30.6.16

Brand Focus: John Frieda

Brand Focus: John Frieda
I've always found the array of hair care products available a little dizzying (more so than the choice of MAC lipsticks!), they all claim to be your personal at home hair stylist in a bottle, but those claims rarely ring true. So over the last few weeks I've been putting a few hair products by John Frieda to the test, to see if his salon-inspired formulas really do work and the verdicts are in.

John Frieda Brilliant Brunette Multi-Tone Revealing Enhancing Shampoo & Conditioner £6.99 
I've never been loyal to any particular set of shampoo and conditioner; I usually pick up whatever is on offer and as long as it cleans I'm content! And John Frieda's Brilliant Brunette Multi-Tone Revealing Enhancing Shampoo & Conditioner may have an unnecessarily long name, but its formulation of crushed pearls and sweet almond oil helps clean and truly enhance the colour of my hair. I use just a small amount of the brown gel and cream to cleanse and condition and after use my hair is silky smooth and with continued use it gives a multi-tonal lift. Whilst they work well as a pair, when the shampoo is used alone it can be a tad drying. Nevertheless, if you're looking to keep the colour of your natural or colour-treated hair fresh, this might just be the natural boost you're after. 

John Frieda Frizz-Ease Moisture Barrier Hairspray £5.99
I've never found a hairspray that truly holds my hair in place without looking like I'm wearing a helmet. But the John Frieda Frizz-Ease Moisture Barrier Hairspray has a flexible formula that leaves my hair soft to touch whilst helping hold my hairstyle. In all honesty I've not noted a "moisture barrier" as such, but this hairspray helps prevent frizz come wind, rain or shine and even resists the humidity of the London Underground! I'd love to get my hands on a mini to take away on holiday and John Frieda's Luxurious Volume Thickening Hairspray is next on my list to try. 

John Frieda Frizz-Ease Perfect Finish Polishing Serum £6.99
John Frieda's Frizz-Ease Perfect Finishing Polishing Serum does exactly what it says on the tin. The silky serum has been a godsend in recent weeks helping me to disguise my split ends (and the fact I'm well overdue a hair cut!). Just one pump rubbed between the palms of my hands and worked through the mid lengths of my hair, this seriously lightweight serum controls flyaways, smooths, adds gloss and also prevents static which is common in finer hair, all without being too slick. The polishing serum can be applied to wet or dry hair and yes you'll be left with greasy hands, but not greasy hair!

John Frieda Luxurious Volume Thickening Blow Dry Lotion £6.99
Whilst John Frieda's Luxurious Volume Thickening Blow Dry Lotion doesn't give as much va va voom as the Charles Worthington Texturising Spray, it's the only blow-dry product I've used that helps me achieve a full bodied head of hair. I apply a light spritz to towel dried hair; concentrating on the under-section at the roots (to avoid getting crunchy coarse hair) and post blow dry the non-sticky lotion does just the trick for boosting my hair when it lacks volume and bounce. 

Have you tried any of these products from John Frieda?
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28.6.16

Urban Decay Ex-Girlfriend Vice Lipstick | Review & Swatches

Urban Decay Ex-Girlfriend Vice Lipstick | Review & Swatches
Urban Decay did something crazy, they said goodbye to all their existing lipsticks! But hold your breath, they repackaged, reformulated and then reintroduced them into the world, in an endless arsenal of 100 shades, six finishes and they are all permanent, so don't fret - they won't be going anywhere anytime soon! And it goes without saying that every lipstick lover freaked out (including myself) and like they say out with the old in with the new... So let me introduce you to 1 of the 100 Urban Decay Vice Lipsticks in Ex-Girlfriend. 

Urban Decay Ex-Girlfriend Vice Lipstick £15.00 (not to be confused with Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani Ex-Girlfriend) is described as a "nude-rose with pink shimmer and sheer finish" but painted on my pout it a light buildable peachy-brown that has a touch of warmth. Just one swipe lays down enough colour and is not too loud, or too boring and instantly adds some polish. The finish is as described; sheer. The shade has a very slight iridescent pink shimmer, but don't misinterpret the shimmer for chunky glitter, it's a subtle shimmer, rather like MAC's Peach Blossom, that leaves my lips looking shiny and full. It's one of the easiest to wear lipsticks I own. It doesn't drag or skip, has a smooth texture and is comfortable on the lips. In short, it's the kinda a lippy that you don't need a mirror to apply. And due to its formulation of aloe vera, jojoba and avocado oils it nourishes and softens the lips leaving them lightly moisturised. And how can I not mention the newly spruced up version of Urban Decay's original lipstick case? The 100 shades are encased in a light gunmetal barrel, with a gold bottom and shade-matched label - not a bad upgrade eh?

Urban Decay Ex-Girlfriend Vice Lipstick | Review & Swatches
What are your thoughts on the new Urban Decay Vice lipsticks?
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27.6.16

3 Products For A Quicker Blow-Dry

3 Products For A Quicker Blow-Dry
Confession: I often go to bed with wet hair. I know, terrible right?! Background: I have thick, long hair and it can take an excruciating amount of time to blow my barnet. But recently I've stocked my shelves with a handful of blow-dry products and whilst they don't replace a professional blow out, they reduce blow-dry time and make the blow-dry process a little less painful. 

Pre blow-dry using the nifty pump dispenser I take the pearly cream and use sparingly through the mid-lengths of my damp hair. This clever product from Redken perfectly primes my hair by speeding up the blow-dry process all whilst protecting my hair from damage. I find the formulation is far superior to the likes of Redken's Pollow Proof Blow Dry Express Primer Spray, which has the tendency to leave my hair a little crunchy. The formulation of the primer cream isn't sticky and leaves my hair soft and tangle free without a hint of crunchiness. It's also a great multitasker as it provides heat protection and it smells uh-mazing! This primer treatment from Redken is suitable for all hair types and is perfect if you're on a budget. 

Round brushing my hair is a trick I'm yet to master and maybe best left in the hands of a pro - you'll sympathise with me if you've ever got your hair stuck in a round brush! But this innovative paddle brush from Tangle Teezer makes the process much more manageable for those of us with medium to long hair. And whilst it does take a little getting used to, when used right it delivers on its promise cutting blow-dry time with its quick-drying teeth that 'rapidly extract surface water from the hair shaft'. I personally reach for this brush over the likes of my Original Tangle Teezer when blow-drying my hair, as I find it easy to keep the blow dryer moving constantly with the brush without pulling or yanking on the hair. The end result is smooth and straight hair without the use of straighteners. My only minor complaint would be that the brush is a tad heavy and the plastic teeth are very rigid, so be careful when using the brush at the top of your head. 

It may cost a pretty penny for just 25ml of Moroccanoil Treatment, but a little goes a long way and the fact I've repurchased this product time and time again is testament to just how good it is. Worked through damp hair avoiding the roots before I blitz with my dryer, this high quality oil infused with antioxidant rich argan oil and vitamins, not only cuts blow dry time, also eliminates frizz, restores shine, straightens and leaves my hair soft to touch without weighing it down. It's also the perfect product to pop in your bag when jetting off on holiday, as not only does it finish and condition it protects against environmental damage thanks to the UV protectors in the argan oil.

What products do you use for a quick blow dry?
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26.6.16

Modern Renaissance Eye Shadow Palette by Anastasia Beverly Hills | Review & Swatches

Modern Renaissance Eye Shadow Palette by Anastasia Beverly Hills | Review & Swatches
I've never been disappointed with any Anastasia Beverly Hills product and their latest release the Modern Renaissance Eye Shadow Palette is no exception. Possibly one of the most gorgeous eyeshadow palettes I own. Anastasia Beverly Hills very first permanent eyeshadow palette has met my neutral needs and then some.

The new palette features 14 eyeshadows housed in a dusty pink velvety mirrored compact (similar to Urban Decay's original Naked palette). The shade assortment is comparable to the Violet Voss Holy Grail Palette and is filled with richly pigmented warm toned hues perfect for day and night and there's not a throwaway in the bunch. From earthy mattes, bold berry tones, burnt orange and a few standout pinks, they make for an ultra flattering mix. And if metallic eyeshadows aren't your thing, you'll be pleased to hear that Modern Renaissance Eye Shadow palette houses primarily matte eyeshadows with just 3 metallics available to dip into. The palette is accompanied by a soft dual ended bristle brush, which is a cut above the rest. And whilst I tend to reach for my Spectrum brushes, I wouldn't hesitate to make use of the ABH brush especially when travelling. 

Modern Renaissance Eye Shadow Palette by Anastasia Beverly Hills | Review & Swatches

The quality of these eyeshadows on a whole is very good and the formula is pretty consistent across the board (formula consistency is my biggest pet peeve when it comes to eyeshadow palettes). All the shadows are creamy and have a seriously rich colour payoff and build and blend effortlessly - so you don't need to be a master at blending! I was surprised to find these shadows apply well directly onto the lid without a primer and even without a primer boast a wear time of around 5 hours and 8 hours when worn with primer. It's simply a delight to use!

This is now my second Anastasia Beverly Hills eyeshadow palette and whilst they are priced higher than most; I can vouch for the quality and say they are well worth the money. This palette is a must have for any eyeshadow lover, hoarder, collector and ABH devotee. I'm looking forward to seeing ABH release a permanent cool toned palette. But it's safe to say that for the time being my eyeshadow palette craving has been well satisfied.

Modern Renaissance Eye Shadow Palette by Anastasia Beverly Hills | Review & Swatches
Modern Renaissance Eye Shadow Palette by Anastasia Beverly Hills | Review & Swatches
Modern Renaissance Eye Shadow Palette by Anastasia Beverly Hills | Review & Swatches
Modern Renaissance Eye Shadow Palette by Anastasia Beverly Hills | Review & Swatches

Tempera: a light beige with a satin sheen.
Golden Ochre: a muted earth-toned matte yellow.
Vermeer: iridescent shell pink with warm undertones and frosted finish.
Buon Fresco: a matte muted medium lavendar. 
Antique Bronze: a dark brown with red undertones and a pearly finish.
Love Letter: a dark raspberry with a matte finish.
Cyprus Umber: a matte taupe brown.
Raw Sienna: a neutral light-medium brown with golden undertones.
Burnt Orange: a matte medium orange.
Primavera: a shimmering medium gold.
Red Ochre: muted red stone with a matte finish.
Venetian Red: a medium matte dark red.
Warm Taupe: earth-toned grey with warm undertones and a matte finish
Realgar: a brick orange with a demi-matte finish. 

The Modern Renaissance Eye Shadow Palette is available online here (£41.00).

Have you purchase the ABH Modern Renaissance Eye Shadow Palette?
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19.6.16

Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Highlighter Powder in Sin | Review & Swatches

Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Highlighter Powder in Sin | Review & Swatches

Urban Decay’s 2016 Summer Collection has arrived and it’s b-e-a-u-tiful. The new range features five permanent products described as their “summer essentials for a natural, radiant glow”. And it’s not surprising that the first product to catch my eye was their Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Highlighter Powder. The new glow getter is available in three shades ‘Aura’, ‘Fireball’ and ‘Sin’; a quintessential champagne highlight and all-round people pleaser.

Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Highlighter Powder in Sin | Review & Swatches

The packaging alone was enough for me to part with my pennies. You can spot the shade through the “UD” fishnet cut-out and the silver compact fits nicely into the palm of my hand and everyday beauty bag. The three Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Highlighter Powders are proving popular and the shade in ‘Sin’ is a light gold highlight with warm undertones and a frosted, semi-metallic finish. And whilst inspired by their bestselling eyeshadow in ‘Sin’, they’re not to be compared as it far less pink. The formulation doesn’t disappoint, it’s finely milled, lightweight, super-soft, creamy in texture and infused with light-diffusing pigments. In fact I found the formulation comparable to theBalm Mary Lumaizor, but Mary Lou is less shimmery and warmer in tone. ‘Sin’ is not too flat, or too flashy, meaning it can be worn with a light hand during the day for a subtle glow and come night can be built up to a higher intensity for a full on strobed effect. The shade blends well and is long lasting on the skin, however I find it can on occasion emphasise my pores. So if you’re concerned with your skin texture, you may want to test this in store prior to purchasing.

Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Highlighter Powder in Sin | Review & Swatches

All in all, if you’re a highlighter hoarder like myself and find buildability is important when it comes to highlighting your high-points, Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Highlighter Powder (£19.00) in ‘Sin’ might just be what you inner magpie is after. And I for one have been obsessing over their latest collection since its release and anticipate this won’t be my only Urban Decay purchase this summer… 

Have you tried anything from Urban Decay's 2016 Summer Collection?
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10.6.16

The L'Oréal Lip Kit

L'Oréal Color Riche Lip Liner Couture in 630 Beige a Nu

Kylie Jenner's Lip Kits and glosses are still sold out. I tried to get my mitts on a Lip Kit at the launch, at the first restock, second restock and following restocks. Admittedly I'm a little disappointed at my lack of luck and I quite frankly started to care less about the product and more to see if I could actually get them before they sold out! Nevertheless, whilst my persistence hasn't paid off, I've sourced my very own lip kit, but from L'Oréal, which doesn't break the bank, spares the disappointment and might just be as good as the real thing...

If you think you didn't need a lip liner think again. The L'Oréal Color Riche Lip Liner Couture in 630 Beige a Nu (£3.99) will make you a believer. The easy to wear liner is a flattering mix of pink and beige and is the perfect beauty tool to reshape, resize and balance my lips. The pencil although initially a little hard, becomes a dream to apply once sharpened, gliding along the outline of my lips without tugging. Its soft, smooth and creamy texture, results in frequent sharpening, but it's not drying in the slightest, nor does it feather, or crease and provides a nice base for subsequent lip products. 

The L'Oréal Lip KitL'Oréal Color Riche Lip Liner Couture in 630 Beige a Nu swatch

Speaking of subsequent lip products, whilst I do appreciate a matte lip, I've been pairing the L'Oréal Color Riche Lip Liner with L'Oréal's Infallible MegaGloss in 'Potest Queen' (£6.99)And this lip-gloss is not to be scoffed at! The light peachy pink gloss has a cream finish and when worn with the liner, the colour combination is perfection and my lips are left looking voluminous. In fact, the shade is comparable to Kylie Jenner's lip-gloss in 'So Cute' and whilst the two products share similarities in colour, L'Oréal’s lip-gloss has a grooved doe-foot applicator opposed to a brush, which hugs the lips allowing for effortless application. The cream formulation is matte (no sparkle in sight), seriously smooth, has a nice amount of pigmentation, is non-sticky and has the moisture of a balm. And what I particularly like about this gloss is when applied it delivers a more dewy finish, rather than the intense high shine that's usually associated with lip-glosses. 

Overall, since purchasing the pair from L'Oréal I've been reapplying at will and have worn nothing else. So if like me you simply cannot wait for yet another restock of Kylie Jenner's Lip Kits check these two out. They might just be the perfect alternative to the colour you're craving.

Will you wait patiently until Kylie restocks, or give the L'Oréal Lip Kit a try?
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8.6.16

The Scent Of Summer: Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess Perfume

The Scent Of Summer: Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess Perfume
Estée Lauder's Bronze Goddess Eau Fraîche Skinscent is the ultimate summer fragrance. I first spritzed the holiday inspired aroma in-store late last summer and it was an instant attraction, but before I knew it I had missed the mark (my purse was lacking pennies) and the limited edition summer scent had gone back into hibernation. But as soon as it was reissued this spring in Estée Lauder’s yearly Bronze Goddess Collection, it was on my radar. And up until now I had resisted temptation, but shopping online via Octer made the purchase all too easy and before I knew it I had succumbed and popped the product into my online basket.

Whilst I own a vast amount of perfumes, Bronze Goddess is surprisingly my only Estée Lauder fragrance. But the gold-topped ombré glass bottle is a welcomed addition to my collection. Described as “a sensuous, sun-drenched blend of Bergamot, warm Amber, Tiare Flower and Vanilla combined with delicious creamy Coconut” it takes just one spritz to transport me back onto the beach in Kos, where I’m sipping a piña colada having just applied sun cream. I've always enjoyed and been drawn to fragrances that include a blend of vanilla and coconut, such as Victoria Secrets Coconut Passion Fragrance Mist. And this fresh, yet creamy fragrance from Estée Lauder isn't too sweet or fruity and has a light floral note. Overall, it's the perfect combination.

If like me you like to switch up your perfume season to season, I recommend you splurge on something a little more exotic than a new pair of sandals this summer. And after all, Estée Lauder's Bronze Goddess (£50.00) doesn't grace the shelves for long. Go on, I know you're tempted...

What's your scent of summer?
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6.6.16

L'Oréal Nude Magique Cushion Foundation: An In-Depth Review

L'Oréal Nude Magique Cushion Foundation: An In-Depth Review
Following in the footsteps of their parent company Estée Lauder, L’Oreal has released their very first cushion compact; the L’Oreal Paris Nude Magique Cushion Foundation and everyone is talking about it. The trend and technology that kicked off in Korea has finally started to appear on the UK high-street. And you could say there’s soon to be more cushion for the pushin’ with more brands such as Lancôme, KIKO, Autograph and Pür Minerals jumping on the bandwagon. But has L’Oreal’s latest edition set the bar high for its rivals?

Like the makeup magpie I am, I spotted the pearlescent purple packaging instantly when browsing the L’Oreal counter. The L’Oreal Paris Nude Magique Cushion Foundation compact speaks loudly to a millennial audience as it’s far different from their standard simplistic packaging. The compact houses two compartments, one for the provided applicator and the second for the cushion sponge that’s saturated in liquid foundation. The overall concept is convenient, as you can use the applicator provided to tap the foundation onto the skin, or use your own brush, or beauty blender for quick, even, effortless application and re-application. It’s also perfect for travel, as you need not worry about spills, or liquid allowance!

Personally like to grab my favourite foundation brush and tap it directly into the cushion. The coverage is customisable, from sheer to medium and whilst far better than I anticipated, it’s not very buildable beyond a medium coverage. The finish can also be tailored to your liking, as a thin veil imparts a nice natural glow and the more you apply the dewier your base becomes. I would describe the L’Oreal Paris Nude Magique Cushion Foundation as a light reflecting base, leaving my skin more even toned, but it doesn’t disguise imperfections. Throughout the day it wears relatively well, but isn’t as longwearing as L’Oreal’s Infallible range and generally requires setting down with a dusting of translucent powder (on my t-zone in particular) to ensure it doesn’t slip. Overall, the formulation is weightless, breathable and moisturising and its light formula is surprising considering its SPF of 25.

Whilst I’m thoroughly impressed with the L’Oreal Paris Nude Magique Cushion Foundation formulation, I’m not quite a cushion convert. Why? Well for a few reasons. 1) The compact doesn’t pack as much product as a bottle - I’ve already found I need to flip the cushion over every now and then to help dispense more foundation. 2) I’m curious to find out how this foundation would perform if it was supplied in a bottle. 3) With a price point of £14.99 I question its value for money. BUT, having said that, this foundation is great for those that aren’t so great at applying foundation, has customisable coverage and finish and is perfect for on the go. So, if you buy one thing this month, make sure it’s L’Oreal’s Paris Nude Magique Cushion Foundation – its without-a-doubt one to try.  

The L’Oreal Paris Nude Magique Cushion Foundation is available in seven shades and is sold online here for £14.99.

Have you tried L'Oréal's Cushion Foundation?
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2.6.16

My MAC Nude Lipstick Collection

My MAC Nude Lipstick Collection with swatches
Back in 2012, I purchased my very first MAC lipstick (Loverlorn) and little did I know fast forward a few years I would become obsessed with the iconic vanilla scented hues. But it's okay, I'm not alone; MAC lipstick counters are notoriously busy, swamped with frenzied females seeking out shades they don't already own, amongst the hundreds on offer. But there's just something about the black bullets that get us girls going (no pun intended!). So today, I wanted to share my MAC nude lipstick collection, classic fail-safe shades that set off a smokey eye and work well with every eyeshadow and outfit. And it's important to remember it's not about matching your skin tone, nude isn't one colour and nude lipsticks are fickle, what works for me, may not work for you. But all in all nude lipsticks make for a perfectly polished pout... 

Velvet Teddy is described as "deep-tone beige" with a matte finish and is without a doubt a true nineties nude. Applied directly onto my lips it's more of a muted medium-dark beige, with a pink undertone. At first, I found the shade dauntingly dark, especially when paired with MAC Soar Lip Liner, but the two shades are wearing on me. I also like to wear Velvet Teddy with a swipe of Brave by MAC. Whilst creamy in texture in comparison to the likes of MAC Ruby Woo (retro matte), Velvet Teddy can be a tad drying when reapplied. 

MAC Brave lipstick is described as a "pink-beige with a white pearl" with a satin finish. But applied directly onto my lips it’s more of a soft rosy neutral pink, with a slight cool undertone. MAC Brave is lighter than Soar lip liner and pinker than Velvet Teddy. And due to its satin semi-matte finish, it's opaque, comfortable, and easy to apply and has good wear time of around 3 hours and leaves a light stain on the lips. 

MAC Modesty is described as a  "muted neutral pink" and is the perfect blend between pink and brown and isn't too cool or warm toned. Modesty is opaque in just one swipe and has a cremesheen finish (creamy balmy texture, with a buildable coverage - which if by far my favourite MAC Lipstick finish), that doesn't cling to dry patches and is easy to wear. I've read and heard very little about Modesty, which is surprising as I reach for it over the likes of Velvet Teddy and Brave. 

My most worn nude lipstick from MAC, Peach Blossom is the ultimate naked lipstick. Described as a "frosted cool nude", Peach Blossom is more of a light peachy pink. The cremesheen lipstick from MAC is super flattering enhances my lips leaving them looking luscious and full. Peach Blossom has a semi-sheer lightweight finish (which unfortunately requires frequent top-ups), but is a great alternative if you're not a fan of lip-gloss. It's a throw on shade, comfortable wear and is forever found in my handbag. 

In the words of Vivianna from VDM, MAC Patisserie is a people pleasing lipstick. And those words alone enabled my purchase and yes, I was very pleased when I painted my pout with the "sheer creamy neutral pink". MAC Patisserie has a lustre finish (lightweight and sheer) and is more pink than brown and a soft gold shimmer runs through the bullet, but doesn't migrate onto the lips unless layered. Without a doubt a shade I wish I had tried sooner! 

MAC Shy Girl is described as a "creamy neutral coral beige" with a cremesheen finish. Shy Girl is a throwback shade in my MAC nude collection, being the first nude lipstick I purchased from MAC. The peachy nude is unlike anything else I own and I personally find the coral undertone becomes more apparent the more I apply, so usually apply just one swipe otherwise things tend to get a little too coral. Admittedly, not a shade I reach for all that often in recent, but a beauty blogger classic. 

Described as a "light blue pink" MAC Crème Cup is my least worn nude from MAC. This isn't for any particular reason, but the light pink has a creamy, opaque formula, which is great if you're after something more pigmented and pale, but I tend gravitate towards sheerer shades on a day-to-day basis. Crème Cup is described as a "blue pink" but it isn't as bright, or blue as MAC Snob. This shade may be one to pair with a lip liner... I’ll report back. 

My MAC Nude Lipstick Collection swatches

All shades are available to buy online and in-store for £15.50.

What's your favourite nude lipstick from MAC?
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