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 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.
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!
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!
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.
Mr L doesn’t like me in red lips, so on that basis I’ve decided to wear red lips everyday until I run out of reds to try.
Infact, call it a series if you will… I’m on a mission to discover my favourite reds. Totally inspired by my beautiful friend and MUA @pinkyspanish who rocks a bright lip better than anyone I know and who is always encouraging me to get that little bit bolder!
Today was the first day that I’ve ever worn a true red lip out of the house without wiping it off before lunchtime. Yes, it takes a little more maintenance than normal because I’m the kind of girl who can’t be arsed to reapply her lippie. On a nude shade, this isn’t an issue… but patchy red lips don’t look good and so I was forced to reapply twice today.
I’ve also learnt that discretely licking the edge of your cup/glass before drinking to avoid lip stains is a trick discovered by red-lipped angels.
Anyway, today’s lip is brought to you by the letters N, Y & X!
NYX Hot Red Jumbo Lip Pencil to be precise. Everything I’ve read online told me that Hot Red was an orange based red and as such probably wouldn’t suit my pale skin. I think it does – it also doesn’t give the impression that I’ve stuck corn kernels to my teeth everytime I smile. On appearance alone, this is a winning shade!
Lasting power is acceptable. For the price of the product, it’s amazing. I generally apply, blot the crap out of it and apply lightly again. I get about 3 hours wear from it (less if I eat).
I kept the rest of my makeup to a minimum. I didn’t even use brow powder which was a VERY strange feeling… did I make the right choice? I didn’t want anything to overpower the lips at all… but I’m not sure if perhaps I need the definition for balance?
NYX Hot Red Jumbo Lip Pencil is available to buy online in the UK from Cocktail Cosmetics, priced at £2.75
What are your favourite reds and do you wear them BRIGHT or toned down?
If anyone wants to join me on my red lip crusade, please email me a photo of your lovely selves rocking your favourite red lip – I’d love to do a collage with your photos!
If you’re up for this, I need an email with the following info (not forgetting the photo!):
Your name/blog name (if relevant):
Lip shade name:
MAC Foundation Shade (if known):
Link to blog (if relevant):
Can’t. stop. buying. these. lipsticks.
Seriously, at under £2 a pop you can afford to experiment, and although the Cherry Culture swatches are pretty naff… Google is your friend.
I bought 3 more with my last haul. Actually, I think I bought 5… but 2 were Ronald McDonald reds so I gave them to someone who would look less like a serial killer in them.
These are the 3 I kept:
And here’s what they look like swatched “ON MAH FACE!”:
NYX Paris is my favourite, it’s a perfect pink for me… not too warm, not too cool. Love it! It’s glossy and smooth and doesn’t highlight my sore bits.
NYX B52 is a touch warm for me, but it’s not too bad. Doesn’t look much like I expected it to, it’s a little darker on my skintone than I thought it would be. Texture is great though.
I don’t understand this pout… is it even a pout? What AM I doing? Anyway… ignoring the stupid expression, NYX Power is akin to Revlon’s Pink Pout but without the dryness. It’s not a total dupe, but it’s the nearest I’ve found for my skintone (yes, I know MAC Angel is a well-known dupe, but not on me).
From L-R: Doll Pink, Ballerina Pink & Whipped
I’m love the NYX Round Lip Glosses, they’re fairly pigmented, non-sticky (can’t abide sticky glosses), pleasant smelling and affordable! My only criticism is that they’re not particularly long-lasting… but most non-sticky glosses can’t last through lunch anyway.
Swatched: L-R: Doll Pink, Ballerina Pink & Whipped.
Do you like the NYX Round Lip Glosses? What shades are your favourites?
I bought these from Cherry Culture.com and paid $2 a piece, at that price… you can’t go wrong.
My latest NYX eye shadow acquisitions for your viewing pleasure!
Sparkle Cedar is a weird one, it really is as ‘gritty’ as it appears in the photo. It’s the only disappointment in the bunch though.
These are such great value for money, but I’m a bit NYX’ed out now and can’t decide if I want any more… Have you made any NYX purchases recently? Re-inspire me to buy some more!
This has been on my wishlist for a while (dunno why, I still haven’t used the one I have in Milk yet)…
Anyway… I’m gonna try this out along the waterline to brighten my eyes. It doesn’t feel quite so creamy as the one I have in white (Milk) which can only be a good thing to increase staying power.
It’s still very pale but has a bit of irridescence and lacks the starkness of Milk.
Will let you know how I get on!
A few weeks ago, Cherry Culture tempted me with another 20% off sale (I think it was 20%, I can’t remember exactly)… anyway, my goodies arrived at the end of last week, packaged impeccably (as always).
Here’s what I got this time:
~ NYX Round Lip Glosses in: Ballerina Pink, Doll Pink and Whipped
~ NYX Round Lipsticks in: Electra, B52, Power, Paris and Snow White
~ Milani Blush in Luminous (supposed Orgasm dupe)
~ NYX Single Eyeshadow in: Dune, Herb, Sparkle Cedar and Golden Bronze
~ NYX Jumbo Eyeshadow Pencil in Cottage Cheese
Reviews, swatches etc coming up shortly but this little lot set me back £26 inc. postage (not bad huh?)
Have you been partaking in any hauls in the run up to Christmas or are you being good and spending your money on presents for other people?
This week feels like it’s dragging… and it’s only Tuesday!! Let’s have a quick Eye of the Day for a few minutes distraction…
Inner Corner: B Never Too Busy… – B Delight
Lid: BarryM – #88 Winter Berry
Crease: E.L.F Mineral Eyeshadow – Royal
Outer V: NYX Ultra Pearl Mania – Charcoal
Mascara: Rimmel Sexy Curves – Black
Eyeliner (1st Layer): MAC Fluidline – Silverstroke
Eyeliner (2nd Layer): eBay Infinity Liner – Black
Don’t know if it’s the ‘right’ thing to do, but I love layering my eyeliner like this. I’m a total eyeliner fiend and have so many, it’s surely the only way I’ll ever get through them all!
Seriously, it’s a great way to wear a pop of bright colour along the lashline, without commiting yourself to making a statement with it. I often wear gold and blue eyeliners in this way.
Ok, that distraction worked for about 40seconds… hurry up Hump Day!
SmartBeautyShop have now revised their shipping prices to be based on weight.
Up to 100g will cost £1.78, over 400g: £2.64 and so on.
Good stuff SmartBeautyShop!
I’ve had a few emails and DMs on Twitter with regards to buying NYX Cosmetics in the US. I’m aware that NYX is starting to be more readily available in the UK at sites such as SmartBeautyShop which is fantastic! No more worries about import duty, long shipping times etc…
Let me give you a little run down of the costs involved here…
SmartBeautyShop doesn’t have the Round Lipglosses in stock, so I’ll exclude that item from both baskets.
Let’s do Cherry Culture first:
That’s my shopping list (minus the lipgloss). The exchange rate conversion is correct as of 24/10/2009 and I’ve actually rounded *up* the values to the nearest 5 pence. E.g. The Jumbo Eyeshadow was actually £1.82
I haven’t included it in the shopping list total, but I also used a 20% discount code… so my eventual bill was closer to £22.
Now whilst I’m happy to pay Import Duty… I object to paying Royal Mail an £8 handling fee ontop of this, so I endeavour to avoid crossing the Import Duty threshold which is £18.
My goods order (inc. lipgloss and discount code) came to: £16.10 so I had a clear margin for exchange rate fluctuation. You don’t include the cost of shipping in the £18 calculation… however, HMRC will include the cost of shipping in calculating the duty to be paid by you if your order value exceeds £18. Does that make sense? It confuses the hell out of me!
Ok, now that we’re all completely confudgeulated… let’s take the simpler route and shop for NYX in the UK!
Are you freakin’ kidding me?
No, no there it is… 4 lippies, 6 eyeshadows and a Jumbo Pencil… oh and shipping.
Wait a minute? £7.50 for Royal Mail Inland postage?
But that’s more expensive than Cherry Culture all the way from the US? And I personally consider Cherry Culture to be a little pricey on shipping!
Now, I do understand that SmartBeautyShop et al have to mark prices up… of course they do! They’re importing from the US, they’re the middle men… they have overheads that are much greater than Cherry Culture’s.
They can charge what they want… but you won’t see me buying NYX in the UK anytime soon that’s for sure.
Confusion over international shipping or not… there’s no way I’m gonna justify paying over double for the simplicity of shopping this side of the pond.
How about you? Will you be buying NYX in the UK now that it’s becoming more available? Or saving up your pennies for US orders?
Now it’s time for the eye shadows!
I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d heard such good things that I didn’t think I’d be disappointed but I wasn’t prepared to be quite so delighted either!
I stuck to what I consider to be great Autumn/Winter shades for me… Purples, Plums, Golds and Greys. I was tempted by some brighter more Spring-like shades… but I’ll save them for my next haul
Here’s the swatches (applied dry over UDPP):
My favourites are Eggplant, Golden, Champage and Charcoal…
Rust is an amazingly pigmented shade… it’s a touch too red for my taste but I’ve got it coming up in my next FOTD so you’ll get a clearer idea of how it looks on the eye.
I read up on a few forums about Champagne, and it was often suggested as a nice highlight. Damn my paleness ‘cos it’s too dark to use as a highlight for me… it will be a gorgeous shade for a quick wash of colour though – still pleased I bought it.
Red Bean Pie looked fantastic on the site and doesn’t disappoint in real life. It’s basically Eggplant but with more plummy/red tones to it.
Eggplant is gorgeously metallic, it’s simillar to Red Bean Pie, but a little more purpley.
I never use black in the crease, it’s just too harsh for my skintone so I’m always on the lookout for nice greys and Charcoal is the loveliest crease colour for me. I’m very happy I chose it.
Last but by no means least is Golden – stunning… proper metallic, highly pigmented.. just beautiful!
I’m not disappointed by a single shadow.
I also bought this little beauty…
The much talked about Jumbo Pencil in Milk which is the creamiest, brightest white ever! I know that it’s most often used as a base… but with my creasey creasey eyelids I’m actually gonna attempt to put it to work as an under the brow highlighter! I’ll let you know how it fares…
Can I get a little feedback on my swatches? I’m not particularly confident with swatching… I think they’re pretty colour accurate… Let me know if you ever want a particular shade of anything I swatch incorporated into a FOTD, sometimes things just look different in a swatch than when put into context on the face – or maybe that’s just me?
I bought 4 more NYX Round Lipsticks to add to my collection…
Tea Rose: Medium/Dark Rosey Pink
Strawberry Milk: As the name suggests, very pale milky pink
Thalia: Medium/Dark Nude
Indian Pink: Medium Pink with Gold flashes
Wear on these aren’t fantastic, they don’t last much after a cup of tea, but they’re so easy to reapply and very well pigmented for the price.
And finally… Nyx Round Lipgloss in Sorbet. Non-sticky, fairly sheer with a subtle hint of sparkle.
I’m really pleased with the lip products… my favourite is Thalia or Tea Rose. I adore Indian Pink, it’s so unusual but it’s a little warm toned against my skin. Strawberry Milk is gorgeous too, but I need to find a way to wear it that doesn’t remind me of Magda from There’s Something About Mary.
What are your favourite NYX Round Lipsticks?