Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Max Factor Haul: Liptensity Lipstick, Creme Puff Blush, and an amazing gift with purchase

Max Factor Lipfinity Lipstick and Creme Puff Blush Review

I've never really been a Max Factor kinda girl. I don't know why - it's just one of those brands that I've always bypassed in Boots. I've seen Ruth Crilly wax lyrical about the Creme Puff Blushes; I've seen the Sunday Girl (who I trust implicitly on the primer front) declare undying love for the Facefinity primer; but until now, I've never picked them up. There was an unbelieveable gift with purchase in Boots the other day - three full-size products, including the aforementioned primer-of-dreams - so I finally took the plunge!

The Creme Puff Blush in Lovely Pink is a light, luminous pink shade. It's very complexion enhancing - I know everyone and their granny has said this, but this formula really reminds me of the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes - granted, not quite such a finely milled texture; but it does give the same light, luminous flush to the cheeks. It's on the sheerer side - but this means it is very easy to use, build up if desired, and hard to overdo. This shade, Lovely Pink, is perhaps a little light for my summer skin tone, but for winter, or on a fairer skin, this would be really beautiful.

The Lipfinity Lipstick in Evermore Sublime is a lovely, cool-toned pink. The texture is nice, and leaves a satin-matte finish on the lips. I'm not sure I get much more weartime from this than, say, a MAC Matte lipstick, but it is very comfortable to wear and the shade range is all lovely, vibrant shades - great for brightening up chilly winter days!

Max Factor False Lash Effect Mascara, Facefinity Primer Review

The gift with purchase is pictured above - pretty incredible, right?! I've only tested the Max Factor Facefinity primer for a couple of days - but so far, it's impressing me. There's a definite increase in makeup wear-time - I'd say easily an extra hour or two - and does seem to control a bit of oil. I wouldn't say its particularly pore-filling, but it allows for a flattering natural-matte finish for most of the day, without tipping  too matte, or letting my oily skin just run riot.

The mascara is.. well, I like it, but I don't agree with the name. False lash effect it is not (on my stumpy lashes anyway) but the teeny brush allows for lovely separation and volume at the roots, which gives a really fresh, bright-eyed look which is lovely for every day.

Max Factor False Lash Effect Mascara

Below are swatches of the Creme Puff blush (very light, as you can see, on my olive NC25-30 skin) the Lipfinity long lasting lipstick in Evermore Sublime, and the Colour Elixir Lip Gloss from the GWP. You'll know I'm a bit fussy when it comes to glosses from my Gerard Cosmetics gloss review - the texture of this is a million times more pleasant, but it does have a slightly weird tutti-frutti scent (which does fade quickly, so it's not a huge issue).

Max Factor Creme Puff Blush Swatch

All in all, a really nice introduction to the brand for me. I'll definitely be picking up another Creme Puff blush or five...

Have you used many Max Factor products?

Some links above are affiliate links. all products mentioned bought with my own money.


Monday, 28 November 2016

Gerard Cosmetics Lip Gloss Review - Are they Worth The Hype?

Gerard Cosmetics Lip Glosses

The internet imploded when Gerard Cosmetics hit the scene a few years ago. Initially supported by Jaclyn Hill amongst others, the lip glosses were the original stars of the show. Promising rich pigment, long wear time, and (usually) at a knockdown price, beauty addicts went craaaazzzyyyy for the brand. Are they really worth the hype?

You'll know from my previous worth the hype-type posts on Morphe, Colourpop, and Anastasia, that I'll give things a good road-test before deciding yay or nay - I'm not a first-impressions lover, personally. I've tried these on and off for 8 months or so - you can see above, one of my glosses is in the old packaging!

Packaging - a bit gimmicky, if I'm honest. Perhaps vaguely useful to have a light in your gloss in the back of a taxi. But honestly? I'm so likely to poke myself in the eye with lip gloss after a gin or two that I shouldn't be trusted with makeup in a moving car. They are pretty solid, however, and there's no leaking of product from the top.

Colours - great. Huge colour range, mega-super-duper-pigmented on the whole, and vinyl-shiny. These are not half-hearted glosses - they pack a punch in the colour department. The red gloss below, Candy Apple, is really beautiful and smoothing on the lips - a fantastic Christmas colour!

Texture - thick. Thick and icky. In that respect, it's an old-school formulation. Once they're on, they are on - not necessarily in a pleasant way. The wear time is pretty long - at least 4 hours most of the time, but they are by no means comfortable in my experience. Your hair will stick to Color Your Smile Glosses like it's 1999. If you're a NYX Butter Gloss fan - stick with NYX. The texture is far superior. You won't like these. Trust me.

Gerard Cosmetics Lip Gloss Swatches
Swatches - Candy Apple, Nude, Plum Crazy, Pouty Princess
You can see in the swatches above how thick they are - they sit like oil paint on canvas. This is double-edged - in the darker colours, this almost fills in lip lines and gives a really full-lip appearance. In the lighter pink and nude shades, however, this means the pigment settles in to my lip lines and looks gross after about half an hour. Not ok.

So - a mixed bag. If you can trade off thick and sticky for vinyl-shine and mega-colour, you'll love 'em. If you aren't in to thick textures, you'll hate them. Me? I love the red so much I'm willing to deal with the texture, but otherwise, I just can't wear these.

Have you tried Gerard Cosmetics Color Your Smile Lighted Lip Glosses? What did you think?

Some links above are affiliate links. All products mentioned bought with my own money.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder

Our Charlotte's done it again. I'm already a huge Lip Cheat fan (if you've not tried Pillow Talk yet, get on that bandwagon - it's brilliant), and really love my little luxe Glamour Muse palette. I was in Fenwicks, and in need of a new compact powder. A super-trusted friend advised me I needed this in my life, and, well, I'm not one to argue with a CT recommendation...

Before even opening the thing - LOOK at that compact. Ms. Tilbury is the packaging queen. This is a joy to use - it feels really special, and is chunky and luxurious with a decent click closure. There's a useable mirror, and no sponge - which, personally, is a bonus for me - does anyone use the sponges in a powder compact?! I find they just deposit a zillion times the required amount - helloooooo cake face. Is it just me?

 There is, in my experience, virtually no risk whatsoever of cake-face with this powder - I'm very oily and often need to re-touch multiple times a day, and don't encounter even the slightest caking. The formula is infused with rose wax and almond oil for hydrating purposes - I can use this happily under my eyes with no crepey appearance. I reckon drier skins than mine would get on just fine with this beauty, too.

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish 2 Medium Review

The powder is incredibly finely milled - it really does epitomise silky - and definitely is kind to fine lines. I don't experience any settling in lines whatsoever, whether used over a BB cream or full coverage foundation. The finish is a soft, natural-matte - It's definitely not going to keep you flat matte all day, but keeps oil in check enough for me that the complexion looks healthy without being greasy.

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Review shade 2

All in all - Glorious. No complaints. Get it in your makeup bag.

Some links above are affiliate links. All products mentioned bought with my own money.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

The Easiest Party Smoky Eye: MAC Blackground and Stars N' Rockets

MAC Blackground and Stars n' Rockets

We're coming up to the festive season here in the UK - nights are drawing in, parties are starting to fill the calendar, and that means smoky eye season is upon us. FINALLY. When it comes to drama, this time of year is when I feel like I can go all out - apart from anything else, low light is pretty forgiving on my sub-par shadow blending - anyone with me?!

In my stash, I've got two absolute fail-safe products for a super-dramatic, totally adaptable smoky eye - and they're both from MAC. Behold - MAC Blackground Paint Pot, and MAC Stars N' Rockets. insert heart eye emoji here.

MAC Blackground

Now. Don't be scared. Black and duochrome pink/purple?! Have I lost my mind?! Where's the neutral obsession, I hear you cry?!

Fear not. My need for easy-peasy products overtakes my love for rusty brown shades in this case. This is properly simple, but looks like you've spent a thousand hours on a look. Base - a decent primer if you need one, and a pale, skin-toned, neutral transition colour in the crease. Blackground - over the lid. Blend out to the crease or just above with a small synthetic brush - the big trick here is not to use too much. Everyone and their granny uses a paint pot as an eyeshadow base - it's a decent cream shadow, sure, but will definitely crease if you apply too much.

Next - Stars N' Rockets over the top, and blend up over the edge. Granted, this looks like the kind of colour my ten year old self would grab instantly on the counter - but in this look, over black, is where this sheer duochrome comes in to its own, without you looking like you have pink eye. you'll see it transform in to a gorgeous, rich, complex, deep blue-purple with a silvery pink shift. Amazeballs. Blended out over the edge of the black, you'll get a smooth transition to the light purple colour you see in the pan - and people will think you are a blending maestro.

MAC Blackground and Stars n' Rockets

See? Simples. And gorgeous. Please let me know if you try this out!

What's your go-to party eye look?

All products above bought with my own money. Some links are affiliate links.


Saturday, 19 November 2016

Urban Decay Naked Skin and Collection Lasting Perfection - My Favourite Concealers

Best Concealers - Budget and High End

As the not-so-proud owner of two spectacularly purple eye bags (thanks genes) I'm an avid concealer fan. Branded as "actual magic" by a male friend once, on viewing half of my face concealed and half not (thanks for that pal), a good concealer is borderline alchemy.

 Finding the right one, though - no caking, under-eye friendly, crease-proof and long-lasting - has proved somewhat tricky.

The best budget-friendly option (no surprises here) is Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer. Why this is so cheap I have no idea. Lovely, creamy formula, minimal creasing (if set relatively quickly with an under eye friendly powder) and does the business coverage wise. It is semi-matte (without being chalky) and sets in place within a minute. Supposedly, this has 16 hour wear - I have to say I've never tested this claim out, but it certainly lasts a solid 10 hours without touching up. I have Cool Medium and Warm Medium - pictured below - and I tend to mix the two for the perfect colour..

One criticism - shade range. Not great. We could definitely do with at least another 5 or 6 shades, Collection! 

My Favourite Concealers - Budget and High End
L-R: Urban Decay Light Neutral, Collection Cool Medium, Collection Warm Medium

For more of a splurge - it's got to be Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer (pictured above in Light Neutral). This shade is a little lighter than my skin-tone - perfect for brightening, or lightening other concealers - and the formula is boss. Creamy, a dream to apply with the doe-foot applicator, blends with no effort, and covers everything. Result. The consistency is sliiiiiightly thicker than Collection's concealer, but the difference is minimal, and doesn't affect wear on me. Much more spendy than Collection's offering - but the shade range is infinitely better.

 For the face and spot-concealing, I love Laura Mercier's Secret Camouflage - but it's just too thick for the under eye area for me, and will cake up almost instantly.

What are your favourite concealers?

All products mentioned above bought with my own money. Some links are affiliate links.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Suqqu Eyebrow Liquid Pen in Moss Green - A Review

Suqqu Brow Pen Moss Green

 When I think of SUQQU, I think of two things - Lisa Eldridge's long standing love for their cult Cheek Brush, and the mysterious Moss Green Brow Pen. A slightly terrifying shade name, cult-classic status, and endless high-end blogs raving about this little creature piqued my curiosity. When my beloved Brow Wiz died, I thought I'd give this a whirl...

SUQQU Brow Pen Moss Green Review

SUQQU Eyebrow Liquid pen is a little smaller and wider than the Brow Wiz. It is housed in suitably chic, black packaging, with a satisfying click-lid closure. The shape of the tip itsself is, literally, a tiny, fine pointed brush - think mini Touche Éclat rather than pencil or felt-tip. This tiny, fine tip allows for really precise, faux-hair brushstroke application, and with a light hand, you can literally build a brow from nothing. 

 The really nice thing about this though, is the product itsself - you can see in the swatch below that it is a watercolour-like consistency, and certainly not ridiculously pigmented (or green, for that matter) - with a little practice, this can create the softest, fullest, most natural looking brow. Even if you're blessed with fabulous, full brows - this is a perfect tool for believeably filling in any gaps or extending the tail of the brow. (can you tell that I love this?!)

Oh, and it's practically bombproof. You're going to need an oil-based or balm cleanser to get this off yo' face.

 Moss Green turns out to be a super-cool-toned grey-brown - perfect for believeable brows on, well, just about anyone. If you're fair or have very warm-toned brows or hair, you might be better off with the warmer shade, Brown; but otherwise, this lad is just the ticket. 

SUQQU Brow Pen Moss Green Swatch

Price-wise - £20. Not cheap. I'd argue, though, that this gives the most easily believeable brow in seconds.

Have you tried this product before?

Some links above are affiliate links.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Clarins Haul - Beauty Flash Balm and Pure and Radiant Mask Review

Clarins Beauty Flash Balm

I may, or may not, have gone a little Clarins mad in John Lewis. Oops.

In fairness - a large chunk of the haul you see before you was actually the incredible JL gift with purchase. Amazing. I got to pick four cult products from a minis collection after buying two recommended products - not a bad deal. This deal has sadly ended, however Clarins have some really beautiful gift sets coming up for the festive season - definitely worth a peruse next time you're in store!

First up - Clarins Beauty Flash Balm. I admit, I'm pretty late to the party on this bad boy. Multi award winning; and promising instant radiance, refreshment, and fatigue-minimising; this has quite a lot to live up to. It's a lovely, light-textured balm, and acts as a really lovely makeup base for foundation or powder. I wouldn't put it in the primer class per se - no improvement in longevity for me - but it is smoothing and brightening overall. I've been using this as a speedy de-exhaustion-er (?) after work before sticking some foundation on, and it is really lovely. I'm super oily, and I find that this imparts a bit of healthiness without stickiness or shine.

Clarins Beauty Flash BalmClarins Pure and Radiant Mask

My other investment piece was the Pure and Radiant Mask - targeted more specifically for oily/combination skin. This is a really nice clay mask - I mean, at the end of the day, it's a clay mask - but it doesn't do that cracky, faux-tightening thing, and doesnt suck every last drop of moisture from the face. A little goes a long way, and the complexion looks really fresh and bright afterwards - more matte, yes, but not dry. Using this mask, then a dollop of Beauty Flash Balm, is my new pre-night-out go-to for a really brightened complexion.

John Lewis Clarins Gift With Purchase

Oh, and that massive GWP? I chose the Exfoliating Cleanser, hand cream, eye makeup remover and Super Volume Mascara. So far, I am loving the mascara, and the cleanser is excellent and just the perfect size for travelling.

Have you tried any of these products before?

Some links above are affiliate links. All products mentioned bought with my own money.


Saturday, 12 November 2016

Vera Mona Color Switch Review - The thing you didn't know you needed!

Vera Mona Color Switch Review

Washing brushes isn't fun. There's no two ways about it. What is even less fun, however, is running out of brushes mid smoky eye. Cue looking like you've been punched. Quelle. Mare.

 It's a real first-world problem, I know, but as with most of us, I don't have three million brushes and an endless supply of sparkling clean MAC 217's for blending out the edges of yet another shade of brown in a standard high-maintenance look.

Enter this little tin of genius from Vera Mona: the Color Switch. This has spilled over from professional makeup artistry as a really handy way of switching colours mid-look, without having to use a zillion brushes per eye.

Vera Mona Color Switch Inside

All that's required is a quick swirl of said brush on to the dry, slightly weird, spongy-ish surface, and a fair whack of pigment is removed (especially useful if you're a Makeup Geek or Anastasia eyeshadow fan - that pigment is no joke). Your brush is ready to be used for another colour, or for blending edges out without adding any further pigment. Nifty.

The actual product itsself has a super-long life, and you can easily clean it with a good brush detergent and warm water (or a quick spritz of makeup sanitiser in-between). It's no substitute for a deep-clean, but for a speedy colour change - you'll be amazed how much you use this!

Vera Mona Color Switch

Have you tried this product before?

Some links above are affiliate links.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Kat Von D Metal Matte Palette - review and swatch-fest

Kat Von D Metal Matte Palette Review and Swatches

Here in the UK, we've only very recently had easy access to Kat Von D's lovely products - thank you Debenhams. I've already tried out a few bits and pieces - and been pretty impressed across the board. The brand seems to really get liquid lipsticks (and that not all of us like cat-ass lips, thankyaverymuch) and Lock-It Foundation is a fantastic matte, full-coverage foundation option.

What really caught my eye, however, was Kat Von D's Metal Matte Palette. Very promising from initial sneak peeks on KVD's Twitter, this was a highly anticipated launch! I managed to get hold of this sparkle/matte delight, and have been dutifully testing it out (Oh yes. Even wearing shimmery blue/pink/green and gold eyeshadow to Asda. Don't say I'm not good to you.).

First off - size. MASSIVE. Think an average-Joe eyeshadow palette, and double it. You're there.

Kat Von D Metal Matte Palette Size

SEE?! Freakin' enormous. Not really an issue, but just don't be surprised by the mega-ness of this beast overall. Packaging - pretty cool. Sturdy, decent mirror, and clever writing that says metal held one way, and matte the other.

Now the important bit - THE INSIDE. As ever, these are one-swipe, non-fancy swatches, with no primer or funny business.

Kat Von D Metal Matte Palette

Well hello there. Even in terrible wintry daylight - look at those colours! I think the shade selection is excellent - and a little bit more fun than yet another neutral eyeshadow palette. There are enough non-wild shades to blend everything out with; and the dark green, burgundy, and blue are lovely bases for deep smokey eyes without being too colour-crazy, if you're just dipping a toe in to the kaleidoscope pool.

The mattes are swatched below - one-swipe, no primer remember. all in all - pretty impressive. The one real duffer, sadly, is Ribbon - it's quite dry, and despite being pleasantly silky, pigmentation is poor. The rest apply and blend easily - on a par, largely, with Kat Von D's Shade and Light Eye Palette. They're all very buildable, and layer well.
Kat Von D Metal Matte Palette Swatches - Matte Shadows

The full metal shadows - WOAH THERE. You're going to have to take a look at these. One single swipe. Dense (in a good way) soft, smooth, easy to blend and extremely pigmented - there's nothing about them I don't love. They make a great pop of colour on the lid or inner corner, and are a dream to apply with a flat synthetic brush or with a fingertip. Tinsel is marginally chunkier than the rest, but that's me being extremely picky.

Kat Von D Metal Matte Palette Swatches - Metal Shadows

Overall - worth the dosh? Yes. Definitely. So much shadow for the price, and such beautiful colours. Don't hesitate to pop this on your Christmas list.

Have you tried out this palette?

Some links above are affiliate links. All products bought with my own money.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Rituel de Fille Rare Light Luminizer - Phosphene

This post is photo-heavy, and you're going to want this product. 

You have been warned.

It's no secret that I have loved every Rituel de Fille product I've tried (you can read some of my thoughts on other delights from them in my previous post). They're a relatively new brand to me, and thanks to the wonderful Cult Beauty, it's now pretty straightforward to get hold of their lovely, cruelty-free products this side of the pond.

That being said... did I need another highlight? Turns out, yes. Yes I did.

You have no idea the discipline it took to NOT swatch this immediately.
Rituel de Fille's Rare Light Luminizers are, essentially, cream highlighters. I have the shade Phosphene - described as a "pale beige glow with a hint of peachy-blush". It's a firm-set formula in the pan, but melts on to the fingertips easily.

Oh boy. If you possess skin, you're gonna love this. It is such a complex colour - see the comparison of untouched above, and swatched in-pan below (in winter daylight, not the most forgiving - and even then it's just beautiful). It really is a peachy, creamy, pinky, beigey, lovely delight of a shade. If you have a deeper skintone, this will be a really striking highlight; if you are incredibly fair, this would probably be more of a highlighting-blush - who doesn't love a multitasker though, right? 

On me, this is the perfect highlighting shade. It plays well with others, doesn't move your base around or get upset about powder, and lasts - even on my oily skin, I'm getting an easy 7-8 hours' wear time. I just tap it on to the cheekbones, tip of my nose and browbones with a finger. Phosphene blends like an absolute dream, and is virtually undetectable on the skin if used lightly - you just look really well. You know, that fresh-cheeks thing. It's gorgeous. With a bit of layering, it can be built up to blinding if that's what you're into, but I honestly think the beauty of this is in it's texture with one layer. No glitter here, just sheeny, complex, multi-toned loveliness.

I've gone a bit swatch-mad below - I was struggling with the super-dull weather we've been having to really do this justice in a swatch - so in your mind, combine all of the below swatches, and you'll get a bit of an idea of just how beautiful this is. Also - I have super-dry hands due to washing them five thousand times a day for work - hand cream recommendations welcome. I can promise you that on the cheeks, Phosphene doesn't emphasise texture at all. Soz. I tried.

See? Gorgeous. Definitely worth checking out if you're in the market for a lovely, natural highlight.

Have you tried any Rituel de Fille products?

All products above bought with my own money. Some links are affiliate links.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

MAC Nutcracker Sweet: Sweet Copper Face Compact

MAC Nutcracker Sweet Sweet Copper Face Compact
Three words: Whisper. Of. Gilt.

Let's be honest - that's why I snapped this bad boy up as soon as it became available on MAC's website. This borderline mythical highlighting powder has made a roaring comeback for MAC's holiday collection, Nutcracker Sweet. If you're not familiar with Whisper of Gilt, take yourself over to Ebay and have a look at the dolla that this shiny creature has earned some lucky ex-owners - I've seen this going for over $200 before now. Insane!

I'm not sure that any highlight can possibly be worth forking out $200, but if you're speedy, you may still be able to find this glorious little cheek compact in store for a much more sensible price (at time of writing, it's sold out online. Soz).

MAC Nutcracker Sweet Sweet Copper Face Compact

Anyway. Packaging - handbag sized and suitably seasonal. Candy-cane-y and gilded rope adorn the outer packaging, and this is echoed again on the embossed pans. They are seriously almost too beautiful to use.

Note: almost.

Inside, you'll find a genuinely useable-sized mirror (well done MAC) and two decent pans of really beautiful powders - Pleasure Model, an Extra Dimension Blush, and the iconic Whisper of Gilt, which is an Extra Dimension Skinfinish.

Pleasure Model is a really gorgeous, warm, coppery colour - definitely more for medium plus skintones - and is mega pigmented. Don't fear though, it's beautifully finely milled, and as such is a dream to blend, even if you go a bit too heavy from the outset. I'm usually a MAC Sheertone kinda gal, but this might even enter my MAC blush hall of fame. It has a natural-satin finish, and becomes a little more glowy as you blend. I really love this blush - I think if you are also olive-toned, this will seriously be up your street.

Whisper of Gilt - Well. Need I say anything else. Warm, golden, and unbelieveably shiny - this is a mega-watt highlight. You can, with a very light hand, achieve a sheer, golden glow, but this is very easy to ramp up to metallic levels of shine. It's very smooth - no chunky glitter here - and blends beautifully with other cheek products. I am a huge highlight fan, and this will definitely be getting a lot of use in the coming months.

MAC Nutcracker Sweet Sweet Copper Face Compact Swatch
The swatches above really do this absolutely no justice at all. Winter and all that - not great for super-shiny swatch photos. Rest assured - if you can get hold of this (for a non-insane re-sale price) then DO IT. You won't regret it.


Did you manage to pick this beauty up?

Products above bought with my own money. Some links are affiliate links.

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