll give you that, "just come in from the cold" cheeks. If you fancy a darker colour lip than Chanel's Secret, this formula can also be used on the lips. The packaging's also super slim with a nice mirror, so it'll be great for touch ups during the night.

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Secret; Stila Convertible Color in Rose

Whatever your plans are for Valentine's Day later this week, have a lovely lovely evening ;)

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7 February 2014

L'Oreal SS14 Les Blancs Collection

Did you let out a little "eep!" at those beautiful pastel colours? I did! How gorgeously gentle, feminine and elegant are these shades? Although the piercing rain and wind don't appear to be going anywhere (lots of love and sympathy for anyone suffering from the floods in the South West!), my mood is definitely ready for the ambiguity of springtime.

L'Oreal's offering for the Spring & Summer 2014 collection comes in two parts - Les Blancs and a new set of Top Coats. Les Blancs has four gorgeous pastels - Lemon Meringue, Nouvelle Vague, Pistachio Drage and Peach Neglige. No doubt most people will drift towards Peach Neglige - as did I! But I thought I'd be a bit adventurous and go for Pistachio Drage. Pleasantly surprised doesn't quite cover it.

And the Top Coats - I am over the moon about Disco Ball and Gold Leaf. The thing about Disco Ball that I LOVE is the holographic effect. The glitters don't just shimmer silver and white, but blimmin' rainbows. Amazing? I think so. And Gold Leaf is just my ideal gold glitter. I love gold glitter, but never liked the structured-ness of perfect hexagons. Gold Leaf is just so random and shattered, it's beautiful!

There's something about L'Oreal Colour Riche Nail Polishes in general that I absolutely love - they're my favourite from the drugstore. I love how slim and compact they are, they're amazingly pigmented, I love the gold lid, they try pretty quickly and oh - I LOVE the brushes! They're so fat and flat, that it's an absolute dream to paint.

The gorgeous pastel shades of Les Blancs and the unique patters of Top Coats is not one to be missed!

The Top Coats Collection is in store from February, and Les Blancs are in store from March 2014 - both polishes are on sale at £4.99 each from Boots.

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5 February 2014

GWP! bareMinerals x Mark Fast Make Up Bag

Who doesn't like a good GWP ('gift with purchase')? It's not often I talk about these, or get them for that matter, but some of them are just too good to not blog about.. (i.e. you don't have to spend £50 to get it and the gift is actually pretty awesome).
Mark Fast has designed an exclusive limited edition make up bag for bareMinerals to be sold in the lead up to the Autumn Winter 2014 London Fashion Week from the 14th of February. This marks the second season that Mark Fast is being sponsored by bareMinerals.
Just purchase any bareMinerals complexion product during LFW at Selfridges London, Birmingham and Manchester, or at a bareMinerals boutique (I recommend that Matte foundation, and if bronzers count as complexion products, Warmth) or any product at all online  (I recommend the Moxie lipglosses or their PrimeTime foundation primers :)) to get your hands on one - while stocks last!
See my reviews on bareMinerals products here to give you an idea of some of the awesome things you can try :)

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4 February 2014

Lunasol Skin Modelling Eyes in Beige Beige 01

One of my more indulgent purchases when I visited my parents back in Japan this winter was this Lunasol Skin Modelling Eyes in Beige Beige 01. Every year, the Japanese beauty magazine (think Allure but in Japanese), Biteki ranks Lunasol's eyeshadows as one of the best in the country, and cosme.net (think MakeUpAlley's Japanese equivalent - slightly more institutionalised) is also always on the Lunasol eyeshadow bandwagon. Despite the monstrous price tag of 5,250 yen (coming up to about £40), I had to get me some, and Beige Beige 01 has been Lunasol's most popular eyeshadow quad since its launch almost 5 years ago (6? 7? I don't remember but it's been pretty friggin' long..)

Am I in love? I am. The shades are just so perfect, and exactly what it says on the tin - beige (..beige). It's the best selection of nudes (not neutrals!) that emphasise the eyes without giving it too much colour. There's only one dark colour which is quite useful for me because I tend to like lighter shades anyway, and have enough of the ones with two light colours, one medium and one dark shade. I mean, look at that highlight! It's not even that light, but the way it catches the light is just stunning. The common way of applying eyeshadow in Japan (creating a gradient up from the lashline) really brings out the best in this quad.

My only sticking point is that the staying power isn't superb. For 5,250yen you kinda expect better! That being said, eyeshadows naturally dislike my eyelids so it might not be a problem for everyone else. I still continue to use it though, because it actually wears away nicely as opposed to settling in the crease.

So from a practical point of view - perhaps not the best way to spend your money. But the shades are gorgeous, the packaging is just luxurious and for me, outweighs the issue of staying power. It was also a lot about finally trying something that's been raved about loads and seeing how trends differ over in Japan! If you have a few pennies (or a mountain load) to spare, do give Lunasol's eyeshadows a go :)

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3 February 2014

Jacava Clear Top & Base Coat

I apologise. I really do, for depriving you of my knowledge of quite literally my favourite top coat ever.. and now it's being discontinued. This is the Jacava's Clear Top & Base Coat.

Before I start, I want to give you an idea of Jacava as a brand - they're a high end polish company, and their selling point is in their ingredients. All their products are '8-free' - as in, they're free of formaldehyde, camphor, DBP, toulene, animal ingredients, collophane, parabens and phthalates. Science was my lowest grade in school so I don't know what they are.. but apparently they're bad and worth taking out (and basing a whole brand on it, obviously).

So what's so amazing about the Clear Top & Base Coat? If you've painted your nails right before a Never Mind the Buzzcocks episode, sat there like a statue and your hands out for the whole episode, went to bed with touch-dry nails and woke up with linen-embossed nails - this will be your saviour. This thing will dry your nails up in a matter of 10-15 minutes. What's more, it'll give you a gloss like nothing else. If you think OPI and Nails Inc are shiny - think again. The photo above genuinely does not do it justice.

Need I sell it to you further? Yes? Well, for you fellow kack-handed gals like me who gets a nip here and there on your nails, or the polish isn't quite the quality to cover the ridges in your nails, this baby will blur it all out. It's like, nanoblur for your nails (not that I've ever used nanoblur, but I hear that's what it's meant to do).

Jacava say they have another version in the pipelines which I am super excited for. But until then, if you can find yourself a bottle - grab it!

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