Sunday, 12 June 2011

Perfect Spring / Summer Cheeks with Smashbox Cream Cheek Duo

Smashbox is unfortunately not very widely available in the UK, but recently when I was in Debenhams Oxford St I managed to pick up this lovely cream blush duo from the Smashbox counter.

I love cream blushes in spring and summer as they leave a fresh, dewy glow - perfect for popping over a tinted moisturiser on a sunny day. This one is no exception, and I love that there are two complementary shades. One is a warm peachy-pink; the other shade is a cooler-toned medium pink. The colours can be used alone, or blended / layered together. Both are very pigmented, but as you can see in my swatches they can easily be blended to a sheerer colour. The texture is non-greasy and non-sticky. Wear time is about 6 hours - about as good as I get from any cream blush really.

The lighter shade is a great everyday colour but I especially love the flamingo pink - it's not as scary as it looks but creates a nice bright pop of colour.

These duos are still available at Debenhams Oxford St and are part of the In Bloom collection. If I recall correctly they are about 18 pounds.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Steal vs Splurge: Boots No7 Instant Radiance Foundation vs. Bobbi Brown Skin

There's no doubt I'm a something of a snob when it comes to foundation - generally I stick to Bobbi Brown for foundations and occasionally venture into MAC, Dior or Chanel. Which is why I was very pleasantly surprised by Boots No7 Instant Radiance foundation.

The last time I bought a drugstore foundation was probably in my teens, when I bought my very first foundation, Revlon Colorstay. It had a tendency to thicken over time and I never quite found the right colour match. But goodness I loved it - until at some point I discovered MAC and never looked back.

Until recently, that is - when I had a £5 voucher for No7 and on a whim picked up the Instant Radiance foundation. What really drew me in is that the consistency is very, very close to my absolute favourite foundation, Bobbi Brown Skin. If you've ever tried the Skin foundation, you'll know it's very lightweight (almost watery-feeling) and dries down to a very skin-like, radiant, slightly dewy finish. The Instant Radiance does exactly the same and honestly I can't tell much if any difference at all in the quality and finish. I've been wearing it for the last 2 weeks and I like it as much as, if not more than, Bobbi's version. It's a lovely foundation for warmer days when you want something light and natural but need a bit more coverage than a tinted moisturiser.

Instant Radiance only comes in a limited shade range (compared to Bobbi's very broad shade range) but I was lucky enough that New Ivory was a perfect match for me (MAC NC30). The shades seemed to run yellow, which for me is a good thing as it really gives my skin a lift. I do think the formula would work well on all skin types - dry skin will love its hydrating properties. My skin is very oily, but I did not find I had to blot or powder any more than usual and it's lasted well enough through some long and busy days.

The Instant Radiance retails at £12.50 for 30ml (£7.50 with voucher) compared to the BB Skin at £29 for 30ml. Bottom line: if you can find a colour match, it's definitely worth giving a whirl - it's a steal!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Review: New CID i-Smoulder Eyeshadow & Liner Pencils

Recently I've discovered a UK-based line of cosmetics called New CID. I've only seen counters on Oxford Street in London, but it's also available through several online retailers as well (e.g. QVC, Lookfantastic).

The i-Smoulder pencils intrigued me as they're a similar concept to the Stila Convertible Eye Colours, if you're familiar with those. At one end you have an eyeliner pencil - in this case, a flat pencil which can be angled for either a thin or thick line as you please. The other end unscrews to reveal a sponge-tipped applicator loaded with a cream eyeshadow. You apply your eyeliner pencil, then smudge out the cream shadow over the lid to create a soft, smokey eye look.

The two shades I have are Amethyst (a warm pinky plum) and Azure (a soft greyed blue with a metallic sheen). Both are lovely and surprisingly wearable colours. The liners are not particularly pigmented but go on soft and are nicely smudgeable. The cream shadows are easily blended, although I did get better results blending the shadow with a brush rather than with the sponge applicator included.

The only issue I had with these is that they do have a tendency to fade and crease. I definitely need to use a primer underneath, which seems to help. I wouldn't wear these on a night out as I don't think they would last, but are better suited for when I want a fresh and summery day look, or need something I can apply on the go.

I will be posting more about New CID as I do have some of their other products, some of which now count among my everyday staples. It's interesting to explore a new brand, and even nicer that it's local!

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Star Violet is back (with a new name!)

It's been a long time since I last posted, but I've decided to give blogging another attempt! I stopped posting a while back as it was getting very difficult to find the time. I also managed to lose my camera on a work trip, so was unable to share photos for a while until I could get a new one.

Since then I've changed jobs and also moved cities. I'm no longer living in Oxford - as much as I liked living there, the commute was just too long. So now I have a much easier time getting to and from work - and hopefully, more time to blog..!

I'm still buying and using a lot of cosmetics - my most recent obsessions have been with Laura Mercier, Bobbi Brown and NARS so I'm sure I'll be posting about these in the near future. You might wonder why the blog is no longer "Star Violet" - I discovered (purely by accident) that there is another blogger who is also using that name. To avoid any confusion, I'm now Miss Violet.

That's all for now, and I hope to be posting again very soon!