Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Inglot Reviews: Liquid Blush, Lip Gloss Duo, & more!

Whenever I walk into Inglot, I'm overwhelmed by the sheer choice of colours and products they have. It really is amazing! Since I've been loving my Inglot Freedom palettes so much lately, I thought I'd branch out and try a few other Inglot products too. (Not to mention, their store in Westfield London always seems a much more pleasant place to shop than MAC!). Here's what I got:

Inglot Eyeshadow Trio
I got this in a trio of purple shades. The formula is the same as in the Freedom palettes - pearlescent, smooth, and nicely pigmented. They had a big range of colour choices, including some that were too outrageous for my taste (e.g. hot pink). A very handy size for travel, although I kind of wish there was some variation in the textures (more satins and mattes, please!). The purples I got are vibrant and pretty, hubby even commented they were maybe a little too bright (or was that just 'cause I was nipping out to Tesco's in purple eyeshadow and hot pink gloss? Hmm..)

Inglot Young Skin Makeup Pressed Powder
As much as I love MAC face powders, I always seem to be in between shades. I'm a MAC NC30, but Medium Dark seems a little light, and Dark seems a little Dark. (Am I just being difficult? Maybe). Anyway, so the Inglot pressed powders caught my eye as they had a good range of yellow-based shades. I got shade #41, which is a perfect match for me - yay! The formula is as good as any powder I've tried, but nothing that makes me especially excited. The compact is black, sleek, and functional.

Inglot Liquid Blush
This one's a winner - thanks to Shifa at Get Gawjus! for recommending it! I haven't tried liquid blushes before, but this is very nice. The texture is somewhere between a cream, a gel and a stain, and is surprisingly buildable. Length of wear is slightly longer on me than other cream blushes, but still requires touch-up after a few hours, although my skin is pretty oily so that's no surprise. The colour I got (#82) is a beautiful nude pink that I think would work on just about any light-to-medium skintone. It's in the same colour family as MAC Lilicent blushcreme, only a shade or so deeper. Lilicent disappears on me in minutes, so I'm glad I found this as an alternative. It's also not sticky, just leaves a hint of moistness on the cheeks to illuminate naturally.

Inglot Lip Duo
Inglot sell a lot of different lip products, and this cute duo seemed a great way to try 2 for the price of 1. It comes in a cute transparent cube - the bottom half of the cube has Lip Paint, and the top has Lip Gloss. The formulas are slightly different - I have to say, the Lip Paint is absolutely divine, not like any lip product I've come across. It's very opaque and pigmented, very moisturising but not sticky. This, along with Chanel glosses, is one of the best gloss textures I've found. The Lip Gloss (top half) is quite shimmery and slightly more sticky, with good colour payoff. The colours look similar in the pot, but the Lip Paint is a creamy bright peachy-pink, whereas the Lip Gloss is a medium cool-toned pink with a lot of silver shimmer. I did find it hard to choose shades as many of them seemed quite similar (mostly variations on pink/pink, or nude/clear), so I do hope they introduce more colours into the range.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

ELF Studio Mini Makeup Set Review

ELF UK have a very generous offer at the moment, that if you purchase £25 of product, you receive a free Studio Mini Makeup set worth £15. Since they recently added a lot more products to their range, I took the opportunity to order some more Studio brushes (most of which I love btw!), mineral eyeshadow primer & bronzer, and I got the kit for free.

I was pretty excited by this palette as not many kits come with such a fantastic range of products - eyeshadows (powder & cream), blush, bronzer, brow powder, lipglosses and and eye pencil. However I have to say that although I love this palette in concept, the actual thing didn't quite live up to my expectations.

Firstly, the eyeshadows - the range of colours is very good, you have some soft natural colours, blue-greens, and smokey greys. My main gripe though is that the two colours suitable for using as a lid shade (the champagne colour,and the pale cream shadow) are both way too shimmery. Since these kinds of colours are pretty much the foundation of any eye look, this is not so great for doing everyday looks. Maybe I'm just conservative, but for me, glitter doesn't belong in the office. The other colours are OK, but the pigmentation or consistency aren't wowing me.

The second disappointment is the lip products. The colours are quite dark, which for me is a negative, but at the end of the day comes down to personal preference. However, the consistency feels somewhat cheap. It's hard to describe, but they feel waxy and have an unflattering shimmer to them.

The blush, bronzer and brow powder are all smooth and nicely pigmented. Thumbs up.

The eyeliner pencil is not that pigmented (especially when I'm so used to Urban Decay 24/7 pencils). It would do in a pinch, but wouldn't be my first choice for eyeliner.

Overall I think this was a really nice freebie, but not one that I'll be using much. I'm really not convinced it's worth the £15 ELF UK is otherwise charging for it. On the US website, it sells for US$15 I think, which seems like a fairer price. I'm sure there are plenty of people who love this palette, but for me it was a bit of a disappointment given how much I love the other Studio products. I will stick to the ELF products I already love - especially the brushes!

Inglot Blush Palette Review

A few months back I purchased this (link here) Inglot Freedom Palette. What I love about this palette system is that it's made up of magnetic layers, so you can basically add as many layers to your palette as you want. You can choose from eyeshadows, blush, concealer, brow or lip products. So far I have two 'layers' of eyeshadows, and I've been so impressed with their smoothness and pigmentation that I decided to get a layer of blushes too.

There were plenty of blush shades to choose from, although almost all were shimmery shades. Some matte options would have been nice. I ended up choosing one deep bronze colour (to use as bronzer/contour), a bright candy pink, a coral and a medium peach. I've tried swatching them, unfortunately, the pictures aren't so great, I really must get a decent camera one of these days, but you get the idea. These are really very pigmented - more than MAC, but less than NARS, if that makes sense. The colours are clean and bright. Actually I'm wondering now if they're a little too pigmented for my taste, seeing as I tend towards soft colours. They will be wonderful in summer though!

The formulation could use a little improvement as it's very powdery. Because the product is so loose, my brushes tend to pick up a lot of powder, and because it's so pigmented one needs a very light hand when applying. So I'm using a stippling brush (MAC #187) in order to avoid picking up too much product, and that seems to be working well.

Overall I think the quality is good. The price is £26, which is reasonably good value compared to high-end brands. I love the fact this fits together with my existing Inglot eye palettes - I now have a "stack" of palettes that I can add to or downsize depending on where I'm going. I do hope Inglot introduce some more matte options at some point, and maybe some highlighter shades too, but for now I'm pretty happy :-)

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Big heart for Mini Mavala nail polishes

I've recently discovered these adorable miniature Mavala nail polishes and I can't get enough of them!

Why I love these:
- They're 5ml(about one-third the size of your average polish) which in my mind is a good size. One gripe I have with nail polish in general is that it'll often thicken up before I'm halfway through the bottle.
- They come in quite a few pretty colours, so are a great way to test out new shades without investing in a full-size bottle
- For less than 4 pounds, you get a very high quality product with good length of wear, which is a great pick-me-up if you're on a budget

These came in a set of 8 polishes, which I picked up on sale for the princely sum of 15 pounds. All the colours are gorgeous, soft shades. What I love most is that this set came with a miniature base coat (SuperBase) and top coat (Fixator), which I haven't tested yet but I'm sure will come in handy, especially on long holidays where I know I'll have to retouch my nails.

From left to right, the shades are:
- LOTUS: Pearly white, this is a little more opaque than I'd like, might pass this one onto my sister as it's more her colour!
- DAKAR: Soft plummy pink with silver shimmer
- BAGHDAD: Pinky coral with silver shimmer
- BORABORA: Sheer peach with gold shimmer, very subtle on but quite pretty
- ADELAIDE: Medium warm pink with shimmer. A little brighter than my usual everyday taste, but nice to have an option for special occasions!
- TOULOUSE: Cream Barbie-pink, will look great in summer
- SUPER BASE: Base coat
- FIXATOR: Top coat

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Stila deal on StrawberryNet

Just picked up this great deal on a Stila kit on StrawberryNet! For £13.50 (including free worldwide shipping), you get:

4x eyeshadows in shades: Kitten, Go Lightly, Wheat & Mystic
1x Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer in Shade 01
1x Convertible Color in Peony
1x Major Lash Mascara 5g in Black
1x Lip Glaze in 'Ulta Mate Pink'

Most of the products are full-size, and seeing as Stila has pretty much pulled its distribution in the UK, it's a great chance to snap up some classic Stila (particularly Kitten eyeshadow, and Peony Convertible Colour). The tinted moisturiser I think will be a bit light for me, but it's still worth it even just for the eyeshadows. I get a 10% loyalty discount at Snet, so in total it was £12.15. Bargain.

Click here for link

Monday, 9 November 2009

MAC Holiday Kits: Going naked this Xmas...

You might call me boring but I'm a sucker for neutrals. I'm not sure if it's because I'm just a chicken when it comes to wearing hot fuschia lipstick to work, or because I'm always trying to justify my purchases ("But it's neutral so I'll wear it all the time.."). Anyway, so although I'd originally planned to pick up the MAC Holiday kits in Sorceress and Smoke & Mirrors, I ended up with the latter plus the Heavenly Dish neutral lip kit.

The Smoke & Mirrors kit is the best smokey palette I've seen from MAC in several years. However it's not really a smokey palette as such, more of an everyday neutral kit. The colours are sheer, & if you're after sparkle or glitter you won't find it here. (Nor any horrible Lustre finishes - thank you MAC!). You can pretty much do anything from a barely-there look, to a soft everyday grey or warm brown eye, to a full-on smokey look with this. Some might find it boring, yes. Personally I think really decent neutral palettes are surprisingly hard to come by, so this one is a gem.

I've taken some pics with a handful of other MAC colours for comparison. The shades in this palette are all unique to the palette as far as I'm aware, & none of my other colours were exact dupes. The closest dupes would be Clue (from the Originals Collection) for the mid-tone grey, and perhaps Brun for the matte brown shade. All in all, I think it's a great buy for anyone.

The lip kit was an impulse buy, I didn't even try it on in store! It really is a very natura,nude look. The darkest colour is slightly darker than my lips. The midtone colour reminds me of a slightly peachier version of MAC Angel lipstick. The gloss goes on completely sheer, it's not pigmented at all. I can see why some people wouldn't bother with this kit as the colours are on the sheer side & don't exactly scream.. well, anything really. But I think it's quite cute and practical - I love that you can use the darker shade on the lips, then apply the lighter pink in the centre for a volume effect. A little gloss on top and it's perfect.

I'm on the fence about the packaging of these - it certainly feels classier than previous years but the mirrors are much smaller. They also don't angle back as far, which was a definite bonus with the old style of palette. The eye palette is very small - even though it has the same amount of product, it looks tiny compared to last year's warm palette!

Overall, I'm very pleased with this year's purchases though. I love MAC Holiday... can't wait until my next trip just so I can take these babies along!

Monday, 26 October 2009

Home-made brush cleaner recipe

OK so I know a lot of people have their own recipes for making brush cleanser, but I've been testing this simple recipe out for 5-6 months now and it's serving me well so I thought I'd share. I pretty much use this every day to sanitise & clean my brushes - I can clean them all quickly and they're ready to use again in a few minutes.

It's literally just 1 part spray-on leave-in conditioner, to approximately 7 parts isopropyl alcohol. The isopropyl alcohol is the basic ingredient in most brush cleansers, as it klls germs and dries in minutes. Unfortunately it can also be somewhat drying to natural fibres, hence the addition of the leave-in conditioner - it keeps the brush bristles nice and soft. You don't want to go too overboard on the conditioner in your formula though, otherwise you get residue in the brush and they take too long to dry.

Isopropyl alcohol is dirt cheap & can be bought in pharmacies (I used to get odd looks at the chemist in New Zealand, as I'd buy 4-5 bottles at a time! I swear they thought I was making drugs...) or from Maplin in the UK.

For the leave-in conditioner I'm using a cheapie one from Boots. Choose one that has a consistency like water, since a creamy consistency won't mix well with the alcohol.

Mix and pour into a spray bottle. To use, spray the brushes with the solution & wipe clean with a tissue. This is meant to be a spot cleaner only, so you should still deep clean your brushes regularly in water.

Happy cleaning!

MAC Holiday... Are my eyes bigger than my stomach?

Further on the topic of neglected makeup, now comes the time of year when I start making my wishlist of MAC holiday items. For me, the holiday collections combine all my favourite things in makeup (that's MAC, palettes, and miniatures!). Normally, I end up buying 2 palettes and a set of mini lipglasses every year. But in making my wishlist this year, I've felt a little guilty realising how infrequently I actually use my old Xmas palettes & glosses (even though I'm sure I was really excited about buying them at the time!). I think I've used last year's Red She Said - Warm palette maybe 3-4 times?

Am I becoming too spoiled? Maybe I just love the anticipation of waiting for a new collection, more than I ever fell in love with the actual products. Maybe I just consume my cosmetics the way I consume my food - I always think I'm hungrier than I really am.

2009 MAC XMAS Wishlist
- Sorceress eyeshadow palette
- Smoke & Mirrors eyeshadow palette
- Superdupernatural Mineralize Blush
- Sexy Shenanigans Mini Lip/Lustreglass set

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

MAC Pickle.. with Relish. Ewww.

Rhamnousia over at Desi Girl Does Makeup posted recently about Vintage makeup - you know, those cosmetics one has hiding away in drawers either forgotten & ignored, sometimes lovingly rediscovered, othertimes invoking an inner cringe of "What the hell was I thinking??!!" when they eventually make their way back into daylight. Anyway it made me think about what my oldest cosmetic items are - actually there's not too many, since before my recent move to the UK there was an enormous clean-out of my traincase - however there is one most ancient item which I hate, yet can't seem to bring myself to chuck.

It's called MAC Pickle, and it's a limited-edition eyeshadow from MAC which was released in circa 2000. It came in a quad which has long since been used up (I think it may have been called "Chromezone"), but this one colour has hung around in my makeup kit. As you can see, it's literally pickly, gherkin green. It's an odd formulation, it has a kind of sheer finish with lots of microglitter (similar to the equally craptastic MAC Honesty from the current line). Not subtle at all, but rather chunky glitter. I did actually wear this at one point, this being one of my first forays into "extreme" colour, until some kind soul thankfully told me it made me look ill. Since then it's just lived in my MAC 15-pan palette of brighter colours (i.e. the ones I avoid!). Somehow it adds a nice vibrancy to the palette, so even though I never use it, it serves the decorative purpose of ensuring there is a lot of green in my palette.

So, to MAC Pickle, who has stood the test of time as my most-avoided cosmetic item... here's to you.

P.S. Sorry about the dodgy pics, I can't seem to get good shots on hubby's camera!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Mini Urban Decay Eyeliners... soooo cute!

Anyone who knows anything about me, knows that I love anything travel-sized! So I nearly jumped for joy in Boots when I saw the Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliner Super Stash - 9 mini sized 24/7 eyeliner pencils. This seems to be something they release every year, so this is the 2009 edition.

You get five existing shades: Zero (black), Graffiti (bright green), Ransom (cool purple), Rockstar (violet), Stash (olive), as well as four new limited-edition shades: Corrupt (chocolate brown), Binge (peacock-indigo), Eldorado (gold), Oil Slick (black with glitter.

I've swatched some of my favourites from this set - from left to right: Ransom, Rockstar, Corrupt, Binge and Eldorado. They're beautifully smooth and have a lovely soft metallic finish. They also last on my lower lashline better than any other pencil I've tried (thought not quite a well as a gel or liquid liner).

Be warned - these babies are tiny - so don't expect to get a lot of each colour. However, as a newcomer to Urban Decay I'm really pleased as I get to try out so many colours for so little.

Sneaky peek inside my handbag

I was asked to photograph what's inside my handbag as part of a work-related project so I thought I'd share :-) (Yes I have a fun job!). Luckily it just had a clean-out recently, so it actually looks respectable for a change and not like I just went on a shoplifting spree at MAC!

I've definitely become more well-organised when it comes to packing my bag now that I'm travelling a lot more. I'm really a wuss when I don't have all my essentials to hand. And of course I always have my on-the-go makeup kit - today it contains:

- MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Medium Dark
- MAC blush in Peaches
- MAC lipglass in Prrr
- MAC lipstick in A Rose Romance
- MAC Lip Conditioner
- Urban Decay 24/7 mini eyeliner in Zero (black)
- Clean & Clear Oil Blotting sheets
- ELF concealer pencil
- Chanel bronzer in Terre Ambre
- MAC mini #129 blush brush

Somehow I quite like looking at what's inside other peoples' bags... feel free to share what's in yours!

Thursday, 24 September 2009

My gorgeous INGLOT palette, and more...

It was my birthday recently and I had my heart set on getting an Inglot Freedom System Palette. What I love about these palettes is the enormous range of shapes and sizes these come in. It was sooooo much fun choosing my palette & colours! I ended up with one of Inglot's magnetised palettes. The palette concept itself is pretty awesome - each layer is magnetised so you can add as many layers as you like of eyeshadows, blush or powder. You end up with as many colours & products as you want, all in one palette. I ended up getting 2 layers of eyeshadows, though I'm keen to get a blush layer too. Amazingly the magnets that hold it all together are quite strong!

I love the soft, silky texture of these eyeshadows (think MAC Veluxe Pearl - though if you like bright, intense pigment you might be disappointed with some shades). They do have a lot of bright colours, but I ended up choosing soft warm/neutral colours only as that's all I ever seem to wear. (Yes, I'm boring I know...!) For £70, this palette really is a steal compared to Bobbi Brown or MAC, without a huge difference in quality.

I also picked up a few other Inglot goodies:

  • Under Makeup Base: A dead ringer for Smashbox PhotoFinish foundation primer. Absolute bargain for £12
  • AMC Cream Blush: The most long-lasting cream blush I've tried, this wears almost like a stain with a nice sheer finish
  • Bronzer palette: Love that it graduates to a highlighter shade, but wish this was a little more pigmented. Not too shimmery though, yay.

So thanks Inglot for a wonderful birthday present, I love you :-)

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Makeup rut and the working week

Been really busy lately as I just started a new job (after being out of work for months, hence it was a bit of a shock to the system, haha). Lately I'm finding that I'm in such a rush in the morning, mainly because I have a rather long commute, so I'm pretty much wearing the same thing day in and day out. Does anyone else find that the rush of the week stifles their creativity when it comes to makeup? I can't wait for the weekend so I can dig out my MAC Pink Nouveau lipstick and some purple eyeshadow!

On an unrelated note, ELF's Studio Line launches here on July 27th (next week!!!) so watch this space for reviews soon! I managed to get my hands on one of their Studio brushes a bit early and it's gorgeous so I can't wait to order the rest of them!

Friday, 3 July 2009

Getting organized with ELF

I picked up this cute organizer from ELF and I LOVE it! It's basically comprised of two parts held together magnetically. (Don't worry, the magnets are quite strong!) The main compartment in the centre holds a decent amount of makeup, plenty of room to pack essentials for travel. The outer part has some very handy spaces for brushes and a net compartment to pack any extras.

This is a great buy - definitely the best cosmetic organiser of this size that I've seen, and excellent value for money too.

Get your organizer here.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Palette Love... Inglot Freedom System

Admittedly, I am a real sucker for palettes. They're usually great value, and I just love having everything in one handy little case. But the issue I have with most is palettes is that either I don't like all the colours, or else I "miss" having certain items (like lip colour - but then I also hate having to cart around a big palette in my purse just so I can reapply my lipstick).

A lot of companies these days are offering "customisable" palettes where you can pick your own colours and even types of products (e.g. eyeshadow, blush, lipstick) that go into the palette. Bobbi Brown's palette system is one example - but it also comes with a very hefty price tag and limited shades to choose from.

Which is why I think Inglot's Freedom palettes are awesome. They come in two types - the Large and Small Freedom palettes can hold a combination of eyeshadow, face powder or blush, while the smaller Pro palettes can hold eyeshadow, lipstick, concealer, brow powder, or tinted brow gel. Better yet, the shade choices are staggering, and the price very reasonable. For those of you who dream of a palette that truly has everything, I think Inglot is probably about as close as it comes.

I have two of the smaller Pro palettes: a 5-pan and a 3-pan:
  • The 5 pan palette contains (left to right): 1 brow powder (matte dark brown) and 4 eyeshadows (coppery brown, deep grey-brown, medium taupe-grey, golden cream; all with shimmer)
  • The 3-pan palette contains (left to right): two lip colours (coral peach, cool medium pink) and a concealer
I'm actually very happy with my colour choices, as they're extremely versatile. For the eyeshadow I can do either a warm color scheme (cream & coppery brown) or cool color scheme (cream & taupe grey) for daytime. If I want a smokier look, I can add in the darker grey-brown. While I would say the pigmentation is on par with MAC, the colours do lack depth (none are duochrome or opalescent - the shimmer is just a standard shimmer). There are also very limited options for mattes. Overall I think they're quite good though.

For lips, I have one warm peach-nude colour and one cool pink, so I can co-ordinate with what I'm wearing clothing-wise. I LOVE that the lip colors and concealer are in a separate palette - now I can keep this smaller palette in my purse for touch ups without having to lug around any unnecessary items (like eyeshadow). The lip colours themselves are very nice - they are pigmented with an opaque, non-shimmery texture and have a glossy effect. They're not particularly long-lasting, but that's the compromise if you have a glossier product. The concealer is lovely - it reminds me a lot of MAC Studio Sculpt concealer, only a little lighter in texture. Unlike some cream concealers, this one does "dry down" once applied, so that it's less likely to budge during the day.

Overall I really think these are fabulous palettes. I loved choosing my own colours, there were just so many options! It's a shame that the Pro (round-pan) palettes don't incorporate blush, however I think I will eventually look into getting a Small Freedom palette with a face powder,a couple of blushes and a contour colour, as a nice complement to what I already have.

Click here
for details of where to find Inglot in the UK.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Battle of the Powder Foundations... Chanel Mat Lumiere vs MAC StudioFix

I often hear raves about both MAC and Chanel's powder foundations, especially from people who are oily-skinned. So for those of you who are contemplating buying one or the other, or already using one but wondering whether the grass is greener, here are my thoughts...

MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation
This is probably one of the MAC foundations I hear raved about the most... and also seems to be one with a lot of complaints too. The main issue seems to be that it oxidises, sometimes changing color slightly on people if it reacts with their skin. For this reason, I'd definitely suggest test-driving before purchase - although I'm lucky enough that this problem doesn't seem to affect me.

What I like about Studio Fix:
  • Comes in a non-bulky compact, so it's easy to take on the go. I like that there's a compartment underneath for the sponge.
  • Really sucks up that oil! This keeps me matte for a couple of hours at least (which is saying a lot! I'm such a greaseball... eww!) and is the main reason why I've used it on and off for the past 8 years. For anyone wondering, it does do a better oil control job than Studio Fix Fluid, its liquid counterpart.
  • Reasonably good assortment of shades (warm, cool, and neutral - and from light to dark, although those at either end of the spectrum may miss out). Personally, I had no problem finding a match.
  • Sheer but buildable coverage
What I don't like:
  • Can look overly matte and powdery. I combat this by spritzing with water spray or MAC Fix+ when I'm done applying, but I can really only do that in the morning, not when I touch during the day. (Well, I could do it during the day, but I just feel a little too vain whipping out my Evian spray in the ladies).
  • Can be a bit drying on the skin. Although I'm oily, I can feel some parts of my face tighten slightly sometimes (I already use a good moisturiser and primer, so go figure).
Chanel Mat Lumiere Luminous Matte Powder Makeup
Now I'm usually not a label snob, but there's just something about Chanel makeup that's so refined and alluring. But how does Chanel's version of the powder foundation really stack up?

What I like:
  • It gives a beautiful finish. It is matte, but it has a very slight sheen to it (not shimmery or glittery - just a hint of light-reflectiveness). It's really stunning.
  • Very good oil control, on par with MAC and lasts just as long.
  • Can be applied sheerly with a brush or sponge, or damp for a more velvety finish and longer wear (no idea if this can be done with Studio Fix)
  • Hate to say it, but I quite enjoy the elegance factor. It's Chanel. Yes, I'm a sucker...
What I dislike:
  • Compact is elegant, but bulky. The sponge sits to the side of the pan, meaning the compact is very wide. Not so great for tucking into my on-the-go makeup bag.
  • Shades are quite limited. If you're darker than me, you've been totally shafted, since I am only NC30 (medium/olive) and I was matched to the darkest shade that they appear to sell here (#80 - Contour). The best shade match for me also runs ever so slightly too pink for my taste, but I am quite warm-toned.
  • Price! The compact is £32 compared to £18.60 for Studio Fix. Looking more closely, on a price-per-gram basis, this product is nearly twice as expensive: £2.46/gram, compared to £1.24/gram for Studio Fix. If you were committed to using this product ongoing however, you can buy pan refills for your compact instead of buying the full-priced compact each time, which would soften the assualt on your wallet a little.

Overall, I think these are both wonderful products for oily skin - they're long-lasting and keep the skin matte. Personally, I do adore the slightly luminous finish of Mat Lumiere, but I still think MAC Studio Fix is a great product and wouldn't hesitate to repurchase it if I couldn't accommodate Mat Lumiere into my budget. Anyone darker than a MAC NC40 might have real issues finding a Chanel shade that suits, which is very unfortunate. Bottom line: Studio Fix is a great product, but if you find it's too matte, you have some extra money for something nice, and can find a good shade match, the do give the Mat Lumiere a go. Otherwise, I don't really think Mat Lumiere is a must-have.. more of a nicety!

Thursday, 4 June 2009

ELF to launch Studio line in the UK

Great news - ELF has confirmed it will be launching its new Studio line in the UK in July '09!

For those of you who haven't heard about it before now, ELF recently launched a "premium" line of products in the US. With most products in the range priced at US$3, they're an absolute steal. The range of products looks much more upmarket than ELF's regular line (reminiscent of NARS packaging) and includes some wonderfully multifunctional products such as:
  • Blush / Bronzer duo - a dupe of NARS Orgasm/Laguna duo apparently
  • Eyebrow powder / gel duo
  • Concealer pencil & brush (double-ended duo)
  • Eye primer & liner sealer (double-ended duo)
  • Lip primer & plumper (double-ended duo)
In addition, there's a range of Studio brushes, which have had fantastic reviews so far. For those of you who haven't tried ELF's regular line of brushes, they're wonderful quality for the price, so I'm really looking forward to seeing what their Studio line has to bring! Brushes can be purchased individaully or as a full set, and you can even pick up a makeup artist brush belt to go with it!

So, keep an eye out for the Studio Line at www.eyeslipsface.co.uk and check back here soon for reviews :-)

Image credit: www.eyeslipsface.com

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Review: E.L.F. Waterproof Eyeliner Pen

I picked up E.L.F.'s Waterproof Eyeliner Pen a while ago, and I'm very impressed. This eyeliner is a "felt pen" type of eyeliner, with a pointed, flexible tip. This type of applicator allows a good amount of control, since you only need to increase the pressure of application to increase the width of the line. It's very simple to apply, and unlike gel eyeliners it doesn't require any messing around with brushes, which makes it great for travel. Best of all, it really is waterproof - it doesn't budge.

This product is a dead ringer for MAC's Penultimate Eyeliner, which launched in last year's Chill collection and is now part of MAC's permanent line. How are they different? Well, the pigmentation is equal, however the tip of the ELF pen isn't quite as fine as MAC's, which means you can't *quite* get as fine a line as you can with MAC's version. But considering that ELF's version costs £1.50 compared to £11.74 and applies almost as well, I still think ELF's comes out on top. Not to mention, it comes in 4 shades - black, brown, plum and dark blue.

What's the catch? I find with both the MAC and ELF versions that you need to give the product a really vigorous shake for 5-10 seconds before you use it. Otherwise, the liquid doesn't flow out of the tip properly. And neither has quite the fluidity of a really good cream or gel liner.

So, while I'm not quite ready to ditch my MAC Fluidline or Smashbox Cream Eyeliner, I still think the ELF Waterproof Eyeliner Pen is a great product, and definitely something to pick up whether you're on a tight budget or not.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Illamasqua Swatches

Ever since I heard about new cosmetics brand Illamasqua, I've been dying to get myself to the nearest counter. Described as being "for the bolder person hiding inside all of us", Illamasqua boasts a range of highly pigmented makeup in dramatic colours. Indeed, so dramatic that its foundation shades include stark white and coal black.

I managed to get myself down to Selfridges (Oxford St, London) and check out the goodies in person last week. Overall, I was impressed with the quality of the products, although as yet Illamasqua's range is somewhat limited when compared to, for example, MAC.

I ended up buying a palette of 4 lip colours, which turned out to be a great purchase. For £16, you get 4 lip colours of your choice in a custom palette. Granted, on cost-per-gram basis you pay a premium compared to buying a full-size lipstick, however I thought this was a great way to be introduced to the brand and also have something I could take away on summer trips. I ended up choosing 4 matte shades in Abandon (cool pale pink), Corrupt (highly pigmented medium pink), Brink (coral peach) and Encounter (warm red). I've posted up some comparisons of the colours in the palette to MAC & NARS lipsticks so you can see (sorry about the slight blur - the darn camera wouldn't focus!).

What I like about the product: The colours are lovely and very pigmented. They're quite longwearing - I wore Brink yesterday in the summer heat while sipping a Coke Zero and it lasted for hours. And as I mentioned, it's a great way to try out several products from Illamasqua for a small price.

What I dislike: The compact is nice but it's quite bulky, as you can see from the size comparison to the MAC blush. Also, the pans were stuck in with a material similar to double-sided tape. I'm not quite sure whether I can replace individual pans as they run out.

Overall I'm happy with my purchase, as I now have some beautiful bold mattes for summer / travel / evenings out. If you're lucky enough to live close to a counter then definitely check it out, otherwise Illamasqua DO ship worldwide.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Beat the Heat: Travel-Friendly Summer Essentials

With the weather warming up, I’ve been seeing questions posted on beauty forums about what beauty products to wear for summer, particularly for hot and humid climates. Personally, I think the best makeup for summer is ultra-lightweight and long-lasting. Try to avoid powdery looks and let your skin breathe by using the minimum amount of product to create maximum impact. Here are my favourite products to create a complete summer look, which can be packed in a pinch for travel without needing to pack any application tools.

Products pictured above:.

1. Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Daily Mattifying Lotion SPF 15

2. Clinique Moisture Sheer Tint SPF15

3. MAC Blot Powder

4. Lancome Virtuose mascara

5. E.L.F. Waterproof Eyeliner Pen

6-8. MAC Paint Pots in Bare Study, Rubenesque & Indianwood (left to right)

9. Benefit Hoola Bronzing Powder

10. SugarBaby Cream Blush in Flush

11-12. MAC Slimshines in Bare Study & Missy (left to right)

13. L'Oreal Elvive Smooth Intense Anti-frizz Serum

1. Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Daily Mattifying Lotion SPF 15

This is a wonderful moisturiser for summer as it’s virtually weightless, contains sunscreen, and has a built-in mattifier to keep the skin shine-free. Unlike some mattifying moisturisers, this one doesn’t leave the skin feeling tight or looking unnaturally matte. Like the rest of Paula’s range, this product is great for sensitive skins, and is fragrance- and colour-free. The pump-tube packaging is also great for travel.

2. Clinique Moisture Sheer Tint SPF15

This tinted moisturiser is like no other I’ve tried. It has a lightweight gel-cr√®me formula with a slightly matte finish. Unlike most tinted moisturisers, it’s really truly not greasy at all, which makes it great for oily skins or hot weather. The coverage is pretty good for a tinted moisturiser – more like a lightweight foundation – and as an extra bonus it contains sunscreen. Available in three shades; best worn over a light moisturiser.

3. MAC Blot Powder

An everyday essential for me, MAC Blot powder is wonderful for keeping oil and shine away for hours. Unlike many powders, it does not contain talc, so it doesn’t leave that “powdery” look that many face powders can. Comes in a travel-friendly compact with mirror.

4. Lancome Virtuose Mascara

For summertime eyes, partner a sheer, shimmery eyeshadow with a volume-building mascara for maximum impact. I actually got this tube of Lancome Virtuose as a free sample with a magazine, and I’m very impressed. It has a nice volumising effect even on my short lashes, but unlike some formulas it doesn’t seem to clump up after a few weeks (hello Diorshow I’m talking to you!).

5. E.L.F. Waterproof Eyeliner Pen

Forget smudgy pencil liners, or messy gel liners that require a brush, and go for a long-wearing liquid eyeliner pen. E.L.F.’s eyeliner pen is long-lasting and super easy to apply even for a novice – it has a flexible tip similar to a felt pen, so you can vary the thickness of the line by applying more or less pressure. It’s very similar to the Penultimate Liner released by MAC last year, but for US$1, this one’s a steal.

6.-8. MAC Paint Pots

In high heat, powder eyeshadows can fade and crease, so for budge-proof beauty try a long-wearing cream eyeshadow instead. MAC Paint Pots come in a range of colours, including some lovely shimmery neutrals that are must-haves for summer. Try Bare Study (shimmery champagne), Rubenesque (shimmery apricot) or Indianwood (frosty copper) to create a soft, barely-there eye look. You don’t have to use a brush to apply, so you can literally just smudge and go.

9. Benefit Hoola Bronzing Powder

For bronzers, I think a matte finish is best to achieve a natural look. The trouble is finding one that doesn’t make one look like a tangerine… Mmm classy! Benefit Hoola definitely fits the bill – unlike many bronzers, it has no orange or red tones. It comes with a cute little brush so you can take it on the go.

10. SugarBaby Cream Blush

Cream blushes are lovely in summer as they add a radiant hint of colour without a heavy, powdery feel. To beat the heat, stay away from “creamy” formulations and choose highly pigmented, sheer formulations. SugarBaby Cream Blush in “Flush” is a sheer coral to brighten the complexion. It doesn’t contain orange tones, so just about anyone can wear this shade. Just apply with fingertips and blend. Best of all, it’s budget-friendly and comes in a travel-friendly compact with mirror.

11-12. MAC Slimshines

These sheer colours for lips are best described as “gloss sticks” rather than traditional lipsticks. They are ultra-glossy like a lip gloss, but without any stickiness whatsoever, or the heavy feeling of a lipstick. Even those who hate to wear lipstick will love these. I really like the colours Bare (which adds a hint of natural pearlescent colour to lips) and Missy (a sheer summery coral).

13. L’Oreal Elvive Smooth Intense Anti-Frizz Serum

When the humidity hits, it’s time to fight the frizz! This hair serum is surprisingly lightweight, and smooths out frizzy ends without making them greasy. It’s a very versatile product – you can apply to wet hair to smooth it out when blowdrying, or on dry hair to tame frizzy fly-aways, or simply apply to wet hair and let it dry naturally.

Me and my blog... here we are at last!

Hi and welcome to my beauty blog! A little bit about me - I'm a self-confessed makeup addict from New Zealand (a Kiwi, as we are known!), living in the United Kingdom. I'm not a makeup professional, but I love trying out new products and techniques (and of course, testing them out on myself). I enjoy learning new things from others, so please feel more than welcome to share your thoughts and comments :-) I don't have a massive budget to spend on products, so you won't see any massive product hauls on here, however you will see plenty of first-hand reviews of MAC products and lower-end items too. Requests are also welcome.