Deal Alert: Anna Sui Lip & Eye Color Palettes!

Posted by Lipglossiping On July - 21 - 2014

Back in my early twenties, Anna Sui was one of the first brands to ignite my passion for make-up.  I remember my first Anna Sui lipstick clearly, a deep burgundy/wine shade that, if I’m honest, I loved more for the packaging than the colour.  You see, Anna has always known how to enchant beauty lovers with her exquisitely-presented products.  Rich colours, a theme of roses, and an eye for beautiful design captures both the heart and the wallet in an indisputable “I simply MUST HAVE IT” kind of way.

Over the years, the brand’s cosmetic “branch” has been in and out of production but each time the line has been reintroduced, a new generation of beauty geeks have fallen in love with its unrivaled femininity.

With that in mind, I’m not entirely sure that these two palettes* – currently on sale at Escentual – need much in the way of further introduction.  Look at them, they’re bloomin’ gorgeous!

Anna Sui Lip and Eye Color Palette

Anna Sui Lip and Eye Color Palette (3)

Anna Sui Lip and Eye Color Palette (2)

The Anna Sui Eye Color Palette features ten 1.5g pans of colour that range from the glitzy to the more demure.  The shades develop in intensity as you work your way through the palette starting with a frosty white and culminating in a super-sparkly black.

The texture on most of these is quite soft, easily blendable and prone to a little dustiness when loading a brush from the palette.  The pigmentation varies across the ten pans, I’ve tried to keep the swatches below as accurate as possible in terms of colour payoff from a single swipe with a fingertip.

Anna Sui Lip and Eye Color Palette (4)

Anna Sui Lip and Eye Color Palette (5)

With a primer, the shades wear well but without a sticky base, the sheerer shades do fade quite quickly.  If I had to pick one thing, my favourite aspect of this palette is the delicate smattering of sparkle found in a few of the colours – it’s understated, grown-up glitz that remains nicely on the lid, without any fall-out when combined with the aforementioned eye primer.

Now, onto my personal favourite… the Anna Sui Lip Color Palette!

I mean, who doesn’t need ten different shades of lip colours in one portable package?

Anna Sui Lip and Eye Color Palette (6)

Anna Sui Lip and Eye Color Palette (7)

Anna Sui Lip and Eye Color Palette (8)

The ten shades punch well above their weight with a glossy, almost balm-like formula.  Don’t mistake these for a traditional lipstick texture, I’ve included the photo above to display the “softness” of the formula, which leans more toward a solid lipgloss texture than a liquid lipstick texture.  That last sentence makes more sense in my head than it does on the screen, sorry!

Either way, the colour applied on the lips is fully recognisable from the shade in the palette – it transfers well with the kind of opacity that you’d expect from a well-pigmented gloss and lasts easily to mid-morning.

The Anna Sui Lip & Eye Color Palettes are currently on sale at escentual.com, priced at £14 each instead of the usual £28!  At this price, they represent a true bargain.

* press sample

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A-England Ascalon NOTD

Posted by Lipglossiping On April - 17 - 2014

I’m nothing if not eternally late to the party. Not in a fashionable manner you understand, more of an “everyone’s gone home now” kinda way.

Incase you hadn’t guessed, this is my first A-England polish purchase.  The reason that I didn’t jump on the wagon a couple of years ago was down to an honest fear of not being able to control my spends.  Infact, even now… hype long-gone, I can still feel the pull back to the website for more.  MOAR I tell you!

A-England_Ascalon

A-England_Ascalon2

Ascalon is an understated holographic, understated in a prettily scattered way.  Infact, as a bonafide holo-whore… my favourite thing about this shade is more to do with the lilac duochrome that flashes across the nail bed and not the holographic effect at all.  Application was nice and smooth, happily complete in two coats.

These darker, cool-toned holos are my favourite… not particularly seasonal but so, so beautifully chic.  What’s your favourite A-England shade?

A-England Ascalon is priced at £9.00 and available to purchase online from a-england.co.uk

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Aerin Essentials Collection Spring 2014

Posted by Lipglossiping On March - 25 - 2014

New from Aerin Beauty this season is their Essentials Collection*, primarily featuring a weighty compact filled with a kaleidoscope of colour.

The Kaleidolight Palette (£40) is essentially a Spring bronzer, offering the kind of skin boost and colour-correction that delivers on Spring’s more subtle promises.  This is the Spring bronzer for those of us who tend to shy away from bronzing, it adds a boost where Winter has stripped the skin of its luster, an inbetween complexion solution for these tricky months ahead.

Aerin Essentials Collection Spring 2014_1

Aerin Essentials Collection Spring 2014_2

At first glance, the six shades housed within the impressive gilt exterior lean toward the cooler side of the spectrum… I think the inclusion of a skintone-correcting lilac skews my overall impression, as this is definitely a warm-toned bronzer once all shades are swirled together and applied.  It is best suited to those with fair to medium skintones, overall a buildable formula that applies smoothly and blends beautifully on the skin.

If you prefer, you can… of course, use each shade independently.  The palette is generously-sized and the pans aren’t crowded together, allowing for decent pickup with a smaller-sized blusher brush.  If you were to use the palette more precisely in this manner, you have everything included from colour-correction to contour to blush.

Aerin Essentials Collection Spring 2014_3

Aerin Essentials Collection Spring 2014_4

I’ve swatched each shade below, as they apply straight out of the palette… you can see that pigmentation-wise, you’re getting a fair amount of colour payoff with only a couple of swipes from each pan.  The bronzing shades complement each other well and I’ve been using a duo-fibre brush to apply to my cheeks, ensuring a lighter hand.  Overall, the palette delivers mostly colour and warmth with a subtle radiance.

Aerin Essentials Collection Spring 2014_5

The Rose Balm Lipstick in Whisper (£25) is another new addition to the line, promising a balm-like texture with medium coverage colour.  Whisper is an ultra-pale pink with the slightest hint of shimmer, more noticeable in the bullet than on the lips.  I’m not a fan of the texture, which feels somehow heavier than it should and a little “claggy” over the drier areas of the lip.

Aerin Essentials Collection Spring 2014_6

Aerin Essentials Collection Spring 2014_7

I’ve included a FOTD below which displays the products worn (please excuse my badger grey streak in my fringe!), I’ve limited use of the palette to the cheeks so that you can visualise the bronzing effect of the shades when swirled together.

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The Aerin Essentials Collection is available to buy online now from esteelauder.co.uk and harrods.com

* press samples

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First Look: Avon’s NEW Gel Finish Nailwear, not impressed!

Posted by Lipglossiping On January - 28 - 2014

Well, colour me confused.  The Avon Gel Finish Nailwear range has been getting rave reviews across the pond since its introduction over there a couple of months ago.  Not only for its far-reaching shade range that spans a variety of different finishes aswell as colours, but for its impressive wear time.

The coming-soon-to-the-UK range of 24-shades promises a gel like shine and intense colour, delivered in just one coat… a salon finish at home, and no need for a top-coat.  That’s a lot of promises for a small bottle of polish… I was sent a small selection from the new range to see if it lived up to my expectation… and I’m sorry to say, that so far, it’s fallen short.

Avon Gel Finish Nailwear

The shade range however, is indeed impressive… but then again, so is Avon’s current Nailwear Pro+ enamel, of which I count myself a fan.  So for me, this range really has to deliver on and above an already fairly high benchmark.

Every single shade that I was sent needed more than a single coat to achieve opacity.  Infact, they all needed a total of three coats for full-on no translucent patches coverage.  Which flagrantly laughs in the face of their one-coat claims, no?  Bad enough you say… but listen, because the formula is thicker than most… not in an unworkable way, quite the opposite actually as it flows nicely onto the nail.  So what’s the problem?  Well, the problem is, that this ain’t no speed-dry polish and when you’re testing claims that a nail polish needs no top-coat, you’re in for a damn long wait until you can pull your knickers up when you’re piling three coats of thickly-formulated polish onto your fingertips.

I painted my nails at around 9pm.  At 11.30pm, I took myself off to bed… my nails felt completely dry to the touch but they weren’t.  Ok, so I didn’t wake up with duvet marks but they had lost A LOT of the shine, as if the surface had been lightly buffed by premature contact with bedsheets etc.  I just don’t have 3hrs to hang around waiting for my nails to completely dry.  You can probably see that there is barely any shine on my nails in the photo below.

Avon Gel Finish Nailwear 2

In addition to this, look at the tip wear I’m starting to get (without a top-coat, remember how it says it doesn’t need one?) after a period of no more than 17-hours!  Now, all of the issues I’ve encountered can (probably) be solved with the addition of a quick-dry top coat.

But then, I just don’t see why I’d need this range when there’s a brilliant Nailwear Pro+ range already fortified with acrylic gel for strength, which doesn’t make any claims that it doesn’t (for me at least) live up to.  I’m going to work my way through the rest of the shades with a proper wear-test and if I’m forced to eat my words, I promise I’ll be back to provide a further update!

Avon Gel Finish Nail Enamels are due to launch in April, priced at £7 for 12ml.

* press sample

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Berry Lips with Aveda Winterberry

Posted by Lipglossiping On December - 17 - 2013

They say that old age doesn’t come on its own but I’d like to add pregnancy to that adage.  I mean, apart from stating the bloody obvious, seeing as you’re growing another whole person, it really doesn’t come without its “side-effects”.  I haven’t had a proper pooh in almost five months and my skin, hair, and nails have had all moisture sucked from them, it’s like I’m spawning a human dehumidifier, set to high.

Instead of a normal moisturiser, the only thing stopping my skin from flaking off in great sheets is a twice-daily slathering of the sunburn-soothing Biafine, left on as a mask overnight.  Even then, I still have to prime with a moisturising primer before a drop of foundation can touch my skin.  As for my lips, well I’m out of Lanolips at the moment and none of my alternatives are cutting the mustard.  It’s a drastic step but until I replace my overnight lip saviour, I’ve had to stand down the lipstick army in favour of… *spit*… lipgloss.

If you’re a regular reader, you may know about my distaste for the sticky stuff but I have to concede that it does have its merits.

Aveda Winterberry Lip Glaze

Aveda’s Rehydrating Lip Glaze doesn’t go down the ordinary gloss route.  Yes, it’s kinda sticky… yes, it feels a little thick on the lips at first but… with this shade at least, you get some decent bang for your buck.  This innocuous tube of colour packs one hell of a pigmented punch and keeps my lips from puckering up into a dehydrated mess.

Winterberry is a purple-toned plum with a deep, vampy hue and colour that builds quickly from the very first swipe.  You can apply and blot without losing too much pigment if, like me, you’re not a fan of how glosses/glazes feel on the lips.

Aveda Winterberry Lip Glaze (3)

Priced at £16.00, Winterberry offers a little splurge that won’t break the bank for a slightly more unusual lip colour this season and is very much in keeping with Pantone’s 2014 Colour of the Year – Radiant Orchid.  Despite the minty aroma, the plumping effect is gentle and understated (though appreciated considering the vampy lip-thinning shade).

Are you reaching for more lip-friendly offerings as the mercury plummets?

Aveda Winterberry Lip Glaze (4)

Aveda Nourish-mint Rehydrating Lip Glaze is priced at £16.00 and available on counter and online from aveda.co.uk

* press sample

Ten things you (probably) didn’t know about getting clean!

Posted by Lipglossiping On September - 18 - 2013

It’s something that most of us take for granted.  ‘Aving a wash, getting a scrub, jumping in the bath!  Some of us do it every other day, most of us scrub up daily, and the super-fastidious among us do it even more often!  Some forget to scrub behind their ears and others don’t dry between their toes or in their belly-buttons properly!

What you think you don’t know about getting clean can be written on the back of a stamp, right?  Wrong.

Here’s ten things that I bet you didn’t know about bathing, washing, and general cleanliness!

1. Back in 2009 the world’s oldest woman passed away after slipping in her bath.  She was 130 and had just had the new bathroom installed to celebrate her old age!  Where’s Alanis Morisette when you need her?

2. The romans didn’t use soap, instead they rubbed olive oil onto their skin before scraping it off (along with any dirt) using a special scraper.  Sort of like a slave-operated windscreen wiper.

3. Frying Pan Lake in New Zealand is the largest hot spring in the world, covering an area of 38000 square metres with an average depth of 6 metres.  The hottest areas of the lake reach boiling point!

Frying_Pan_Lake_NZ

4. Think baths are less water-efficient than showers?  Not nowadays!  An average bath uses 80 litres of water whilst an eight-minute power shower uses around 136 litres.  If you’re really serious about saving water, you could always share!

5. In medieval Europe, the Church thought of bathing as an “excessive” indulgence and believed that such acts led to immorality, disease, and promiscuity!  In fact, so widespread were the fears of bathing contributing to ill-health that the daily bath (or shower) has only become a common occurrence during the past half century.  I’ll bet Sunday mass used to stink!

6. The average temperature of bath water in the UK is between 38c to 40c – that’s just a couple of degrees above the average body temperature.

water-drain

7. Every citizen of Kentucky, U.S.A is required by law to take a bath at least once a year.  Personally, I think we should introduce this globally.  Especially in London, in the Summer.  All tube stations should install stink-o-sensors as standard.

8. A lady called Charlotte Lee holds the Guinness World Record for the World’s Largest Rubber Duck collection at 1439 different ducks!

9. The Japanese take the business of cleanliness and bathing very seriously.  They even have an amusement park dedicated to the ritual with over 25 water attractions!  Visitors can choose between bathing in coffee, red wine, green tea, or even Sake!  I wonder what the penalties are for drinking the water?

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10. In the UK, it is the law upon entering a bath to immediately submerge your head and enter the land of Mermaidia.  Particularly if you have long hair, in fact… if your hair is short, you should grow it immediately to let this occur.

Ok, I made that last one up… but damn… you used to do this as a kid ALL the time right?

Anyway, in celebration of my ten frankly mind-blowing facts about bathing, I wanted to introduce some of my favourite bathroom companions…

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From left to right:

Zirh Warrior Collection (£14.99).  When I discovered these were being discontinued, I snapped up a few bottles to keep me going.  Although aimed at men, I love the concentrated scent and divine lather.  There’s something rather brilliant about having a “collection” of commonly-used toiletries like this and Zirh capitalised on using great ancient leaders to appeal to our sense of smell and personality traits. Obviously, I’m Caesar.  OBVIOUSLY.

You can still buy the Zirh Warrior Collection on amazon.co.uk

Abahna White Grapefruit & May Chang (£17)*.  Abahna are all about the ritual of bathing, about turning an ordinary experience into an extra-ordinary occasion.  They’re definitely heading in the right direction with this beautifully citrusy number that perfectly marries the uplifting aromas of grapefruit with the energising zest of may chang.

Available to buy online from abahna.co.uk

Bodhi Rosemary Chi (£23)*. When your spirits are in need of a little reviving, Bodhi’s synergy of Rosemary, Geranium, Petitgrain and Cedarwood oils is just the ticket.  This bath and shower therapy is generously fragranced ensuring that both your mind and your senses are stimulated by the rich perfume.  For an added boost, combine your bathing ritual with their new Rosemary Chi Himalayan Detox Salt Scrub by using your hot bath waters to dissolve the salt scrub after application.  Genius.

Available to buy online from bodhi.uk.com

Kings & Queens Aztec King Vanilla & Pear (£3.33).  No Tesco shop is complete without adding to my Kings & Queens stockpile, I’m currently due another haul as I’m on my last bottle.  The sister brand of Korres have been inspired by ancient rulers from around the world to create a line of body products that delight both visually and during use.  My personal favourite is a toss-up between Tsar Peter Tobacco and Caspar Myrrh.

Available to buy online from tesco.com

 

What do you to make your bathing routine that little bit less ordinary?

* press sample

Four the love of violets!

Posted by Lipglossiping On May - 24 - 2013

I’ve long held the opinion that I wasn’t a great fan of floral fragrances… at least, that’s what I’ve always thought until I recently took another look at the perfumes I’ve gathered over the years.  You know, for someone who proclaims such nonsense, I own far too many rose, violet, and iris-based scents… and of the three, I think it’s the violet ones that I’m drawn to the most.

I thought that today, I’d share with you some of my favourite violet-based fragrances.  There are actually two missing from the list (PR Ultraviolet & Yardley(!) April Violets) because they’re still boxed up at my Mum’s house and writing this has now made me desperate to raid her garage for my long-lost loves!

violet fragrances

The first thing I should say is that I don’t own any pure-violet fragrances, not the posh ones anyway and I’m still no fragrance expert but hopefully I’ve sniffed my way through enough perfume departments to form a coherent opinion!

My favourite thing about this note in particular is just how fickle it is, sometimes seeming greener than a freshly-mowed lawn and at other times, more powdery than your grandma’s old compacts.  It’s a chameleon of a note, beautifully suited to this changeable Spring season.

It’s also a note that pairs wonderfully with others, and infact (in my opinion) works far better when working as a flanker, as part of a well-structured accord rather than singing a solo chorus.

The first perfume in my list of four, is a great example of precisely, this.

Armani Prive Cuir Amethyste (£145, armanibeauty.co.uk) is not an easily-tamed fragrance.  For a scent that calls into play such a beautiful floral note, it’s a growling animal of contradictions.  From the opening headiness of the sticky, woody violet to the dirty leather, well-worn and battered into a masculine suppleness that shouldn’t work on female skin, but does.

The tenacity and indeed, audacity of this scent appeals to me for its unique take on the genre.  It’s an over the top indulgence complete with powdery nostalgia that makes me feel all the more a “lady”.  Albeit, a slightly sleazy one.

violet fragrances

In stark contrast, YSL’s Paris Premieres Roses 2013* (£25.50, escentual.com) is a recent re-issue that puts the violet firmly in the back seat.  That’s not to say you won’t find it there because it’s confidently lurking, flanking the rose and smoothing the petals until they reach a state of velvety creaminess within the heart of the scent.

It’s the epitome of fragrant youthfulness without the pink-pepper, juicy-fruit explosion up your nostrils.  A refreshing and commendable take with mass-market appeal in an often tired genre.

violet fragrances

For a greener, fresher take on the wonderful floral, look no further than Balenciaga Paris EDP* (£44, debenhams.com) for a new opinion.  You can see that I’m running low on my bottle and it’s not hard to understand why.  Paris is a perfect rendition of how Spring should be, with a clean opening that descends into a softer, sweeter heart and powdery base.  All the while, remaining light, airy and a little bit watery but never so sheer as to be unappreciated.

Floral-chypres can often be difficult to stomach for those under the age of 25, but Balenciaga’s Paris bucks this trend and delivers a grown-up yet flirty scent that takes you on a true violet journey from the sharp leaf, all the way to the sweetshop!

violet fragrances

My final pick of the bunch (gettit?) is for Tom Ford’s Violet Blonde (£45, johnlewis.com) which I picked up not long after its release in 2011.  I immediately fell for its well-projected, prickly opening that blends a green violet with pink pepper before developing into a richly sueded base.

Despite being a wonderful choice for a sharply-dressed young professional woman (you know the type), I don’t mind admitting that my husband wears this with great skill.  His skin chemistry thrusts forward the spice and musk and conjures up something more masculine and vintage-feeling, tempered beautifully by the violet.

Do you like violet-based fragrances?  Please share your favourite!

* press sample

Make yourself beautiful from the inside out!

Posted by Lipglossiping On May - 10 - 2013

Beauty dosing. What’s that all about then?

We’re all too aware of the importance that a healthy diet can play when it comes to promoting clear skin, strong nails, and shiny hair and sometimes you only need to make the simplest of changes on the inside to see a profound effect on the surface.  But, let’s say that you’ve upped your water intake, ditched the junk food, and cut down on the booze… what next?  Well, the beauty industry have some clever concoctions up their sleeve to tempt you into exploring some potential shortcuts to a new, even-more-beautiful you!

Let me show you a few that have caught my eye recently:

beauty-dosing

01:  You don’t need to spend a fortune to take your first, tentative steps into the world of supplementing your standard beauty regime.  Beauty’in Beauty Drink B Focused contains: Vitamin A, C and E, B2, B6,PP, B12, zinc, selenium, guarana and acerola, all of which promise to stimulate the brain and metabolism to help fight fatigue.  The 340ml bottle contains only 8 calories, so dose-up safe in the knowledge that the only thing you’re beefing up is your levels of concentration!  £3.50, selfridges.com

02:  As William Gladstone once said: “If you are cold, tea will warm you. If you are too heated, it will cool you. If you are depressed, it will cheer you. If you are excited, it will calm you.” Tea.  It’s everything.  And if you drink as much of it as I do (milk, no sugar), you might aswell make that afternoon cuppa work a little harder!  Viridian Nutrition describe their latest Ultimate Beautea as a “refreshing and cleansing blend of hibiscus flowers, rose petals (rosa damascena), calendula petals, chamomile flowers, licorice root and cleavers leaf.”  £12.00, nutricentre.com

03:  If you’re fretting over the recent appearance of the sunshine and what it means for those “bikini bodies” we’re all supposed to be unveiling (to great applause), I’m on your side.  I somehow haven’t found the motivation to jump out of bed, straight into 400 crunches every morning.  Until that motivation strikes, there’s always the promise of some serious body toning courtesy of Functionalab whose Body Toning Beauty Dose assures a significant improvement in the appearance of cellulite.  The 30-day program contains Grape seed polyphenols which contribute to fat metabolism and the appearance of smoother and firmer body skin. £33, functionalab.co.uk

04:  Planning a heavy night out this weekend?  Been burning the candle at both ends too ferociously?  Faust’s Potions offer something a little bit quirky to help boost your morale and aid in the recovery of the dreaded hangover.  These 25ml vials deliver a much-needed blend of vitamins, minerals and herbal extracts just when your body needs it the most.  If the reviews on Cult Beauty are anything to go by, these should make essential packing for festival goers nationwide this Summer.  £5.99, cultbeauty.co.uk

05:  If beauty comes from within, this Skin Clear supplement program from Perricone MD is bringing out the big guns.  The 30-day regime delivers an impressive 7 tablets a day which include: B-Complex + Vitamin C, Evening Primrose Oil, Tocospan Vitamin E, and Omega 3.  It offers a convenient and no-fuss way to ensure you supplement your skin efficiently with a system formulated to help improve skin’s clarity while providing toning benefits and improving skin’s texture.  £69.50, uk.spacenk.com

06:  Hailing from the oddest-looking tree in the world comes the much-revered Baobab Fruit.  So revered infact, that this fruit – which has three times as much vitamin C as an orange – has long been heralded as a bit of a cure-all for many health complaints.  Containing almost fifty-percent fibre and fourteen essential vitamins and minerals, it knocks spots off many of the other so-called super fruits in existence.  It’s simply not difficult to see the potential beauty benefits from a fruit with almost five times the antioxidants of fresh acai berries!  Aduna’s Baobab Fruit Pulp Powder provides a convenient way to supplement your diet by sprinkling it on your morning cereal/porridge/smoothies and reaping the beauty benefits!  £17.99, aduna.com

Do you beauty dose?

This month, eco-conscious brand Aveda are supporting Earth Month 2013 with the launch of a limited edition Light the Way Candle.  The brand will be donating 100% of the retail price (less VAT) to Global Greengrants Fund (GGF), a non-profit organisation that channels high-impact grants to grassroots groups working to solve pressing environmental problems.

Terry Odendahl, Global Greengrants Fund Executive Director says…

“Aveda’s support makes an enormous difference to Global Greengrants Fund and our goal of creating a sustainable world. Partnering with local communities, we have protected over 700 watersheds, lakes and rivers, and have supported over 20,000 women working for clean water in their communities. All of this is made possible by the sale of Light the Way Candles, and the salon owners who participate. We are grateful to the Aveda community for their visionary support!”

These clean-water projects can make a real difference to the lives of real people around the world.  In Morocco, just one candle donation can support the purchase of eight metres of piping to transport drinking water!

aveda-light-the-way-candle-earth-month-2013

The 2013 Light the Way Candle (held in 100% reclaimed glass beverage bottles) features a new Madagascar-inspired aroma and has been blended with essential oils, including: vanilla, cinnamon, and ylang-ylang, all sourced from Madagascar.  The carton (made from 70% post-consumer-recycled paperboard) has been decorated with artwork made by students of the Association School in Ampasimanjeva, Madagascar, a village that has received two Global Greengrants Fund grants for water projects.

It’s plain to see that a lot of real thought, and energy has gone into the production of these candles.  Almost every aspect of the finished product can be linked in some way to the very good cause that the brand are helping to promote.

The Aveda Light The Way candle is priced at £16, and available to buy online from www.aveda.co.uk

Bring out the brights with Avon Speed Dry+

Posted by Lipglossiping On April - 3 - 2013

Avon’s popular Speed Dry+ range has recently undergone a revamp with a new formula and colour update.  I received a selection of shades* from the 25-strong lineup for review and I was curious to put their 30-second drying time to the test!

Avon Speeddry Nail Polish

 
Suddenly Sunny: A vibrant, sparkle-infused yellow that suffers from a draggy application but looks stunning once on the nails.
Ballerina: A sheer babydoll pink that would work well for French manicures, unremarkable.
Orange You Quick: An eye-searingly bright orange that gives full opacity in one coat. A stonking Summer shade for sun-kissed tootsies!
Reddy To Go: A warm, vibrant red… bordering on the neon.  Another one-coater, Avon are knocking it out of the ballpark with the brights.
Strawberry: A berry pink, and at the risk of repeating myself, another one-coater.  Applies beautifully.
Fast Time Teal: A lovely shade but requires three coats to achieve opacity.
On Point Blue: A pretty blue which manages to keep a hint of dustiness despite the bold hue.  Sadly, it’s also a three-coater.
Pronto Purple: A true royal purple, another three-coater… looks sumptuous on the nails.
Smokey Plumes: Is it purple, is it brown? Brurple.  An unusual shade with a rich, creme finish.  Another three-coater.

Avon Speeddry+ Nail Polish1

Out of the nine polishes I’ve been trying, almost half of them had brushes that suffered from stray long hairs and a couple deposited foreign particles (dust/brush fibres) upon first application, the usual irritations that you can often expect from cheaper polishes.  That being said, these Avon Speed Dry+ polishes are currently priced at only £2.50-a-piece (usual price £6) and still represent amazing value for money.

Avon Speeddry+ Nail Polish2

At the current price, you should consider stashing: Orange You Quick, Reddy To Go, Strawberry, and Smokey Plumes.

And what about that 30-second drying claim?  Well… nearly, but not quite – they are faster than usual though.

Avon Speed Dry+ polishes are available to buy online at www.avonshop.co.uk, priced at £2.50 each for a limited time.

* press sample

I’m of the firm opinion that for the money, French pharmacy brands offer some of the best solutions for diffcult skin-types. Escentual.com have long been my online destination for French pharma-brands, the beauty retailer offers shoppers worldwide a range of continental treats that can be difficult to source on the high street.

I’m happy to share the news that from today until the end of March, the online store are once again running their popular French Pharmacy promotion. “What’s this?” I hear you ask… it’s simple, let me break it down for you…

For the next 31-days customers can enjoy a full 1/3 off the price of Vichy, La Roche Posay and Nuxe; 25% off Avene, A-Derma, Klorane, Rene Furterer, and Pierre Fabre Dexeryl; and 10% off Caudalie.

As if that isn’t exciting enough… in celebration of this, I’ve teamed up with the guys at Escentual to offer five lucky Lipglossiping.com readers the chance to win a set of my personal top French Pharmacy picks.

French Pharmacy Skincare

These are the products that I return to time and time again… and from my extensive list of favourites, I’ve narrowed it down to a selection that should suit most skintypes:

A-Derma Epitheliale A.H Repairing Cream is a skin miracle for those of us with combination/make your mind up skin-types. It delivers comfort to my most irritated patches without saturating my t-zone.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar AI is a product that I’ve written about many times before. Got a spot? Zap it with this and watch the “anger” disappear overnight.

La Roche-Posay Lipikar Balm AP delivers rich moisture to dry skin. Use allover the body to calm and nourish irritated skin.

Avène Thermal Spring Water Spray remains one of my Summer staples. Cooling, refreshing, and the perfect skin pick-me-up.

Klorane Soothing Makeup Remover Gel can be used with or without water. The cooling gel formula is enriched with soothing cornflower water that never leaves my skin feeling tight yet makes light work of stubborn mascaras

Want to win the above products?

Leave a comment telling me whether you’ve tried anything from a French pharmacy brand and if so, what’s been your favourite?

T&C

1. Start date for this competition is 1st March 2013 at 00.01 GMT
2. Closing date for this competition is 8th March 2013 at 23.59 GMT
3. There are five prizes to be won, a set of five French pharmacy products as listed above. No cash alternative.
4. Lipglossiping.com is the sole promoter of this competition.
5. Only one entry per IP address will be accepted.
6. Personal details will only be used in the context of this competition to inform the winner(s) of their prize status.
7. Five winners will be selected at random from all entries received.
8. Winners will be notified within 7 working days and will be expected to reply to an email sent to the address used to enter your comment within 5 working days or risk forfeiting the prize.

That beautiful moment when makeup does what it’s supposed to…

Posted by Lipglossiping On February - 27 - 2013

We wear makeup for many different reasons. Some of us like to experiment with colour, some of us like to improve upon our natural beauty *cough*, and some of us enjoy piling on everything we own just because we can.

At the moment, I’m somewhere between number two and a facefull of slap. Whenever I’m sick (is she still going on about that?), my skin is the first place it shows and the last place it recovers. Flaky, blotchy, purple under the eyes, and spots a-plenty are the order of the day. Which is exactly what one needs when you already feel like shit, of course.

Whilst I’d love to tweak my skincare routine to improve my natural radiance and rebalance my complexion from the inside out… I’d also like to be able to sprout a pair of wings and crap on the EDL headquarters from a great height. Sadly, neither are happening any time soon, and so instead, I turn to my makeup routine for the answers and pray that it won’t fail me.

a skin transformation_01

This isn’t a tutorial as such, I’m no bleedin’ make up artist after all… but I thought I’d go into some real depth about the products that I’m using to work, what is basically, a skin miracle at the moment.

a skin transformation_02

First things first, skin prep. If your skin is suffering, you can’t ignore this step in the routine. It’s imperative that you give your makeup the best possible base upon which to sit. It may be that you’re fighting an oil-slick or something akin to moon craters, or perhaps like me… you’re battling dryness of epic proportions. Take an extra five-minutes to target these concerns before you even go near your face with foundation, the finished result will be worth the effort.

a skin transformation_03

Starting with a cleansed, exfoliated, and moisturised face… I deal with the dryness that has been causing my foundation to cling in patches. Upon Caroline‘s advice, I’m treating my skin to a moisture sandwich of oil and cream, first with an Elemis Cellular Recovery Skin Bliss (£62.00) capsule which delivers an antioxidant-rich hydration boost in the form of moringa oil, followed immediately by a generous layer of La Roche Posay’s Nutritic Intense Riche* (£14.00)

And then I wait. A couple of minutes later, I can tell where I need additional hydration, so I work a little more of the LRP into the skin, avoiding the areas that are prone to midday oiliness. That done, I move onto the one product that generally replaces “primer” for me during the colder months.

a skin transformation_04

Maqpro Makeup Mixer (from £8.00) is a makeup artist’s trick taught to me by the wonderful Kenneth Soh who recommended it to me a couple of years ago as a great base for mineral products on drier skins. It’s a tip that continues to save me whenever my skin is behaving badly. Not only is it a wonderful mixer for sheering out heavier foundations, it also does wonders for improving how a product applies over, and sits ontop of dry skin without compromising the moisture levels underneath.

At this point, I use a brush to apply the Maqpro but I don’t work it fully into the skin, preferring instead to dot the product allover with the brush and only lightly blend. This way, it combines easily and increases the glide of the next layer of product.

a skin transformation_05

a skin transformation_06

Before even contemplating foundation, I still want to improve the radiance levels of my skin. A lot of the time, I reach for a liquid illumintor that I can apply allover and then “tone down” with foundation. I’ve been trying something a little different recently in the form of this rather splendid Lyster Cream Bronzer* (£36.00) from Swedish brand Manasi Makeup.

The pot contains far more product (55g) than I could ever see myself using and as such, I do wish they offered a smaller-size for less money but I can’t deny that the product itself is beautiful. Free from mineral oils and parabens, it delivers something inbetween a bronzer and a luminizer that works very nicely against my pale skintone. If you’re blessed with naturally great skin, I could see something like this being your one-pot wonder for sunkissed, healthy-looking skin without fear of looking orange or overdone.

I tap my brush lightly on the top (you don’t need much) and work the bronzer all over my skin using a circular motion, it blends nicely… but even more beautifully with my layer of Maqpro beneath it.

a skin transformation_07

Finally, it’s time for foundation! At the moment, I’m alternating between my Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation in shade 4.5 (£34.50) and my beloved tube of Clinique Supermoisture Makeup* (£19.35) which is a better option for when I don’t have the time to do this kind of skin prep. If I am using the Clinique, I skip the Maqpro in this next step as it’s an exceptionally moisture-rich foundation on its own merit.

When I’m using anything other than the Clinique, I reach again for the Maqpro (as shown below). One blob of each and using the same face brush as I’ve been using all along, I give the products a little mix on the back of my hand before working into my skin lightly.

a skin transformation_08

I never apply foundation heavily or in more than one layer when my skin is playing up because it doesn’t matter how much preparation or effort I put into the application, after a few hours… my foundation will clump over the dehydrated patches if it’s too heavy. Which is why, I always reach for concealer as the last step despite usually being a bit of a concealer-phobe when my skin is less fussy.

a skin transformation_09

Bare Minerals SPF 20 Correcting Concealer* (£21.00) is the perfect choice for dry skin-types thanks to a light texture and a lot of slip. It’s very creamy and offers a good amount of coverage, making it a great choice when your aim is to keep your layers as thin as possible. The final step is a little precision highlighting with something like the iconic YSL Touche Eclat (£25.00).

Now, that’s quite a lot of product but use my “how-to” as a guide rather than a manual. The principles are simple and you’ll already have certain products in your collection that you know you can substitute…

1. Make a real effort to get your skin in the best condition possible before you go near it with colour.
2. Work in thin, lightweight layers.
3. Add additional moisture or “slip” as you go.
4. Now isn’t the time for powder, keep things creamy.
5. If you’re nervous about being too heavy-handed with illuminator or bronzer, apply it before your foundation.
6. Leave concealer until the last possible moment, you’ll end up using less product as a result.

How’s your skin behaving at the moment and what trickery are you employing to get the best from your complexion?

* press sample

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