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!

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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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The Urban Decay Limited Edition Pulp Fiction Collection hits the UK!

Posted by Lipglossiping On September - 10 - 2014

20 years ago, I hot-footed it to my local Our Price (remember them?) to pick-up the soundtrack to Pulp Fiction… on a cassette no less.  I still remember the total cringe of whacking it in the car’s tape player during a journey across France, only to greet my parents with the opening line “Any of you fucking pricks move, and I’ll execute every motherf*cking last one of you!”

To be fair to them, they were pretty cool about it, despite my tender age… and we later pulled in to McDonalds to see if we could order a Royale with Cheese.

Of course, just like any other girl who was lucky enough to be a bonafide teen in the 90s, I had a bit of a girl-crush on Mia Wallace.  The hair (ok, the fringe), the lips and nails, and the coolest way to wear a white shirt ever? Suddenly your school blouse didn’t seem quite so unappealing in the morning.

Urban Decay have recently honed in on Mia’s badass look with their Pulp Fiction Collection, and what started out as a homage to her lipstick and nail polish quickly developed into an entire line-up of products.  The brand gleefully states that one of the perks of creating the collection was simply being able to watch and rewatch the film over and over, all in the name of research, of course.  Sign me up for that job!

The limited edition line-up consists of five products: an eyeshadow palette, Revolution lipstick, 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencil, Nail Colour, and a Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner.  It’s not a straight-down-the-line copy of Mia’s look (she didn’t rock glitter in the film) but UD insist that had she rocked the more sparkly look, this is pretty much the way she would have done it.  Bold claims.

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Kicking off with the Eyeshadow Palette (£17.50), the shades are your standard 90s browns.  Despite it containing three brand new UD shades, there’s nothing here that most of us can’t replicate by having a dig through what we already own.  The shades lean to the warm side of the spectrum and mix up the matte/satin texture throughout.  All blend well and are deserving of belonging to the Urban Decay family of equally marvellous eyeshadows.

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Having said that, for me… the palette’s lustworthiness comes not from its contents but from the completely superfluous (yet highly desirable) branding.  I mean, who doesn’t want an eyeshadow palette with Bad Motherf*cker quotes on it, I mean… really?

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I’m so sorry but I’ve deleted my lipstick pic!  I have the swatch shot though, so I hope you’ll forgive me.

Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencils (£13) are some of my favourite in the world, there’s nothing worse than a hard, dry and draggy lip pencil that takes an age before it warms up.  Urban Decay have the formula on these just right.  Dry enough to give some serious long-lasting coverage but creamy enough to apply with ease.  Mrs. Mia Wallace is a deep red, slightly deeper than the matching lipstick.

Talking of the lipstick, I have to say, it didn’t fully impress.  Compared to the brand’s other Revolution Lipstick (£15) shades and my own, frankly ridiculous, array of reds, Mrs. Mia Wallace (yes, the same name as the pencil) just didn’t capture my heart.  The shade is pretty fabulous and much darker in the bullet than it is once applied to the lips, but unfortunately… I found the texture to be firmer than I’d like.  Of course, this makes for a longer-lasting lip experience… oh so important for the shade in question, but damnit, I demand total lip comfort nowadays.  No compromises.

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Perversely, I fell in complete and utter love with the Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner in Gunmetal (£14.00).  Of COURSE I DID.  The one item in the collection that, to all intents and purposes, feels a little bit like a “quick, let’s make some more money from this movie tie-in” product that the rest.  Honestly, if you’re a lady of a certain age (i.e. over 25) and feel a little bit foolish rocking the glitter (but secretly still want to)…. Buy it.  Buy it now.

The clear base locks the glitter particles in place, ensuring absolute minimal fall-out and the sprinkling of black and silver sparkles deliver a more understated glitz that really amps up a night-time look without throwing it into ABBA category.

And finally, we come to the nails…

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For me, it was always going to be pretty hard for Urban Decay to pull off this part of the collection.  I mean, in my mind… you’d have to prise Chanel’s Rouge Noir out of Mia’s cold, dead fingers before she’d relinquish that baby.  The Nail Colour (£10) is a deep red that lacks the vampiness of Rouge Noir but does through in some gold glimmer to the formula.  Not enough to make it sparkle (unless you’re in direct sunlight, angling your nails 10 degrees to the east) but just enough to add another dimension and a glassy (jewelled?) kinda finish.  I like it, a lot but it’s not quite Mia Wallace to me!

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Ultimately, the collection both sinks and swims.  Urban Decay have styled it beautifully… the glossy noir packaging with badass quotes and eye-catching headers, the Mia Wallace “get the look” insert… it all makes for a covetable release for the U.S. brand.  The products contained beneath the hype range from the great to the average, not one of them is a dud… but many are ultimately completely dupable.  Does that matter?  It depends on how much you love that Pulp Fiction styling.

Me? I’m a sucker for it.

The limited-edition Pulp Fiction collection is available on-counter at Debenhams and House of Fraser with prices starting from £10.  You can also find it online at feelunique.com.

* press sample

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You can’t polish a turd…

Posted by Lipglossiping On June - 24 - 2014

…but you can roll it in glitter.  Beautiful, beautiful, glittery glitter.

I know I’m too old for this, I mean seriously.  When your 5-year old daughter is so massively into your press sample, it’s time to retire your own love for the shiny stuff.  At least in public.

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Or is it?

The rather brilliant thing about Urban Decay’s Heavy Metal Loose Glitter release isn’t really the glitter at all.  No, indeed… it’s actually the far less obvious Bondage Weightless Make up Adhesive that was released alongside the it!

Unfortunately, that also appears to have been a limited edition product and I can’t find it on the Debenhams website anymore.  Damn you Urban Decay, don’t you dare go the way of MAC with your blink-and-you’ll-miss-it collections.

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The Heavy Metal Loose Glitter is of the particularly chunky variety.  More like the kind of glitter you’d find in your nail polish than in your eyeshadow drawer.  They’re available in six shades: Catfight, Pyrotechnics, Loaded, ACDCGoldmine, and Reverb.  Pyrotechnics, the opalescent white, is actually lovelier than I would have dared imagine.

The sifter containers are just plain annoying but I truly doubt that there is any convenient and fuss-free way to store and dispense glitter.  Whomever comes up with one will surely also rule the world.

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But as I mentioned, it’s the adhesive that really won me over.  It holds the glitter tight and resists water effectively.  I’ve since used the adhesive on my stash of slightly-less-glittery loose eyeshadows and it works very well in a Pixie Epoxy way.  It’s somewhat overkill to use this as an eye primer but I can’t deny that it does a good job.

When it comes to application, it’s best to work both of these products onto the skin in thin layers.  I’ve been stroking the adhesive onto the skin before patting gently with a finger to spread and refine the initial sweep of product.  The glitter is best applied with a finger, there’s no denying that it’s a messy affair but I guess that if you’re into making-up with glitter, this won’t come as a huge shock!

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Im not the biggest fan of using chunky glitter like this… I really can’t see how I could fit it in to a “look” without looking like an aging raver, but if you’re wanting something to turn heads during festival season, perhaps you could be persuaded?!

The Urban Decay Heavy Metal Loose Glitters and Bondage Weightless Makeup Adhesive are available to buy online from UrbanDecay.com, priced at $12.00 & $14.00 respecitvely.  If they ever come back into stock on Debenhams.com, they’re available for £10-a-piece.

* press sample

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Guest Review: Urban Decay Naked Skin Loose Finishing Powder in Dark

Posted by Lipglossiping On February - 12 - 2014

I was sent a new finishing powder from Urban Decay recently but the shade wasn’t suitable for me to trial.  I gave a shout-out on Twitter looking for a darker-skinned blogger to help me out and Annie from www.epiphanniea.co.uk came to my rescue… take it away Annie…

I think the Urban Decay Naked Skin Ultra Definition Loose Finishing Powder gets an award for the longest product name in 2014. Was the plan to turn this new finishing powder from Urban Decay into some sort of beauty blogger tongue-twister because I certainly believe they achieved that.

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Urban Decay Naked Skin Loose Finishing Powder in Dark – henceforth known as UDNSKUDLFP for short – is a warm-toned, lightweight, mineral finishing powder designed to set your foundation flawlessly and drastically cut down on the amount of shine on your T-zone.  I’ve been asked by Charlotte to review this new offering from Urban Decay and to see whether it actually delivers a luminous and virtually undetectable finish on skin . . . or if it’s all just a marketing spiel.

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Before I even get round to reviewing this powder, I just want to step back and thank Urban Decay for releasing a range of Naked Skin powders where the darkest shade is actually quite Dark. More often than not, most products labeled as dark as just one step above beige so the fact that Naked Skin Loose Powder in Dark is ACTUALLY designed to work well with medium to very dark skin shades is a blessing in disguise. Taking a light dusting on my powder brush and gently tapping the powder onto my face; targeting my T-zone area and my top lip.

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As promised, the Naked Skin Powder does set makeup and leaves a super lightweight, “invisible finish” to your skin – so if you are looking for a powder with some coverage this isn’t for you – As it has a light-reflecting formula you gain a very subtle, luminous glow to your face but I honestly have to step in and object where it claims to airbrush away imperfections, leaving your skin with a soft focus effect. I’m not exactly sure where Urban Decay is going with this claim as all powders tend to give skin a matte, almost flawless canvas but I will admit that this powder doesn’t look chalky or settle in the fine lines around my eyes and last for about 6-7 hours before fading away completely.

While I do think this loose finishing powder is very creamy, subtle and lightweight, I’m not a complete fan as I don’t find it very buildable.

The Urban Decay Naked Skin Loose Finishing Powder is priced at £22.00 and comes in five shades; Light to Dark. It’s available to purchase from your nearest Urban Decay counter or online at Beauty Bay, Look Fantastic & House Of Fraser.

* press sample

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Advent fun with Urban Retreat, Clinique, Escentual, and more!

Posted by Lipglossiping On December - 2 - 2013

If you’re left feeling disappointed by the synthetic aftertaste from your el-cheapo Advent Calendars, never fear… I’ve got something here to perk up your taste-buds.  Some of our favourite stores and brands are running Advent promotions and competitions to get you back into the Christmas spirit, here’s a quick run-down of some of my favourites…

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Clinique

Every day from the 2nd – 8th December, the brand will be unveiling a Christmas treat available with online purchases.  I’d love to give you a full run-down of what will be on offer but the bods at Clinique HQ are keeping their secret’s firmly under wraps until the morning of the offer.

They have, however, released a few teasers which include…

Monday 2nd DecemberThe Christmas party must-have
Tuesday 3rd DecemberAll you need is Comfort & Joy this season
Wednesday 4th DecemberTreats for everyone
Thursday 5th December - All you’ll want for Christmas is this
Friday 6th December - A Happy Friday it shall be
Saturday 7th December - A cracking treat
Sunday 8th December - You’ll wish it could be Christmas everyday

Log on to www.clinique.co.uk each morning to discover the latest treat….

Urban Retreat

If you’re feeling a bit bleary-eyed, you’d better reach for the Optrex.  Your peepers will need to be in top condition to scoop the prizes on offer at Urban Retreat’s Beautique.  Starting today, the company are relaunching their Great Christmas Quest campaign featuring a decadent array of prizes up for grabs!

Simply log-on to the site from 12pm daily this week and begin the treasure hunt, scouring the site for the standout present icon selling for only 1p.  When you find it, add it to your basket and checkout to claim the prize but be quick about it, you’re in a race to be the first to secure the item!

For more information and find out more about the prizes up for grabs, follow the brand on Twitter @URBeautique and keep an eye on the #XMASQUEST hashtag.  You can also find more details online at Urban Retreat.

Escentual.com

The beauty emporium are once again running their ever-popular #EscentualWish promotion on Twitter!  Hooray!  Starting this Thursday and running for one week, the company will be randomly selecting a winner each day on Twitter to receive their most wished-for Escentual product!

If you want to join in with the fun, simply get involved using the hashtag #EscentualWish and follow the brand on Twitter @escentual

Superdrug

For Facebookers everywhere, this one’s for you.  Head on over to the Superdrug fan page and jump on board with the high-street retailer’s 25-day Christmas extravaganza!

Every day from now until Christmas, open the virtual door and discover a new prize up for grabs.  Make sure you enter your details into the prize draw form which resets every night at midnight.  Good luck!

Big Green Smile

Last but not least, natural beauty experts Big Green Smile are running a 12 Days of Christmas promotion featuring a host of beauty bounty from some of the world’s best-loved brands.

To be in with a chance of winning, head on over to Big Green Smile and check out the entry form and T&C for this promotion.

 

Hope you’re feeling lucky folks!

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

Posted by Lipglossiping On September - 18 - 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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From left to right:

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

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

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

Available to buy online from abahna.co.uk

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

Available to buy online from bodhi.uk.com

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

Available to buy online from tesco.com

 

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

* press sample

Urban Decay Naked Skin Ultra Definition Pressed Finishing Powder

Posted by Lipglossiping On September - 4 - 2013

With a name as catchy as that, you’ll be able to reel it off your tongue in no time the next chance you get to pass your local UD counter.  Well, whatever you need to do to memorise such a large chunk of the alphabet, memorise it you must. Write it down, tattoo it somewhere, just make sure you’ve got it committed to memory.

Why?  Let me tell you…

Urban Decay Naked Skin Ultra Definition Pressed Finishing Powder, or UDNSUDPfsfjdkjfksdlfjdklsjfdls…. as I like to call it for short, is marketed as a lightweight finishing powder that blends flawlessly and works to set makeup and cut shine. It promises to deliver a luminous, demi-matte finish and feel invisible on the skin.

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The compact is housed in this rather natty purple-swathed pouch, good for keeping scratches off the compact if you’re like me and usually have a powder compact tucked into your handbag.  Finishing powders are a must in my book… my eternal favourites come from Clarins which are lightweight, beautifully presented, and keep the oilies at bay across my t-zone.  How would Urban Decay’s offering live up to an extremely high benchmark?

Well, pretty well actually… let me elaborate…

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In true Urban Decay style, the packaging manages to please.  It blends dirty pewter with a high shine finish that gives it a true “Urban Decay” juxtaposition of glamour and grime… inside, there’s a large square mirror and two compartments… one that houses the powder, and another underneath for the sponge.

The sponge?  Uh oh… I did away with sponges for powders back in the 90s.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to make of this method of application.  Not that you’re forced to use a sponge, I mean, Urban Decay don’t have the sponge police hiding down dark alleyways ready to pounce as soon as you get your brushes out, but still… if there’s a sponge taking up half of my compact space, I’m gonna damn well use it.

I forced myself to remember that this wasn’t 1999 and I wasn’t reaching for a Max Factor wet n’ dry powder foundation, soaking the sponge under the tap before smearing greasy powder all over my face.  No, this is 2013 (I had to check then) and things are now far more refined.  I’ve even managed to kick my Hooch habit (although damn the booze industry for bringing them back!)

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As promised, UDNSUDPjfkdsjlkk provides a super-lightweight finish over an already made-up face.  This isn’t going to amp up your coverage, something that I was a little worried about it doing… it also doesn’t dull the complexion too much either.  It’s definitely not luminous like my Clarins face powders, so if you’re looking for a light-reflecting finishing powder, this one isn’t for you but it does provide a not-too-deadened look.  I’d say it’s great for normal/combination skintypes and probably super-efficient for oilier types too thanks to the matte finish.

It’s available in a total of five shades, I’ve got the lightest here: Naked Light.  You can see it better for tone against my fingertip below but honestly, this is such a lightweight powder that unless you go wayyyy out of your shade spectrum, you’re not going to have major problems achieving a colour match although darker skin tones should always be aware of the risk of looking ashen with finishing powders.

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As far as application goes, I press the sponge onto the powder with a little flick at the end… it always makes me smile when I see people grinding sponges into powder products like they’re digging for gold.  Would you like some sponge with your powder madam?  You can always go back for more… don’t be greedy!  Once on the sponge, I roll the product onto my face… always starting in the oiliest areas, which on me are the usual t-zone culprits.

This method ensures that I don’t disturb any of my meticulously *cough* applied makeup underneath and displaces shine for a good few hours.  I’m not gonna say it lasts all day, on me… it doesn’t.  But I get a good 4/5 hours before I need another touch up.

Do I prefer it to my Clarins finishing powders?  No.  But that’s because I love me a bit of luminosity, and this just ain’t luminous but in fairness, it isn’t supposed to be!  Matte lovers, go forth and swarm your UD counter to try it out for yourself.

Urban Decay Naked Skin Ultra Definition Pressed Finishing Powder is priced at £22 and available on counter and online at beautybay.com, lookfantastic.com

* press sample

Urban Decay Autumn 2013 Nail Colour – Vice

Posted by Lipglossiping On August - 5 - 2013

Have I told you before that Urban Decay were one of the first brands that made me sit up and take a proper interest in nail polish? Remember some of those early polishes… I still have a bottle of Cult and O somewhere, such a gorgeous pink!

Anyway, reminiscing aside… Urban Decay have been lightly dabbling with the (re)creation of nail polishes via some lovely mini-sets these past few years but this Autumn sees the return of full-size bottles.

Well, I say Autumn… they’re actually live on BeautyBay.com and the Debenhams website as I type.  The brand will be looking to release two limited edition shades each season, and I’ve got one of Autumn’s offerings on the blog today for your swatch-swooning pleasure!

Urban Decay Autumn 2013 Nail Polish Vice Purple (2)

Vice, one of the two limited edition shades available with their skull-topped bottles, is a rich purple with a not-so-hidden red/blue shimmer.  It’s not as duochrome as the stock images might have you believe but it is a deeply sexy royal purple with that inner glow of gorgeousness that darkens at the edges.  I’ve included a macro shot below to give you a better idea of how the polish reflects the light.

Urban Decay Autumn 2013 Nail Polish Vice Purple

The 3-three formula is bloody faultless, practically a one coater though I always do two when my nails are under swatch-scrutiny!  The polish glides on smoothly and dries quickly to a high shine, I’m not wearing a top coat in the above pictures.

If you’re in the market for a stunning purple, you’d be hard pushed to find better on the market at the moment.

Urban Decay Nail Colour in Vice is priced at £10 and available to buy online from beautybay.com and instore/online at debenhams.com

* press sample

Five head-turning pinks to get your lips looked at!

Posted by Lipglossiping On July - 4 - 2013

A makeup artist once told me that straight men don’t like bold lips. They can feel intimidated by a statement colour and don’t consider these women as “kissable” as their smoky-eyed/nude-lipped counterparts.

Just as well I don’t give a shit then, isn’t it?

Five head-turning pinks to get your lips looked at!

Here are five of my most retina-searingly, beautiful pink lipsticks and you’ll be delighted (or at least, you should be, I engineered it this way!) to hear that they’re all under £20.  As much as I do love my Tom Ford Pure Pink, you can get some raging pigment for much, much less moneh.

01: Boots Seventeen Lasting Fix Lipstick in Pink Power

This is my latest pink acquisition and I’ve been reliably informed that it’s a dupe for MAC’s legendary Girl About town.  I won’t “review” it because I’m posting a FOTD with it later… suffice to say, for under a fiver… it’s a bit of a bargain bright! (£4.29, boots.com)

02: Wet n’ Wild Mega Last Lipstick in Don’t Blink Pink

An eBay purchase from last year, this staggeringly intense pink is almost neon and definitely leans a little warmer than the rest, making it quite an unusual shade.  Most of these bright pinks can often be mistaken for fuchsia, so it’s nice to see one that’s a little bit different.  You can see it in a FOTD, here. (£2.80 not inc. shipping, ebay.co.uk)

03: BarryM Lip Paint in #145 Punky Pink

This is another apparent Girl About Town dupe (what is it with that shade!) though I think it’s a wee bit more cherry-toned, slightly deeper than the MAC offering.  A hair more expensive than the Seventeen lipstick but still under a fiver, you can’t go wrong! (£4.49, barrym.com)

04: BarryM Lip Paint in #146 Dolly Pink

Now, I have to admit… I don’t wear this one a huge amount, mostly because it’s one of those lipsticks that like to wear you.  Dolly Pink is a candy-fest that just about has enough depth to keep it a little more classy (haters gonna hate) than the Nicki Minaj, Gaga, shitty pinks that look like you’ve ground a piece of chalk into your lips.  This is as blue-pink as I can go without looking like a revolting caricature of myself.  I’ve even binned MAC Snob. (£4.49, barrym.com)

05. Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Intense #36 Satin Fuchsia

The most expensive of the bunch but a truly pretty fuchsia that lasts and lasts.  This MUFE offering is part of a huge range that of lipsticks that make me wish I lived closer to a stockist for some serious swatching.  It’s a very clean, bright pink that whitens the teeth and makes the eyes sparkle.  Not a bad makeover for less than twenty quid. (£16.95, gurumakeupemporium.com)

 

What do you think of my “do not adjust your set” selection of pink lipsticks?  Am I missing any of your favourites?  Let me know in the comments!

YSL Baby Doll Mascara in Black (review and comparison)

Posted by Lipglossiping On June - 13 - 2013

You know, I’ve been “pretty” faithful to my true mascara love since I fell head-over-heels in love with it a couple of years ago.  I say “pretty” faithful (complete with irritating quotation marks) because it’s fair to say that I do throw a tantrum every now and then when it dries up too quickly.

I mean, when you find something that works in the makeup world… the heavens generally open and angels throw down rose-scented petals in celebration, it’s kind of a big thing.  I’ve since toyed with a few high street alternatives (mostly from Boots No7) that I quite like… but I do find myself returning to my original love for my lashes-that-flutter fix.

Except, there’s a new contender in town and she’s all gold n’ shiny n’ stuff.

YSL Baby Doll Mascara Review

Actually, I don’t like the limited-edition packaging.  I don’t like the word “Baby Doll” either… especially when used in the context of makeup and allluring lashes, whilst being scrawled in a Jordan-esque style font across the packaging of a brand that generally represents more class than that.  But maybe that’s just me…

What I do like, however… is the fan-bloody-tastic contents inside the tube.  But let me tell you a little bit about why I like this mascara and what it delivers that places this one firmly in the same camp as most of my other mascara-loves.

YSL Baby Doll Mascara Review3

The thing that this mascara has in common with my other top-3 mascaras is the wand.  They all share the same plastic-bristled heads.  In all honesty, this is something that I’ve only recently noticed… and I’m thoroughly delighted to have found a common factor.  Any excuse to pee my pants in excitement at a mascara wand can only be a good thing… but seriously, it’s always nice for a bit of tangible vindication when you find an obvious similarity to an otherwise, rather abstract love.

I find that this type of brush delivers a lengthening formula that defines and coats beautifully in a single sweep.  It works really well on my naturally long but fair lashes that look like little wisps of nothingness when bare.  If you have the kind of short, stubby lash that needs a good few coats of product or you really dig the spidery look… this one may not be for you.

The beauty of a plastic-bristled wand is in its ability to comb through the lashes and give great definition which really makes the most of each and every lash… obviously something which is generally more appreciated by those of us with a good lash count to begin with.  I do wish that this wand had a couple of bristles on the very tip to help reach the inner/outermost corners with precision but otherwise, I’m really happy with the design.

YSL Baby Doll Mascara Review2

The formula is inky black and a great consistency to deliver an even coat whilst drying to a non-crispy finish that doesn’t flake, smudge or migrate to my eyelid hood as the day progresses.

The only downside?  The price.  An eye-watering £24.50 makes this an expensive choice for anyone except the most die-hard of mascara freaks (I know you’re out there).  YSL mascaras also have a bit of a reputation for drying out sooner rather than later, though in fairness… it’s too early for me to comment on this one’s longevity.

All in all, a bloody great mascara with a horrible price.  If you can stomach the price-tag and like a bit o’ bling, buy it… otherwise, give the Boots No7 Exceptional Definition Mascara a try for a more purse-friendly £11.00

YSL Baby Doll Mascara is available to buy instore on counter or online from yslbeauty.co.uk priced at £24.50

* press sample

Doubling up with YSL Rose Baby Doll Eyeliner

Posted by Lipglossiping On June - 4 - 2013

I do love a bit of eyeliner, I mean… it’s only taken me approximately 15 years to get the hang of applying it, so I feel entirely justified in my urge to play around with it a bit.

Enter YSL’s latest release in the form of their Rose Baby Doll Eyeliner, launched as part of their Baby Doll collection and currently on counters now.  Rose Baby Doll isn’t actually as pink as the name might have you believe. It’s a rosy-copper shade with more shine than a new penny and works really nicely on green eyes. Even if I do say so myself!

It applies with one of those spindly, super-fine brushes that gives utmost precision but tends to get tangled up in my lashes, resulting in an ocassional “splodge” of colour just where I didn’t want it as the brush flicks back, untangling itself as it sweeps across the lashline.

I will always prefer felt-tip style nibs for liquid eyeliner but when you’re crafting colour with as much shimmer and depth as this one delivers, this is the only style of brush that really cuts the mustard.

YSL-Baby-Doll-Collection-Rose-Eyeliner-16

YSL-Baby-Doll-Collection-Rose-Eyeliner-16-brush

Whenever I wear a coloured eyeliner, I almost always pair it with a black line… doubling up, so to speak.  My eyes need the added definition that a slick of black brings, and I love the contrast which almost always evokes a compliment from someone at some point through the day.  Not about me, just my eyeliner you understand!

I often find that with this style of highly-foiled eyeliner, I suffer from flaking.  Illamasqua Precision Inks, Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid (some of them), and the old-style Guerlain Divinoras do this to me and by the end of the day, I’ll look into the mirror and see chasms of emptiness across my lashline where the coloured liner has simply peeled off in sections as the day has progressed.

Which makes me rather pleased to state that I had absolutely no problems with this one.  Infact, it lasted so well… that even the flicks were still intact 8 hours later.

YSL-Baby-Doll-Collection-Rose-Eyeliner-16-FOTD

YSL-Baby-Doll-Collection-Rose-Eyeliner-16-FOTD2

This particular shade is selling out fast, and is already out of stock at many of the major retailers so if you want to jump on the rose-gold eyeliner bandwagon, do it quickly!

Do you wear coloured eyeliner?

YSL Rose Baby Doll Eyeliner is available to buy on counter and online now, priced at £24.00

* press sample

Four the love of violets!

Posted by Lipglossiping On May - 24 - 2013

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

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

violet fragrances

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

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

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

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

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

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

violet fragrances

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

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

violet fragrances

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

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

violet fragrances

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

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

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

* press sample

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