Avon Big & Daring Volume Mascara Review

Posted by Lipglossiping On October - 20 - 2014

It’s been a while since I tried a new mascara, the truth is that I’ve fallen into an extremely comfortable relationship with Clinique High Lengths mascara (the one with the brush that looks like a praying mantis).  Considering I first reviewed that particular mascara over 4-years ago now, it’s pretty good going for it to remain in my top-5 mascara list, no?

Anyway, as comfortable as our relationship is… I’m a terrible flirt and the latest mascara from Avon, which promises 24-hour volume with a buildable, clump-free formula, had me batting my eyelashes from 50-paces.

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I usually get on well with lengthening mascaras as my lashes are fair, particularly at the tips where they disappear against my skintone.  I could apply boot polish and I’d still get an initial wow factor at uncovering those lost tips!  Having said that, my lashes, particularly post pregnancy, are a little sparse and volume and thickness is something I crave.

The Avon Big & Daring Volume mascara presents a large, curved brush… densely packed with bristles of varying lengths.  The idea behind this brush is the usual “capture as many lashes as possible in one go” remit, and it works well.  Obviously, the more lashes you can capture (per sweep), the less you’ll need to layer and the chances of clumping will reduce.

I hate clumpy lashes, with a passion.  I struggle to leave the house if I’ve had a mascara melt-down and have overdone it.  As a result, I generally dislike any “wet” mascaras or ones that apply too much product, too quickly.  Instant bin fodder.

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Although the Avon mascara captures a lot of product on those many, many bristles… the packaging has an effective inner narrowing of the neck that ensures excess product remains inside as you draw the wand out of the tube.  The curve of the brush matches well with my eye-shape and allows me to get down into the root of the lashes without too much effort or wrangling.

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The overall result is great for an “every day” look, the before/after picture shows how my lashes look with two coats of the Avon Big & Daring Volume mascara applied.  I could have gone for one more coat without clumping but in all honesty, I don’t have the luxury of time to keep building my mascara in the mornings.  It’s probably not quite dramatic enough for a night out but it’s perfect for the daytime, especially as I want something a little more impactful than “natural” without going overboard.  It strikes the balance just right for my tastes.

I don’t experience any flaking or smuding with this formula, infact… if anything, it’s a little too resilient as it does take some effort to remove it in the evening.

All in all, for a sub-£10 mascara, I’m really pleased with how it works.  It’s an effective choice for those on a budget and offers a generous 10ml of product for your pennies.

Avon Big & Daring Volume mascara is currently on offer at £7 (usual price £8.50), it’s available online from avonshop.co.uk

* press sample

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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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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

Whether or not you celebrate Valentine’s day, it’s an event that’s pretty much unmissable in terms of marketing and hype.  A walk down the high street from mid-January is all you need to be reminded of how much of a little shit Cupid actually is.  He’s not the most endearing figure from Roman mythology is he?  I mean… for one thing, what’s with the nappies?  Does falling in love make you incontinent?  I know it certainly makes some people sprout a load of crap… but that’s from their mouths.

When I was little, my Dad would send me a Valentine’s card each year… but I became pretty high-maintenance about the effort he had to put into deceiving me that my card had actually come from a secret admirer.  It’s no surprise he stopped sending me them when I reached my tween years and discovered that my solitary valentine’s card had been postmarked from his workplace for the last few years.  Having your card sent from a category B men’s lifer prison is enough to make you not want to take it into school to show your friends.

As for now, we don’t really do Valentine’s day.  That is to say… I tell my husband that I think it’s a load of old crap because he does lovely things for me throughout the year.  Then my husband doesn’t do anything for Valentine’s day and I don’t talk to him for the rest of February because he didn’t buy me anything.  It works for us.

Here are some bits and bobs that have been catching my eye in the run up to V-day.  I suggest printing them off and drawing a massive red circle around anything you want (preferably in your partner’s blood) before leaving it taped to the front door (both sides).  Taking such precaution may ensure that you at least end up with some flowers from the local Esso garage.

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01: Ladyshape Intimate Shaping Tool, for err… shaping your “lady”.  The only reason I’d do this would be to see the look of confused WTFery from my husband.  We’ve been together for 12 years, he would not be expecting this.  He would point, I would laugh, we’d all have a nice cup of tea and I’d spend the next seven days scratching. (£12.99, stressnomore.co.uk)

02: Avon Perfect Kiss Lipstick*.  Currently on sale, this well-received range of full-cover lipsticks from Avon offers the full rainbow of Valentine’s appropriate lip shades.  From Berry Smooch to Lovey Dovey Pink, Naughty Nude to Red Embrace, even the shade names are getting in on the act!  (£4.99, avonshop.co.uk)

03: Be Mine Lip Balm Trio.  You don’t usually get much change from a fiver nowadays when picking up gifts but this little trio of lip-smoothing balms should get your pout ready for some kissing action.  (£3.00, asda.com)

04: Saving those pennies from my last selection will ensure that you have plenty left to pick up the ultimate Valentine’s gift.  You can’t beat the iconic Swizzel’s-Matlow Giant Love Hearts when it comes to romancing your beau… apart from maybe a sunrise jaunt in a hot air balloon over Paris, complete with Krug Grand Cuvée but who’s got time for that?!  Seriously though, nothing leaves behind a sweeter taste than saying I Love You with 30g of sugar per roll.  Yum.  (£0.35, everywhere!)

05: Fluttering lashes go hand-in-hand with hearts that are all of a flutter no?  What greater excuse do you need to customise your next purchase of YSL’s best-selling False Lash Effect mascara with a Swarovski crystal heart.  Still not convinced you need this extra sparkle in your life?  How about when I tell you that you can get this bespoke addition for no extra cost… available from February.  (£23.50, selected YSL counters at Selfridges, Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Fenwicks, Brown Thomas and Fraser’s)

06: Ahh la rose.  The quintessential flower of love.  The problem with a dozen roses is that it’s not long before the flower’s fresh scent changes from ravishing to rancid once the petals begin to droop.  Prolong the good-feeling with this beautiful limited edition candle from Diptyque.  The Rose Duet, so-called because of its marriage of two wonderful fragrances in one candle (Rose and Baies) will ensure that the scent continues to linger perhaps even longer than the relationship (harsh!) (£42.00, instore and online at diptyqueparis.co.uk)

07: Looking a lot like a pencil tips/gold-dipped Madonna boob hybrids, these From Dusk Til Dawn massage bars* from LUSH offer a convenient excuse for a foot rub.  Or a back rub.  Or a bum rub.  Whatever floats your boat.  They smell delicious in a just-stepped-out-of-the-orange-grove kind of way and leave behind a subtle sheen on the skin.  They melt beautifully and I don’t mind admitting that I prefer to use these solo while I’m still warm from the shower, as Charlie from LadyoftheLane advised me, they’re brilliant for dry shins! (£4.95, lush.co.uk)

08: M&S have released a few makeup cuties just in time for Valentine’s Day.  The Limited Collection Multi Blush* features a variety of pink-hued blush hearts compressed into a single pan to deliver a rose-tinted flush to cheeks.  Sparkle, flush and glow get it (ho ho ho) from your nearest store.  (£6.00, marksandspencer.com)

 

Will you be celebrating Valentine’s Day?  And how much of a diva-strop do you throw if you get nowt?

* press sample

I’m not the world’s most patriotic type, I’m more into grumbling about our nation than celebrating it, which I realise makes me sound like a bit of a miserable git but it’s not like that – well, not entirely anyway.  However, you can’t help but have been a little soul-stirred into some imaginary flag-waving this Summer with the close of our rather successful ‘limpics.

And judging by Alesha Dixon’s brit-inspired limited edition nail shades for Avon, she felt the same way.

Red Reveal and Inky Blue are the two latest inclusions to the Avon line of nailwear pro+ shades.  The Avon Beauty and Empowement Ambassador said of these two shades:

Everything British is a hot topic for me right now, what with the Jubilee, the Olympics and of course my first year on Britain’s Got Talent! I’ve always been proud to be British, so when hand picking my own fabulous limited edition Nailwear Pro+ colours there was no contest to these gorgeous red and blue shades.

Here they are swatched, with a sprinkling of totally-in-context gold (29 medals baby!) just for good measure.

The gold glitter, incase you’re wondering, is the lovely I Herd That* from China Glaze On Safari (Autumn 2012) collection.

Avon Nailwear Pro+ Alesha’s Limited Edition shades of Inky Blue* and Red Reveal* are available to buy online at Avonshop or from your local representative, currently priced at £3.50 each.

Did your nails get all patriotic this Summer?

* press samples

As the summer approaches, my thoughts turn to bullet-proofing my makeup to last the course of a hot, tiring day.  I don’t know about you but despite my dry skin, the first to make a dash for freedom is any and all makeup down the bridge of my nose.  Then my eyeliner melts into my tear ducts, developing into hugely attractive eye bogies before the last of my foundation gives up the ghost and literally puddles in the area where my nose meets my face (hello face).  If it’s really hot, my eyeliner will also strive for symmetry and create matching lines across my upper eyelid where the “hoods” rest gently on the lash-line.  It’s a beautiful sight to behold.

Bobbi Brown’s new Long-Wear Eye Collection promises to stay the distance without letting you down or showing you up.  The eye pencils from the new collection are richly-coloured and deeply-pigmented.  They’re creamy and have that soft, gel formula reminiscent of my beloved Avon Mega Impact/Supershock Gel Eyeliner (whatever they’re bleedin’ being called at the moment).

The Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Eye Pencils* are available in six shades: Jet, Mahogany, Black Navy, Black Plum, Hunter and Smoke, providing a colour option whatever your personal taste.  I really like an off-black range that carries the density of an inky black but without the harshness on maturing features.  Not that my features are maturing, shutup.

These pencils haven’t given me any trouble sharpening, the uber-softness of the Avon ones means that I do need to chill them in the fridge for half an hour prior to sharpening, total pain when you need a pencil stat.  I didn’t have to do this with the Bobbi Brown pencils.

Mahogany is swatched on the left, Smoke on the Right.  You can see the density of pigment is really quite impressive.  It’s a teeny bit less pigmented than the Avon offerings (which are insanely pigmented) but as I said earlier, they do provide a little more precision during application thanks to a firmer texture.

Here are the same swatches after scrubbing the back of my hand with soap and water for a good 30/40 seconds.  I was impressed that they didn’t smear or transfer as I swiped and rubbed.  You can see that the pigment has eroded in places but if you imagine that swatch as drawn across your lash-line, I think you’d be fairly happy to emerge from the swimming pool 3-hours later with that much still intact no?

Unfortunately, whilst I think these pencils are brilliant.  This is where the praise ends.

I’ve been comparing these all along to the Avon SuperShock Gel Eyeliner pencils (which don’t come in as many shades admittedly) simply because the Avon ones are my benchmark and indeed, my daily staples.  As I swatched both alongside one another, I expected the Bobbi Brown ones to outlast the Avon.  They don’t.  They wear identically both on the back of my hand and on my waterline, around 5 hours.

The Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Eye Pencils are priced at £17 each.  The Avon SuperShock Gel Eyeliner pencils are currently priced at £4 each.  And there’s the rub, I’m not going to recommend that you spend extra money needlessly… both are fabulous long-wearing, densely pigmented pencil liners.  The Avon ones are substantially cheaper.

The Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Eye Pencils are available to buy on counter and online from BobbiBrown.co.uk

* press samples

Avon Nailwear Pro+ Nail Shades are currently less than half price, reduced from £6.00 to just £2.50 a-piece. I’ve included some swatches below* so you can pick your next killer colour. Coral Reef is hawt for Summer, one of those beautiful guava shades that will suit both cool and warm skintones equally.

From Left to Right:

Coral Reef | Cosmic Blue | Decadence | Lemon Sugar | Licorice | Pastel Pink | Real Red | Romance | Sea Breeze | Star | Starry Sky | Viva Pink

Avon Nailwear Pro+ Nail Shades are available to purchase online from Avonshop.co.uk

* press samples

I had a little shop-my-stash session and pulled out some things that haven’t seen as much love recently as they should, namely my Face Atelier foundation which is a touch too silicone-heavy for my skin when it’s at its driest in the Winter.  My skin is back in a good place at the moment and I couldn’t wait to see if I still loved it as much as I did last Summer when I bought it.  The answer is a resounding YES!  I’ll do a proper review with before/after shots later in the week, kick me if I don’t ‘cos it makes a great spring/summer foundation for those who aren’t ready to give up ‘propah’ coverage just yet.

My NARS Lhasa got some extra love with a sparkly pairing courtesy of Avon’s Glimmerstick Diamonds Eye Liner in Sugar Plum – it’s a nice way to supercharge a much-loved taupe with a bit of additional colour.  My beautiful Maison Lancome blush* is still pleasing me muchly, especially if I give the brush a good swirl in the darker shades first before building up a little more luminosity courtesy of the pale pink.

Hmm, what else…

Ahh, a Fyrinnae Lip Lustre in Ryo Pinko!  I wasn’t sure if this would still be usable… it’s been a while!  However, it smells and tastes perfectly fine, it’s not quite ready for the cosmetics graveyard just yet!  I love the colour and the metallic finish is a little bit retro (in a good way!).  It inspired me to give today’s FOTD a silly little name though, so it’s all good.

Finally, I layered up two mascaras that I’ve recently been sent and got some epic lashes as a result, I’ll blog them as part of my mascara series shortly.  The Clinique Lash Power Mascara* has a small brush that works well at getting product right into the roots of the lashes before a coat of Clinique High Impact Curling Mascara* ontop sends them skyward.

What’s on your fizzog today and when was the last time you shopped your stash for some forgotten treasures?

* press sample

New Year Honours List 2012

Posted by Lipglossiping On January - 26 - 2012

In a list devoid of MPs, philanthropists, and celebrities – I bring you 12 products that have impressed me beyond my expectations over the past 12 months. This wasn’t easy to compile. Infact, it was so hard that it’s now nearly February and I’ve only just published it.

Some were a given from the moment I used them (Avon Mega Impact Eye Liner), some were growers (Elemis Cellutox Active Body Oil), but all of them have left a real impression for achieving what their claims suggest and let’s face it, that’s what out beauty-loving hearts desire most.

Optrex Itchy/Allergy Eye Drops  |  Lanolips 101 Ointment  |  St. Tropez Perfect Legs Spray  |  Urban Decay Super-Saturated High Gloss Lip Colors

Optrex make eye drops for seemingly every occassion and their Optrex Itchy Eye Drops have saved my poor peepers numerous times throughout the year.  I actually prefer their Optrex Allergy Eyes formula for the Summer months when my eyes are really suffering but I find them quite hard to get hold of (it’s over the counter stuff) and so pharmacists always offer me the Optrex Itchy Eye Drops instead.  To be fair, they both work but nothing soothes the feeling of wanting to wash your eyeballs under a running tap (and swill your eye sockets out while you’re at it) faster or more effectively than the Optrex Allergy Eyes formula.

Another product that goes beyond the pretty to simply make my life more comfortable is Lanolips 101 Ointment.  This nourishing, thick balm is as much a part of my nightly routine as washing my face or repeatedly checking Twitter on my phone after turning off my computer.  It’s simple existence means that my lips never peel or crack, as used to be the case throughout the winter months and if I like a new lipstick, I buy it based on how much I like the shade without caring about how drying the formula may prove to be.

My milk-bottle legs are anticipating the return of the warmer weather with a renewed vigour thanks to St. Tropez Perfect Legs Spray.  I’m surprising myself by including a tanning product in my honours list – I really don’t care much about being tanned… but, this product surpassed all expectations of turning my blue-tinged pins into something that I wouldn’t mind showing off when the sun finally peeks out from behind the UK’s perpetual blanket of cloud cover.

As much as the U.S. brand have released some stonking palettes this year, it’s these Urban Decay Super-Saturated High Gloss Lip Colors that have been ticking all the right boxes for me this year.  They pack a supreme punch of colour, offer maximum convenience and last well throughout the day.  The shades I own are all searingly bright and obnoxious, just the way I’ve been liking my lip shades this year.  These are real beauties and I can’t wait to see if Urban Decay add to the lineup in 2012.

Benefit They’re Real Mascara  |  Elemis Cellutox Active Body Oil  |  Dr. Hauschka Neem Hair Oil  |  Avon Mega Impact Eye Liner

An everyday staple achieves its status by being dependable, consistent, and easy to use.  Benefit’s They’re Real Mascara has been my go-to mascara since its release last August.  It extends and volumises my lashes with an inky formula and doesn’t let me down by smudging or flaking throughout the day.  Once it’s time for bed – it doesn’t give my cleansing oil any arguments and I’m still enjoying the same, usable formula from the original tube that I was given all those months ago.  It’s a solid but impressive addition to my makeup bag.

2011 has been a year of weight loss (and gain, and loss again) for me.  I knew from the start that I’d be putting my skin through the mill on my quest for a less flabby existence and I’ve been using various body oils with my cellulite massager in an attempt to keep my skin elastic, supple and unblemished.  While they all did a good job at moisturising, I wasn’t sure that they were achieving much more than this until I began to use Elemis Cellutox Active Body Oil toward the end of last year.  Aside from it smelling as delicious as you’d expect from the British brand, I’ve noticed a marked improvement in skin-tone, texture and dare I say it… cellulite.

Another major concern over the past year has been the constant flare-ups that have turned my scalp into an itching, flaking mess.  I would start a new shampoo, only to be forced into discontinuing its use a month later.  I tried SLS-free which seemed to improve things for a while, though still didn’t eradicate the problem completely.  I’ve been using Dr. Hauschka’s Neem Hair Oil (non-stinky) for a few months now and have so far, touch wood, not had a flare-up that’s been severe enough to cause any real misery.  I also find the oil effective at soothing any persistent itches alongside a welcome side-effect of improving the condition of my dry hair.

If I could only choose one, my product of the year would go to Avon’s Mega Impact Eye Liner for being outrageously awesome at such a reasonable price.  The blacker-than-black formula applies as smoothly as a gel with no tugging along the delicate waterline.  Give it a few moments to set and you’ll be treated to a full day of hard-wearing, sultry lashlines that resist smudging and transfer like real troopers.  They have a new metallic shade coming out for Spring, look out for it!

Suti Rejuvenate Organic Facial Oil  |  Lumos High Speed Top Coat (try eBay if you’re not a pro)  |  Missha M Perfect Cover B.B Cream  |  NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream

I’ve always loved facial oils but have only recently discovered the true extent of their capabilities.  Suti’s Rejuvenate Organic Facial Oil is a wondrous concoction that seamlessly melts into my skin to give an instant glow on those days when my complexion is feeling particularly dull and drained by the cold weather.  Perhaps even more enlightening is the oil’s ability to turn a dud foundation into a keeper.  I’ve been adding a few drops (during application) to foundations that I consider dry-skin unfriendly and have been amazed at Suti’s ability to make the formula more compatible to my winter skin.  Lots of money saved thanks to this one!

So good do I consider the Lumos High Speed Top Coat, that I’ve bought the entire family!  From salon-sized down to purse-friendly bottles, they speed-dry my nail polish without causing shrinkage or becoming a thick, unusable mess in the bottle before I’ve reached the halfway mark.  The Lumos System also encourages you to use the High Impact Bottom Coat to achieve maximum results and longevity from your manicures but as someone who doesn’t generally suffer from polish chips, I’m happy to report that for me, it works as well with or without.

2011 was the year that B.B Creams hit the Western world with a vengeance and some bandwagon-jumping efforts from the major cosmetic players have left consumers wondering if there’s any difference between B.B Creams and Tinted Moisturisers with added SPF.  If you want to try a true B.B. Cream without the big-budget advertising hype – I can’t recommend the Missha M Perfect Cover B.B Cream highly enough.  It evens my skin-tone, gives serious sun protection, and calms my redness-prone skin in an instant.

I get annoyed with the NYX Cosmetics incarnation in the UK but if there’s one thing worth picking up, it’s the NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams that come in a variety of shades and offer easy application, good coverage, and long-lasting colour without causing unbearable dryness or discomfort.  Remembering that these are (to be fair) matte formulas, it’s a great option for those who wince at the thought of dragging a hard-textured matte lipstick across their lips.  There are some awesome lip-popping shades to choose from too!

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So there we have my New Year Honours List – a little late, but what’s half a month between friends?  Do you agree with any of my choices?  What would you have included in yours?

* the selection includes a mixture of press samples, repurchases from what were originally press samples and my own discoveries/purchases.

Avon Nailwear Pro Violetta Sparkle NOTD

Posted by Lipglossiping On November - 21 - 2011

Regardless of what your birth certificate says, Christmas is the one time of year we can wear an unadulterated amount of glitter on our nails and not feel even slightly embarrassed of ourselves.

Avon Nailwear Pro in Violetta Sparkle is a festively-themed combination of purple and gold – it also conveys flashes of red when under the right lighting – but it’s mostly about the gold.

Application was fine and the above shows three coats.  I found the brush a touch long and thick but what you sacrifice in precision, you make up for in speed of application.  It also dried quickly despite the three coats.  It’s a hair grainy thanks to the glitter but a single coat of topper smoothes that out nicely and gives a needed boost to the shine that really brings out the sparkle within.

I’ve only had this on for two days, but so far no chips and considering the vampy colour, only very minimal tip wear (the above photo was taken just now).

Currently priced at only £3.00 on the Avon website, it’s making me want to explore the other sparkly shades in the Nailwear Pro Sparkle & Shine lineup!

 

* press sample

 

The Art of Christmas Gifting 002

Posted by Lipglossiping On November - 20 - 2011

I’m quite crafty when it comes to Christmas Gifting, not crafty as in sellotape, pieces of felt and glitter pens — crafty as in, Wily Coyote.  Hence my latest find…

The Wrap Your Own Gift Set from Avon is priced at £10.00 and its contents include:

Skin So Soft Soft and Sensual Replenishing Hand Cream 75ml,
Naturals Lime Blossom and Verbena Shine Drops 50ml,
Planet Spa Mediterranean Olive Oil Hydrating Face Mask 75ml,
Naturals Strawberry & Guava Refreshing Shower Gel 200ml,
Naturals Strawberry & Guava Room & Linen Spray 125ml,
Soft Pink Bubble Bath 500ml,
Skin So Soft Soft and Sensual Replenishing Body Lotion 250ml,
Foot Works Heel Softening Cream 75ml.

Now, this would make a nice(ish) present just by itself (you know I’d prefer Burberry)… but my idea would be to split it.  Keep the bits that I know will get used up quickly in our household and fashion the rest into ‘themed’ gift ideas.

Example: My Mum’s Xmas stocking is themed on Winter Skin and from this kit, I’d include: Skin So Soft Hand Cream, Planet Spa Face Mask, and Foot Works Heel Softening Cream.  Those items will go nicely with some of the bits I’ve already bought her.

You could also theme a “Spa Night In” with some, if not most, of these items and throw in some slippers and a hot chocolate kit to complete an impressive and thoughtful ensemble.

Me?  I’d be stealing the basket and extra wrappings which include: a wire basket, tissue paper, a sheet of cellophane, and a ribbon to use on another (dareIsayit) posher pressie.

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Do you get crafty or indeed crafty when it comes to Christmas pressies?

 

Tried, Tested and (mostly) Rejected: Sun Protection

Posted by Lipglossiping On August - 1 - 2011

I owe you an apology for the sun protection series that never happened.  I planned my posts, split the topic down into the main aspects I wanted to cover but then a few things happened that prevented me from seeing things through…

1).  Turns out there are only 24 hours in a day.  Who knew.

2).  I wanted professional input but one contact went silent halfway through the process and the other replied to my questions with single word answers and I was frankly too aware that they were both doing me a favour to push my luck.

3).  I may have also got the mega wobbles about doing such an important subject justice.

So basically, I failed but I can honestly say that I failed with the best of intentions.

Still, all the ‘homework’ that I put into the series hasn’t entirely gone to waste as it has given me understanding and knowledge that has left me far better prepared to comment on some of the sun protection I’ve discovered this Summer and I’ve needed this time to use, compare and decide on my favourite facial sun protection products on the market today.

Let’s start from the top shall we?

1.  Dr. Brandt UV SPF 30 PA+++* is an an advanced broad spectrum UV protectant that contains ‘dry touch’ technology.  It wears exceptionally well under makeup and provides a satin finish with no white cast.  Packaged in an airless pump, it refused to dispense for me on a few occasions leaving me pumping nothing but air until I swore at it and it behaved again.

I wasn’t hugely keen on the scent but it deserves top marks for leaving a practically naked finish.  Medium-textured and water resistant for 80 minutes.

Price:  £30.00 for 30g at SpaceNK

Repurchase?:  Probably not, it contains Oxybenzone and I don’t like the scent.

.

2.  Alpha-H Daily Essential Moisturiser SPF 50+ is an incredibly light-textured solution blended with antioxidant Vitamin E, calming Aloe Vera and pure Honeycomb extract for hydration aswell as sun protection.  This is another superb sun cream to wear under makeup leaving no white residue and providing a dry finish without a hint of greasiness.  Claims water resistance of up to 4 hours.

Price:  £21.82 for 50ml at QVC

Repurchase?:  My heart says yes but my head says no.  Again, this contains Oxybenzone.

.

3.  Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50+ PA+++ is a fluid-textured solution that feels cooling to the skin when applied.  It leaves no white casts and a slightly dewy (but not greasy) finish.  Perhaps better for normal/dry skins though as it lacks the immediate touch-dry feel of the other two.  It sets after a couple of minutes, which is how long I usually wait before applying makeup over it.  No claims of water resistance.

Price: Around £12 for 50ml from eBay

Repurchase?: Again, probably not.  It’s great value but contains Octinoxate.

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4.  Avon ANEW Solar Advance Sunscreen Face Lotion SPF50 PA+++* similar in finish to the Biore but with a heavier texture.  This is definitely more cream than fluid but the most pleasant smelling of all sun creams trialled.  Packaging is a frustration because the bods at Avon decided it would be a good idea to print orange text over a yellow bottle, cue much squinting.

Again, this works best if you leave it a couple of minutes before applying make up but again, it left no white casts on my skin and once ‘set’, I experienced no issues with products that I used over it.

Price:  Currently £8.50 for 75ml at Avonshop – an absolute bargain!

Repurchase:  Unlikely, it’s another one to use Oxybenzone as a UVA/UVB filter and is a little heavier textured than the others.

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5.  SkinCeuticals Sheer Mineral UV Defense SPF50* is an all-mineral sunscreen that employs physical UV filters Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide to protect the skin from the sun.  You would usually expect to be left with a white residue as these ingredients sit on the skin’s surface, physically deflecting the UV rays but SkinCeuticals Sheer Mineral UV Defense uses micronized particles to provide a sheer, non-chalky finish.  The texture is extremely fluid and needs a good shake before applying as it does separate in the bottle.

Paraben-free and contains plankton extract to increase the skin’s defences against UV and heat stresses.

Price:  £26.99 for 50ml at Dermacare Direct

Repurchase:  Possibly, though I found the mattifying effect a little drying for my combo/dry skin.

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6.  Neals Yard Remedies Wild Rose Daily Moisture SPF 30* is the first sunscreen to be certified by the Soil Association (it’s 56% Organic) and contains only one active ingredient: Zinc Oxide.  Naturally scented (as you would expect), the tube dispenses a heavy-textured cream that takes a bit more effort to massage into your skin compared to the others on trial.  Once rubbed in, it dries to a velvety finish with no white residue.  It feels more comforting for my dry skin than the SkinCeuticals but otherwise, very similar once set.

Also contains antioxidant-rich wild rosehip oil and milk thistle, is paraben-free and wears beautifully under makeup.

Price:  £23.50 for 50ml at Neals Yard Remedies.

Repurchase:  Absolutely.  100% mineral, matt-finish but with the added benefits of moisturisation makes Neals Yard Remedies my winning choice.

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A note on my personal choice to avoid some synthetic UV filters:  I’ve made the decision to avoid some UV filters that have been linked to possible hormone disruption.  The jury is still out on the validity of studies that have flagged these safety issues but whilst there are good alternative choices available, I’m pleased to be able to make them.

* press sample

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