A deliciously sweet treat from Patisserie de Bain

Posted by Lipglossiping On November - 6 - 2014

If you’re already dreading the office’s annual Secret Santa, something that’s as certain a drudgery as death and taxes, fear no more.  I have a lovely sweet treat that won’t break the bank on the blog today.

I don’t know about you, but for me… bathing takes on an added importance in the winter.  When all is said and done, I’m a morning shower girl but when the temperature plummets, I like nothing more than to end the day by sinking into a hot bath in the name of relaxation.

To aid this little indulgence, Pastisserie de Bain hand-make these beautiful bath tartlettes that fizz with fragrance and release moisturising butters into your bath water.  A blend of cocoa and shea butter swirl together, softening dry skin and leaving your body lightly fragranced with a range of delicious scents.

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The packaging is darling, and in spite of my LUSH addiction, I have to admit that if you’re going down the gift-route… these completely trump those little black paper bags in the presentation stakes.  Their award-winning packaging is eyecatching, fun, and frankly… makes the gift look far more expensive than it was.

Patisserie de Bain offer a wide variety of “flavours” – these ones are called “All the Fun of the Fair” and feature scents that include toffee apple and candy floss.  Other scents in the range include: sweet cherry pie, lemon meringue, cloves and cinnamon, rose and violet.

Available online from www.graftonsbeauty.co.uk and in Rose & Co. stockists nationwide, priced at £7.00

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The real steal: Two fragrances that belie their price tags!

Posted by Lipglossiping On October - 22 - 2014

If you always struggle to buy the man who has everything, something… then I might be able to help you out.

Whether it’s a partner, a brother, a son, or a father… there’s always one fella in the family who leaves you scratching your head when it comes to accommodating him in your annual Christmas shop.  You may not think that fragrance is the most original gift choice in the world but if you get it right… you’re on to a bonafide winner.

Over the years, I’ve managed to grind down Mr. L’s resolve to the point where he is finally, a fully-fledged fragrance fiend.  His tastes vary but he’s not too particular… if it smells great, offers long-lasting wear and isn’t too extreme, he appreciates a well-crafted scent whatever the notes.

I’ve picked out two from his collection that I think would appeal to most men on your gift lists… and perhaps even more excitingly, you can pick them up for less than £16 each!  Yes, I’m talking about some of my favourite kind of fragrances, those mainstream buys that slip under the radar, punching well above their weight!

budget men's fragrances christmas 2014

The Dad/Husband Choice: Pour Homme – Van Cleef & Arpels (from £12.15 – link)

Of the two fragrances that I’ve selected as “great buys”, this is the one that would be better suited to an older gentleman.  It has a 70s vibe that might not appeal to the younger, Paco Rabanne 1 Million-wearing crowd.  It was revealed by VC&A a couple of years ago, that Pour Homme was one of Serge Gainsbourg’s favourite scents and if you know me, you won’t be surprised that this fact alone made me RUN for the nearest stockist.

Pour Homme opens with a vintage blast of green, a combination of aromatics that include basil, juniper, and bergamot.  It’s a pungent beginning, herbaceous and dated – though depending on your personal tastes, that last adjective is not meant as a criticism – merely a caution.

The heavyweight bottle hints at the darkness of the juice inside, I like to imagine the contents swirling around in there like some kind of twilight-zone vortex because I do believe that the dark arts were afoot during its creation.  I simply cannot envision how it is possible to blend so many different discernible notes without creating a complete hash of a fragrance.  From the freshness to the spiciness, the leather to the wood, the soapiness to the magnificent rose – it’s all in there, managed like a military operation.

Though I have mentioned the Serge Gainsbourg connection, I find it quite hard to associate the two personalities, myself.  Pour Homme is the epitome of a formal fragrance, it’s perfectly styled to sit beautifully against the backdrop of a dark suit, buttoned up to the hilt.  I can only amalgamate the personalities by unbuttoning that collar a few inches and adding 20 Gitanes into the mix.  Ahh yes, there you go.

As the fragrance dries down on my skin, the soft rose notes blossom into a bouquet against a somewhat-soapy backdrop… on my husband’s skin the rose whips against leather and patchouli, darkening the shadows further and stretching them into a bygone age.  The projection and longevity is equal to nothing else in his collection of fragrance, it can only be described in a cliche, as a powerhouse.  I can still smell this on my husband’s collar when doing the laundry, days later.

Talk about getting some serious bang for your buck.  Oui, Je T’aime.

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The Son/Boyfriend Choice: 24 Gold Eau de Toilette (from £15.00 – link)

If you can get past having Twentieth Century Fox logos emblazoned across the outer packaging, you’d be extremely wise to give this one a chance.  24 Gold is indeed a spin-off fragrance, paying homage to TV’s Jack Bauer.  On paper… it’s about as gimmicky as they come, Mr L’s bottle even arrived with a 24-emblazoned ipod armband… presumably so he can listen to his favourite tunes while taking down the world’s baddest baddies.  Frankly, it should be shit.  But it isn’t, it’s about as far away from shit as you can get, it’s amazing.

24 Gold has an alltogether younger feel than Pour Homme, with gourmand chocolate box qualities and a boozy heart of amber.  From the off, it delivers up a beautiful and striking blend of powerful oud and vanilla – remaining forever sweet and better suited to the cooler weather.  It’s an atomic blast of a fragrance, lasting for hours and hours on both mine and Mr. L’s skin, projecting itself into a room long after we’ve left its walled confines.

24 Gold describes itself as a unisex fragrance, and I agree… it has some feminine qualities and a sweet oriental heaviness that would undoubtedly frighten off most Davidoff Cool Water-loving men, so do have a precursory sniff at some of the other scents in your intended target’s collection before jumping in with a blind buy.  Certainly, if most of his collection is light and airy… steer well clear, 24 Gold is decadent, rich, and very, very dense.

If you think you might have the green light on a bolder choice of fragrance, 24 Gold genuinely wouldn’t be wildly out of place in a designer’s private blends collection – exclusively available to only the world’s most revered department stores.  In conclusion, it belies its frankly ridiculous price tag.

Taken at face value, it would be easily forgivable to overlook this one in your local perfume store’s bargain bin.  But do so at your peril!

 

These two fragrances prove that it’s simply not necessary to drop £££ to find an incredible fragrance and although fragrance buying is a very personal experience, I believe you’ll be hard-pushed to find better quality for the money this Christmas.

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Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy Longwear Nail Enamel

Posted by Lipglossiping On September - 1 - 2014

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When it comes to my current beauty routine, I’m sorry to admit that painting my nails is about as intense as it gets.  I’m still struggling to find “me” underneath all this baby stuff, not that I mind… it’s just that everything else seems so much more… not important per se, but… urgent, at least.  I was able to put aside some beauty and blogging time when Leila was born.  Back then, I lived with Mum and Dad, and Paul wasn’t on a constant deadline… plus, I guess I didn’t have another kid to invest my time laughing with.  It’s been an odd few months… simultaneously both easier and tougher than the first time around.

Anyway… back to the pretty polish.  I’ll save my blatherings, perhaps for another day.

Revlon have recently released a range of gel-effect nail polishes into the UK market.  The shade selection is huge, 30 colours in total alongside a diamond top coat.  There’s a lot of these gel-effect polishes around, jumping on the buzz-word bandwagon, but what do they actually offer above and beyond a normal nail polish?

Well, in this case Revlon promises: brilliant colour, gel-shine and long lasting wear.  But does it deliver?

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Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy – #100 Cardshark

The formula, in my opinion, isn’t the easiest to work with.  It’s fairly thin but well-pigmented and has a tendency to pool at the edges if you overload the brush.  Working with thin layers is your best bet, even at the expense of having to apply another coat to achieve an opaque finish.

Having said that, the formula isn’t without merit because it self-levels as it dries, ensuring a neater overall look.  This makes it especially kind to those of us with ridges, flakes, and any other imperfections that may show through a freshly-painted nail.  The finish is lovely, intensely shiny and smooth… in terms of how it looks, there’s no need to add any kind of top-coat.

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Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy – #210 Casino Lights

I’ve already mentioned the rich pigmentation delivered by the Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy range and nowhere was this more apparent than in #210 Casino Lights, a lemon yellow that dispenses with the classic yellow-polish-streakiness completely on the third coat.  Yellows are notoriously hard to work with, and this one was easier than most.

As for wear, I can’t comment on how it fares with the addition of the Revlon Diamond Top Coat… but worn naked, they did well.  I reached day 5 with minimal tip wear and no chipping.

Have you tried these yet?

The Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy range is priced at £6.99 a-piece, available insore and online at Boots.com

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Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stain in Barcelona Nights (photo heavy)

Posted by Lipglossiping On July - 22 - 2014

Perhaps it’s the OCD in me but I do so enjoy a themed collection.  A place for everything and everything in its place and all that.  No silly shade numbers o’ randomness that don’t mean anything to anyone.  Oh no! Revlon have got it very right with their geographically-themed latest product release.

The Revlon ColorStay Moisture Stain launch features a 12-strong collection of lip colours that embrace a gel-stain hybrid texture with a moisturising formula and a high-pigment finish.  The formula has been infused with Vitamin E and Aloe, those stalwart ingredients of the hydration team, making for comfortable day-long wear that leaves your lips feeling nourished.

Each shade claims its own playful colour personality, with shades named after some of the most iconic cities around the globe: Cannes Crush, Miami Fever, Rio Rush, and Parisian Passion to name but a few.

I’ve got my hands on the Hispanic delegate of the collection: Barcelona Nights – probably best described as a berry pink with slight purple undertones.

Revlon Moisture Stain in Barcelona Nights

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The packaging is great, in all its chunky squared-off glory.  There’s nothing pretentious here, it’s simply solid and tactile in a spiky kind of way.  As you draw the applicator wand out of the tube, there’s a certain degree of resistance… the sort of pause that makes you worry the applicator will release from the bottle-neck with a pop, spraying you with lip stain – like a badly-behaved yoghurt pot.  Infact, I’m still not convinced that it won’t, so take care when wriggling the wand free from its constraints.

Having said that, the tight-fit ensures that your applicator isn’t drowned in lip gloop – infact, it dispenses just about the perfect amount onto the tip of the sponge.

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The shade is vibrant and semi-sheer (though buildable), allowing the natural texture of your lip to show through.  Application is smooth, definitely more like a lipgloss than a liquid lipstick.  It feels a touch “plasticky” when first applied but it’s light enough in texture, thankfully, not to bother me.

I suffer from a visible “line” where product often refuses to adhere toward the inner reaches of my bottom lip… and I experienced it with this, at least… until the product had been given a few moments to fuse/melt from the warmth of my lips.  You need to allow this for a more even finish.

Most importantly, there is no stickiness.  None, or should I say nada.

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Wear was fine, not because it was magnificently lingering but because as the colour faded, the stain remained.  For my personal tastes, it’s a little more glossy than I like to wear so I tend to apply, then blot.  Once.  This removes the “slippy” feeling – which is one that I can’t stand and the main reason for my lipgloss aversion – without removing the colour.

Overall, I’ve found it an easy-to-wear, easy-to-apply product… haven’t we all got room for one of those in our makeup bags?

The Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stains are due to launch next month, priced at £7.99 each and available from Boots and Superdrug

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Big Lip Love! RMK W Crayon & Gloss Lips in 01 Cherry Red

Posted by Lipglossiping On May - 1 - 2014

Do you ever make snap judgements about products only to be proven very, very wrong?  I don’t mind admitting that I do… and in this case, I got one hell of a shock when the product put me firmly in my place.

The RMK W Crayon & Gloss Lips is a new release from the Japanese beauty brand and features a duo crayon/gloss system designed to impart big colour and shine.  When it comes to lips, I don’t tend to expect much in the way of pigment from Asian brands… my past purchases have taught me that it’s all about the sheer juiciness and moisturising formulas.

Generalising much, I know… but this is just what I have come to expect.

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ignore the foundation, that’s coming in a later review!

The crayon end of the wand did two things to surprise me.

First of all, it dragged… it dragged across my lips like a dog not wanting to be taken for a walk.  It feels hard, a little waxy and not what I was expecting.  To be fair, this did mean that I could achieve a great, sharp line around the edge of my lips but I wasn’t impressed.

The firm texture meant that it took a fair amount of “colouring in” before my entire lip area had been filled and I couldn’t smoosh my lips together to spread the pigment, the formula just wasn’t creamy enough.  This does mean that it is however, extremely long-lasting.

The second surprise came from the amount of pigment the crayon imparted.  We’re talking serious colour.  Bold, opaque and a little startling.  In other words, fabulous.

So there I am… crayon on, thoughts a little jumbled at this point.

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Ahh, the gloss end of the equation.  I hate gloss.  You know I hate gloss, we all know that yes… Lip”gloss”iping hates gloss.

Prior to actually trying the W Crayon & Gloss Lips out in person, I did toy with the idea that I’d probably just wear the crayon alone… but once it’s applied, it needs something more.  It just looks unfinished with the crayon worn alone on the lips.

And so I dived into the gloss section of the tube, pulling out the silicone spatula-esque applicator and layering a coat of the glitter-filled semi-transparent gloop across my lips.

RMK W Crayon and Gloss Lips 01 Swatch

“Oh!”

“It looks nice!”

Really nice!

The truth is that I just didn’t expect it to look like the perfect combination between pigmented AND juicy.  It didn’t expect it to plump and fill my lips to the point where I found it tricky to resist snogging myself in the mirror.

The gloss is completely non-sticky (trust me, I’m a massive fusspot) and refreshingly light on the lips.  It doesn’t try to migrate or pool unattractively, waiting for me to open my mouth and share strings of globby gloss with the world.  It just sits gently across the surface, sparkling away and making the crayon underneath feel far more comfortable than it did prior to the partnership.

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RMK W Crayon and Gloss Lips 01 Lips

Transfer is a bitch, so be aware… although my teeth were unaffected, my glass and cup both took a shocking hit.  Having said that, there’s so much pigment in the product that the transfer had no impact on how it looked on my lips.

After around 45-minutes, the shine gradually dissipates and it (to my eye) looks even better.  It loses the screamy “look at me” shine but retains the juiciness, appearing much like a well-formulated creamy lipstick.  Roll forward a couple of hours and you can just start to feel a little dryness creeping through from the crayon.  As your lips press together, there’s more texture and at this point, it would be a good idea to give your pout a quick blot with tissue or reapply another layer of gloss.

It’s not completely low-maintenance but for such a bold shade, that undercoat of crayon sticks like you-know-what to the proverbial blanket, making touch-ups with the gloss a lot less hassle than re-lining your lips or dealing with an ugly ring of colour around the lip-line.

Well, there you have it.  Massive, big and completely unexpected love from me for this unassuming tube of lip colour.

RMK W Crayon & Gloss Lips in 01 Cherry Red is priced at £22 and available in 5 limited-edition, seasonal shades.  You can find them online in the UK from BeautyBay.com, LookFantastic.com and instore at Selfridges!

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Limited Edition products for Superdrug’s 50th Birthday!

Posted by Lipglossiping On April - 10 - 2014

Superdrug, in dog years… let’s be honest, you’re dead.

The big Five Oh.  1964-….

It’s not a number to be sniffed at, especially in the kind of financial times that have proven too much for even the greatest of high-street institutions *cough* Woolworths pick n’ mix *cough*.

You must be doing something right.  And infact, I know you are… because even with the ridiculous amount of shopping opportunities available to me when I wander through town, I always pop in for a look at your best budget beauty, your splendiforous own-brand hair colourants, and fridges that burst at the seams with Appletiser.  I hope I’ve still got half of what it takes to remain relevant when I reach my half-century!

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In honour of this milestone, a host of the world’s favourite beauty brands have created some rather special limited-edition Superdrug products for the birthday celebrations.  You may be noticing a bit of a colour theme going on, I’ll give you a clue… it ain’t blue.

The products available range from fragrance to cosmetics, skin-care to everyday essentials and include favourites such as: Astral’s iconic multipurpose moisturiser (£3.89), Lipcote (£3.69), BarryM Nail Paint (£3.99), Cacharel Amor Amor (£35), and Cocoa Brown One Hour Dark Tan (£6.99).

Alongside this barrage of pink produce, the celebrations take a more comprehensive turn with lots of instore and online promotions, including some nifty 50% off deals, and various Facebook/Twitter promotions.

They’ve even released a video on YouTube to showcase the changing face of the must-have party look over the past half-century:

If you want to wish the brand a happy twoscore and ten, simply use the hashtag #superdrug50 on to join in the celebrations on Twitter. 

And don’t forget to check out the Superdrug website for a chance to win a hamper packed full of exclusive Superdrug 50th Birthday products!

Go #RetroGlam with Rimmel London! #ModMonday (Sponsored)

Posted by Lipglossiping On March - 26 - 2014

If you could take just one period from history and transplant its looks, style, and fashion into this century… you’d be hard-pushed to pick a better era than the 1960s.  The decade thrived off a dynamism that transformed a post-war world, thrusting it into the modern age.  From space exploration to consumerism, civil rights to music… the buzz word was progress, and at a breakneck pace.

Nowhere was this better represented than in the world of beauty and fashion.  Many young women finally had access to a disposable income, and what better to do with it than spend it on pretty new things?

Rimmel London have released the new ScandalEyes Retro Mania Collection, a fun nod to the decade of change with a monochrome theme, featuring some of the must-have tools of the decade, absolutely necessary to perfect the mod style!

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Focusing on the eyes as the main component in recreating the look of the era (lips were generally pale and frosty or completely blanked out with concealer), Rimmel London have released the following products:

•  Rimmel London ScandalEyes RetroGlam Mascara
•  ScandalEyes Thick & Thin Eyeliner
•  ScandalEyes Eye Shadow Paint in Mercury Silver, Rich Russet, and Golden Bronze
•  ScandalEyes Eye Shadow Stick in Witness White, Blackmail, and Bulletproof Beige

The ScandalEyes RetroGlam Mascara comes complete with an hourglass-shaped wand to capture all lashes from the innermost to the outermost corners, plumping and volumising as you comb the brush through from root to tip.  Whether you lust after Twiggy-esque lash separation or Edie Sedgwick’s luscious volume, the inky-black formula promises to deliver an “eyeconic” 60s look.

Georgia May Jagger presents as the face of the new collection with a look that takes the 60s styling to the max, you can view some of the brand’s modcasts online from their Tumblr page.  I’ve embedded one of the campaign videos below which shows some of the main pieces of the collection in action:

This month, the brand are running a weekly #modmonday contest that you can enter by sharing your retro look with @RimmelLondonUS on Twitter, Instagram or Tumblr – and this week – you even stand a chance at winning an authentic Lambretta scooter!

I had a go at creating a wearable 60s look, understating the lips and cheeks whilst putting full attention on the eyes.

Lining the lower lashline with the new RetroGlam Eye Shadow Stick in Witness White drew maximum attention to the contrasting black of the ScandalEyes RetroGlam Mascara and ScandalEyes Thick & Thin Eyeliner.  I wanted my look to be a more work-friendly Anna Karina than the dramatic and editorial style of Peggy Moffit!

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For more ideas and inspiration on how to recreate your own retro glam look, check out the official Rimmel London Retro Glam Page.

* This post has been sponsored by Rimmel London

Smashbox Always Sharp 3D Liner in Neptune & Sparks

Posted by Lipglossiping On March - 26 - 2014

I have very little patience for a lot of things.  Life’s little foibles that increase my intolerance levels are varied and far-reaching… waiting to use the bathroom in the morning, picking up a freshly-boiled kettle only to discover that the person before you didn’t put enough water in for two cups… you know the kind of thing.

I’ve got another one for you.  Reaching for your eyeliner only to discover that it’s so blunt, that were you to use it… you’d risk losing an eye.

So, it’s just as well that Smashbox have saved my sanity and devised an “always sharp” waterproof liner range and I’ve got two from the 3D (a.k.a sparkly) line-up to show you swatches of today.

Smashbox Always Sharp Waterproof Liners

3D Sparks on the left, 3D Neptune on the right

Now, these aren’t your run-of-the-mill retractable eyeliners, they actually feature some kind of voodoo sharpener in the lid, meaning that everytime you twist the cap off… the tip appears neatly tapered and ready for some precision action.  You don’t need to twist these up to expose more product, they’re just ready-to-wear time and time again.

My only complaint about them is that from what I can tell, there’s no way of discovering when they’re nearing the end of their lifespan.  3D Sparks is a golden olive shade, dark enough to pass for a softer black or grey with a bunch o’ gold glitter and 3D Neptune is a very pretty navy blue with brighter sparkles.

Smashbox Always Sharp Waterproof Liners Swatch

3D Sparks on the left, 3D Neptune on the right

The formula is quite firm and stays put well, giving long-wear without transfer or running.  I’ve even worn one along the lower waterline with great success and no eye-irritation from the shimmer particles.

The Smashbox Always Sharp 3D Liners are priced at £16-a-piece, so I’d like to point out that for those on a budget, it’d be worth checking out the Avon Glimmerstick Diamonds Eyeliner at £6-a-piece which also give a similar sparkle finish, albeit with more drag and none of the fancy self-sharpening!

Smashbox Always Sharp 3D Liners are available to purchase instore at Boots and online at boots.com or smashbox.co.uk priced at £16.00 each

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SUQQU Nail Color R EX05 Shirakoucha NOTD

Posted by Lipglossiping On March - 18 - 2014

Shall we have something a little more demure today? All this holographic sparkle is lush n’ all but not always the most work-appropriate of choices.  If you are looking for the kind of polish that is possibly more work-appropriate than even you are, look no further than this Suqqu Spring release…

SUQQU Nail Color R EX05 Shirakoucha is so demure and understated that it makes Emma Watson look like Miley Cyrus.  This pale, creamy nude is completely and utterly neutral, like the milkiest tea-latte in the coffee-shop.

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It’s a little sheer on the first coat and needs a full 2 or even 3 coats to build up to opacity and you only get a rather laughable 5ml for your money here, so if you’re wearing this frequently as part of your nail wardrobe, you’ll get through a bottle sharpish.

That aside, it’s a lovely polish to work with, quick-drying and glossy… I’m on day 3 of wear and it still looks as good as new.

SUQQU Nail Color R EX05 Shirakoucha is priced at £18.00 and available to buy on counter at Selfridges while stocks last.

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My favourite luminizing eye shadows!

Posted by Lipglossiping On March - 13 - 2014

As a simple lady (in more ways than one), I’m just not interested in painting my eyes with a rainbow of colours anymore.  It makes me feel conspicuous, something that I don’t enjoy being at the best of times.  Whilst I may be getting past the whole idea of using makeup as a way to be creative, I don’t think I’ll ever get over its abilities to make me look more refreshed, and leave me feeling more confident in my own appearance.

Truth be told, nowadays… I rarely stray from wearing anything other than a highlighting shade across my eyelids.  I need something that puts luminosity into a part of my face that is often the first to express just how little sleep I’ve gotten in recent weeks.  I know that many of you will be the same as me, “boring” though it is…

I thought I’d share my favourite luminosity-delivering eye shadows for a quick morning post… these are the ones that I use in constant rotation… whichever is closest to hand, I’m happy to use that morning.

Favourite highlighting lid shades

Top row, left to right: MAC Vanilla Pigment, MAC Femme Fi, MAC Phloof!

Bottom row, left to right: Becca Vicuna, The Body Shop Colour Crush 101, Shu Uemura IR Beige 800

I rarely feel makeup guilts about purchasing a highlighting shade, which is silly… because six, used in rotation, is more than enough for anyone.  However, I know that as part of my daily staple, I’ll get through them… eventually.  In a pinch, most of them can also be used as a skin highlighter across the cheekbones, I do this particularly with The Body Shop Colour Crush 101 eyeshadow when I can’t find my NARS Albatross.

Favourite Highlighting eyelid shades eyeshadow

Of the six, MAC’s Vanilla Pigment delivers the most intense light-reflection, it’s wonderful for the inner corner but my skin is a little too mature to wear this as an under-the-browbone highlighter, it makes me feel like I’m in drag to be honest… not really a good thing, when err… you’re not actually in drag.  I do love this one as an allover lid colour, I just make sure to blend it well and combine with some black liquid liner for a simple-but-polished look.

If you were to push me, I’d probably call out MAC’s discontinued Femme-Fi as my ultimate favourite.  It just has such a lovely quality that never looks chalky or stark across the lids, sometimes the cooler-toned, more frosty Phloof! can look a little too highlightery across the lids.  Whenever I spot Femme-Fi in someone’s blog sale, I always succumb to the purchase.

Becca’s Vicuna is also a beautiful one-shade option, I probably reach for it the least out of the six just because it’s in a cream format… but when I get my head around working outside the box, I’m always pleased with the result.

Finally, the discontinued Shu Uemura IR Beige 800 and The Body Shop Colour Crush 101* are really similar to each other in tone.  The Shu Uemura is a little more refined in texture, but once both are blended, you’d be hard-pushed to notice a difference between them.  These are both perfect for the inner corner but when worn across the lid, I try to combine them with a more golden-toned crease colour as opposed to my usual taupe.

What are your favourite luminosity-delivering eye shadows?

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U.S. brand theBalm is now available online at Cloud10 Beauty, and its arrival has brought the latest, much-sought after addition to the brand’s revered “Manizer” range of powder highlighters to the UK.  The new Cindy-Lou Manizer sits comfortably alongside the franchise with its rose-toned hue and familiar finely-milled, softly-textured finish.

The packaging, featuring a blonde pinup lovely with porcelain skin, suggests that this latest member of the family is aimed at filling the gap left by its counterparts, a much-needed pinky highlight for those who may struggle with the warmth of the Mary-Lou and Betty-Lou Manizers.

This is exactly what it does, but cool-toned, pale-skinned girls might not be getting quite what they hoped for from this new addition, so read on and be under no illusions!

Cindy-Lou Manizer

Cindy-Lou Manizer Close Up

Cindy-Lou Manizer Ingredients

Cindy-Lou Manizer Swatch

theBalm’s Cindy-Lou Manizer is gorgeous, let me make no bones about it.  The texture is sublime, the highlight-effect is subtle but true and the new shade delivers a stunning rose-gold hued highlight that sits beautifully alongside a warm blush.

My only problem with it is that it just doesn’t fill that highlighting franchise gap that I was talking about!  Of course, this just means that theBalm will have to release yet another shade to appease my highlighting-taste (shame!) because personally, my skintone needs something with a cooler, more silvery-undertone.  Don’t be looking at this one (as I did) and thinking, “oh! it’s a pink-toned highlighter, perfect for me!”, because it’s just too pigmented and warm in hue to be a universal highlight on my skin.

Not that I can’t make great use of it… with a touch of care about which blushes to pair it up with, I’m loving a light sweep across my cheekbones, it’s a beautiful highlighter and if you favour a warmer blush, you absolutely need this highlighter in your collection.  If you’re a cool-toned girl who leans toward the dolly-side of pink… just double check that you’ll be able to get the most out of this before purchasing.

theBalm’s Cindy-Lou Manizer is priced at £16.00 and is available to purchase online from Cloud10Beauty.com, I’m hoping they get the instain blushes in next!

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Smashbox Full Exposure Eyeshadow Palette (photo heavy)

Posted by Lipglossiping On February - 26 - 2014

Smashbox’s answer to the Urban Decay Naked franchise is finally here, and for anyone who can’t get enough of these nude eyeshadow compendiums, prepare to have your head turned by another claimant to the throne.

The Smashbox Full Exposure Palette features a full set of complementary shimmer and matte shades.  Complementary in the sense that they pair up beautifully… you’re not really looking at a full palette of fourteen-different shades, it’s less convoluted than that.  Consider it more like a palette of seven daily-use shades that give you a choice between two textures.

The housing is pretty substantial in a I’m-not-very-portable kinda way.  If you don’t mind the chunkiness of the UD palettes, then this won’t bother you but if you prefer something a little more streamlined, take a look at the recent Clinique offering as an alternative.  The front of the Smashbox palette features some too-gorgeous-for-words holographic lettering that made me go a little weak at the knees.  I’m not ashamed to admit that my head gets turned by such frivolity… it’s beautiful.

Smashbox Full Exposure Palette 04

Once inside, there’s a large mirror, the fourteen eyeshadow pans, and a high quality, double-ended brush.  The brush is worth a particular mention as it’s been designed to work in partnership with the textures in this palette.  One end should be used for applying the matte shades and one for the shimmers.  It’s a nice touch.  There’s also a mini mascara included.

Smashbox Full Exposure Palette 06

Onto the shades themselves, this is, afterall… the heart of the palette.

I would have prefered to see the mattes along the top row here… they are, after all, the workhorse part of the palette.  The mattes are beautiful, non-chalky and rich in colour.  They apply with great pigmentation and blend smoothly… a reason in themselves to pick up this palette.  The seven shades offer the full-spectrum from palest to darkest along the neutral line and I can’t really fault them.

Smashbox Full Exposure Palette 05

I can’t say the same for the shimmers.

The top row of the palette will confound you.  How can the mattes be so uncomplicated and these beautiful shimmers so… high-maintenance?  The easiest way to give you an idea of how they apply is to remind you of the “notorious” glitters from Urban Decay, the likes of Midnight Cowboy… such a beautiful shade but so finickity.  With the Smashbox Full Exposure Palette, you’re basically getting a set of seven of these along the top row.

Are they unworkable?  No.  Are they useless?  No.  But you have to learn to love them if you don’t want to cast the whole thing out the window.  The learning curve for this isn’t steep but for many, it will be an ask too far.

Smashbox Full Exposure Palette 07

Smashbox-Full-Exposure-Palette-Swatches

The base of the shimmers is only lightly pigmented, meaning that you’re going to need a primer for these shades to display anything more than a pretty scattering of glitter across your lids.  This isn’t a problem and I recommend using something like the Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy which still works better for adhering glitters to your eyelids than anything else I’ve tried.

Alternatively, you can just go with it and ride this palette bareback.  Embrace a dusting of complementary light (and lack of colour) across the matte base that you’ve applied from lower portion of the palette.  That is after all, I’m assuming… the reason why these shades work so nicely paired as you look at them from top-to-bottom in the pans.  Just be sure to do your eye-makeup before your foundation routine to work around any fall-out issues.

Basically, this palette, beautiful though it is… has its pitfalls.  There’s room for post-purchase disappointment if you don’t know what you’re getting from it… so do go and check it out on the counter with an open but cautious mind about whether it would fit in with your beauty routine.

A final special mention goes to the rather nifty eye-shape chart that the brand have included.  It features mini-tutorials on how to use the palette to suit a variety of eye-shapes from almond to round, downturned to monolid, and even includes some tips and techniques for hooded eyes.

Smashbox Full Exposure Palette 03

Have you tried this palette?  What are your thoughts?

The Smashbox Full Exposure Eyeshadow Palette is priced at £36.00 and is available to buy instore and online from boots.com or smashbox.co.uk

* press sample

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