Clinique Cheek Pops Review & Swatches

Posted by Lipglossiping On April - 7 - 2014

When I first read about the innovative formulation of these delightful new blushers from Clinique, I was naturally a little sceptical.  I mean, most new releases nowadays claim to go beyond the realms of technology in a quest to deliver cosmetics that are like nothing you’ve ever used before.  That’s standard industry bullshit and we all know it.

The thing is though, I actually do believe that Estée Lauder Companies, Inc may indeed have robbed some faraway land of their makeup pixies…

First of all, Estee Lauder come out with the most brilliantly formulated lipsticks I’ve tried in a while, now swiftly followed by Clinique’s rather wondrous new Cheek Pops.  But what exactly is so marvellous about them?  Read on and I’ll tell you…

Clinique-Cheek-Pop-Blusher

Clinique-Cheek-Pops

Clinique-Cheek-Pops-Group-Shot

Clinique-Cheek-Pop-Blush-Detail

To begin with, they look bloody incredible, don’t they?  The fine detail in the gerbera daisy design is exquisite.  Completely frivolous and by-the-by, of course… but when has such kerb appeal ever been a bad thing?

The powder texture has an unusual quality… most definitely a powder in formula but in application?  Much more like a cream or gel finish.  It’s translucent and utterly buildable.  Pale girls rejoice, the Clinique team have created a wonderful balance between ethereal and pigmentation.

The depth of colour that you apply to your cheeks is very controllable.  I suffer from the horrors of one swipe with the brush often being too much once applied to my face, for these…. I can comfortably layer on a single swipe and then return to the pan for a second dusting over the apple of my cheek.  It’s a rare joy.

Clinique-Cheek-Pop-Swatches-Plum-Ginger-Berry-Peach

Even the swatches above show the rather lovely translucent nature of the pigmentation, they’re sheer but not lacking in oomph.  You can visually appreciate the quality and luminosity of the skin below the swatch which gives a far more natural and realistic blush effect once on the cheeks than most powder blushers can even dream of achieving.

The four shades available range from the candy-inspired to the more natural warmth.  My personal favourite is the cool-toned and punchy Plum Pop which carries a subtle river of silver iridescence.  Lasting power on these varies a little… the brighter shades generally offer a bit more of a stain-effect that is still present in the evening, while the more subtle and neutral Ginger Pop has disappeared from my cheeks by bedtime.

Clinique’s Cheek Pops are priced at £16.50 and available to purchase now on counter and online from clinique.co.uk

* press sample

if you liked this post, please don’t forget to check out my subscriber options, here


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

* press samples

if you liked this post, please don’t forget to check out my subscriber options, here

One of the best beauty innovations in recent times was when bareMinerals finally made their sifters, lockable.  It was a game-changer… no more loose minerals floating around on the wrong side of the pot, no more having to poke selectively through the labels with a biro, exposing only a few sifter-holes at a time. Simply genius.

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about the latest innovation coming from bareMinerals HQ.

bareMinerals 15th Anniversary Mineral Veil Finishing Powder Applicator

The brand’s Limited Edition 15th Anniversary Mineral Veil Finishing Powder looks the damn business, let’s be honest.  It’s basically a cross between a gadget and a beauty-item and you can’t tell me that you beauty-loving souls don’t love a bit of gadgetry with your cosmetics, ‘cos I know you do!

The 8g of Mineral Veil powder is housed in one end of the revolving “clam shell”, while at the other… a soft brush dispenses the product onto your face, blurring imperfections and giving your skin a final gloss.  Now, whilst the product does all of those lovely things (I’m a long-time fan), unfortunately the limited edition dispenser doesn’t really add much to the experience.

bareMinerals 15th Anniversary Mineral Veil Finishing Powder Applicator 2

bareMinerals 15th Anniversary Mineral Veil Finishing Powder Applicator 3

First things first, it’s not refillable.  There seems to be some confusion online about whether or not you can top-up the contents once they’ve run out.  You can’t.  This is a one-off novelty purchase, and this irks me a little.  Ok, a lot.  What if I’d fallen in love with it only to discover that my product-lust was subject to a time-limit?

Secondly, it takes a lot of effort to get the powder to distribute through the brush evenly.  During normal use, you’d just dip your brush into the sifter to coat the tips with a fine layer of powder.  With this gadget, you’re working from the opposite end of those brush fibres and the powder needs to work its way down to the tips from the base.  The dispenser is only able to flow product from two holes at either end of the brush (shown above where the two pink “plugs” are located).

My experience over the last few weeks has shown that nine-times-out-of-ten, I just don’t get an even distribution of product across the brush head.  It’s not unusable but it’s definitely a step down from the usual application method.

bare-escentuals

Not to put an entire downer on the product, I truly can’t deny that it’s really convenient for travel and I haven’t discovered any spillages or leaks in my handbag.  The dispenser locks securely when not in use and it is a pretty neat solution for taking down the shine on a midday face.

Ultimately, it’s a great idea but it needs fine-tuning… I’d love to see this product return as a permanent (refillable) item after a little product development.

The bareMinerals Limited Edition 15th Anniversary Mineral Veil Finishing Powder will be available from next month instore in bareMinerals boutiques, on the website, and at Boots, priced at £22.00

* press sample

if you liked this post, please don’t forget to check out my subscriber options, here

Burberry Fresh Glow Fluid Base in 01 Nude Radiance

Posted by Lipglossiping On March - 19 - 2014

Most people are familiar with the practice of prepping oily skin before applying foundation but less is said about those of us with dehydrated or dull complexions.  Many, many paragraphs are given over to the subject of tailoring skincare to battle dehydrated skin… but what about makeup application?

Just as someone with oily skin can’t go slapping their base product onto a freshly moisturised face without thought of how their foundation will look in 3hrs time, I have to take care to prep my skin in advance of foundation application.  If I don’t, my skin will simply look tired, a little crepey, and incredibly dull within hours.

Once I’ve moisturised and primed with a moisturising primer, I always add some radiance to my foundations.  Wearing so many layers of product means that I have to give consideration as to how they work together, they have to be compatible and finickity products are always the first to find themselves in the reject pile.

Burberry Fresh Glow Base Fluid 01

One of my favourite methods of customising a foundation to suit my dehydrated skin involves giving it a little boost of radiance, usually in the form of a liquid luminizer that I can mix directly into the foundation.  The one I’m currently using is a purchase from last year, the Burberry Fresh Glow Fluid Base in 01 Nude Radiance.  I’ll be honest, I made a mistake… I actually bought this thinking that it was a foundation… albeit a sheer one.  Doh!

It’s not, it’s definitely a luminizer.  Unless you have the most perfect skin in the world, you’ll need something applied over this to provide a bit of a backbone if you want it to even-out your skintone.

Burberry Fresh Glow Base Fluid 01 3

You’ll never need more than one pump-per-application, so its 30ml packaging size is going to last you a fairly long while, which is just as well… being Burberry after all, it’s not the cheapest makeup purchase I made last year.  I take great solace from the fact that I generally tend to get on really well with high-street (priced) foundations though, so a little splurge here and there on a different kind of base product won’t do me too much harm.

To use it, I simply pump a single “splodge” (technical term, obv.) on the back of my hand before pumping my required amount of foundation ontop.  At the moment, I’m very much in favour of using my hands to apply my foundation, so I’m happy to mix the mess up on the back of my hand with a clean finger before spreading the product onto my face.  It’s a fuss-free method of application and I find that the warmth transferred from my fingers works well for spreading product smoothly over my dry skin.

Burberry Fresh Glow Base Fluid 01 2

The radiance boost that the Burberry Fresh Glow Fluid Base delivers is subtle but effective.  It doesn’t leave obvious shimmering particles on my skin, not that I’ve anything against more in-yer-face luminizers – I loves ‘em, but sometimes they’re not wholly appropriate.  The Nude Radiance shade is a neutral-toned champagne that would suit many, many skintones… I’d always check before buying but in my opinion, it’s far too translucent to appear ashy, particularly as it will be so heavily influenced by the foundation shade you mix it with.

Burberry Fresh Glow Base Fluid 01 4

For me, mixing a luminizer into my foundation is a step in my makeup routine that I wouldn’t be without.  It allows me to get more use from the many, many foundations I’ve purchased that haven’t been “quite right” for my skintype.  It keeps my skin looking fresher and more radiant as the day progresses without having to over-moisturise and risk having it slide from my t-zone by lunchtime.

Of course, sometimes I’ll follow up this radiance-boosting step with a little powder highlighter also… though I mostly only bother if it’s something very subtle or I’m going out in the evening.

Burberry Fresh Glow Fluid Base in 01 Nude Radiance is priced at £34.00 and available to buy on Burberry counters nationwide and online from John Lewis.

if you liked this post, please don’t forget to check out my subscriber options, here

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?

* press sample

if you liked this post, please don’t forget to check out my subscriber options, here

Benefit Gimme Brow Review

Posted by Lipglossiping On March - 12 - 2014

I simply cannot over-stress the importance of amazing eyebrows.

Well err, scratch that because obviously I could… I could suggest that they were more important than something like world peace or the need for a Krispy Kreme stand on every corner.  But what I’m trying to explain, dear reader, is that I do place an emphasis on how my brows look.  Mostly because, without intervention, they’re an embarrassment to my face.  The saddest thing about this, is that my eyebrows, despite all this extra attention (I spend more money over the course of a year on my eyebrows than I do my hair), are still not amazing.

I have been cursed with the worst affliction that any brow-wearer could suffer from.  Curly eyebrows.  My threader always has a little giggle to herself (she thinks I don’t notice) when she gets the scissors out.  I try and make light of the situation by suggesting that she might have better luck with a pair of straighteners, but then her wry smiles turn to a look of pity, so I shut up and let her get on with it.

Benefit Gimme Brow

Benefit’s Gimme Brow* promises to be an all-in-one solution for badly-behaved brows, delivering a natural-looking finish and a long-lasting hold.  It’s a gel formula, packed with tiny fibres that adhere to both skin and hair to help fill in any bald spots and volumise (yes, volumise!) the brows you already have.  Imagine the brand trying to sell this back in the days when “big” lady brows were frowned-upon!

My biggest bug-bear with this product is a usual Benefit complaint.  You’ll leave the counter feeling much, much lighter of pocket… and for not a lot of product.  Infact, you get just 3.0g of product for your £17.50 outlay and when you’re dealing with something that you need to “build up” for maximum effect, and will most likely be using daily… I really think that Gimme Brow will quickly become a rather expensive addition to your beauty routine.

Benefit Gimme Brow 1

The wand inside the tube reminds me of those bottom-lash mascara wands… it’s very, very small and very, very tapered.  It’s been nicely designed to allow for precision application but I still find it a little too big for my few straggly hairs at the outer tips of my brows.  I did read someone say that they wished the wands were bigger, to cover a greater area with more speed… I’m just LOL’ing to myself at just how big this person’s brows must be!  Spare a thought for us with spindly face slugs, love!

Benefit Gimme Brow 2

Benefit Gimme Brow is available to purchase in two shades: Light/Medium and Medium/Deep – not only is Light/Medium obviously the paler of the two, but it looks a little warmer also…

Benefit Gimme Brow 3

I’ve included a before/after shot below.  This is how I use the product, though I’m aware that some have taken the “adhere to skin” advice quite literally and have used the product to *really* fill in the brows, as one would with a pencil or a shadow.  I can’t quite bring myself to do this with Gimme Brow, I’ve tried… but I just don’t like how it looks.  Perhaps if my brows were shorter, but I struggle to keep it looking natural once I start painting my skin with the product.

The best side-effect I’ve noticed with Benefit’s Gimme Brow (and I’m using the Medium/Deep shade in the photos below) is its ability to transform my two white eyebrow hairs into naturally-coloured versions of their neighbours.  Thank christ for that, I’ve never been so horrified to discover a white hair since… well… since I discovered one somewhere else you really don’t want to discover one.  Other than that, although I do like it for its ease-of-use and convenience (it’s a lot less faff than a pencil or a powder)… I’m not sure I’m in love with it, especially at its current price.

My biggest problem is that it just doesn’t seem to have a huge amount of staying power… and if I’m gonna ditch the powder for an all-in-one brow solution, I really need that perk.

benefit-gimme-brow-before-after

If you’re in need of some serious eyebrow SOS, now would be a great time to head down to the Benefit counter at your local Debenhams store.  The brand are partnering with cancer charity Look Good Feel Better for the month of March and are offering a complimentary brow arch service (worth £11.50) for a requested minimum donation of £5, with all proceeds going directly to the charity.

Benefit Gimme Brow is priced at £17.50 and available to buy instore at Benefit counters nationwide and online at benefitcosmetics.co.uk

* press sample

if you liked this post, please don’t forget to check out my subscriber options, here

Suqqu SS14 Collection: Review, Swatches, and a FOTD

Posted by Lipglossiping On March - 10 - 2014

I’m not the world’s biggest Spring/Summer collections fan, I have the kind of complexion that needs contrast… it needs bold colour, the kind that you’re more likely to find in collections released toward the end of the year rather than the beginning.  That being said, I’m nothing if not a total sucker for palettes with a delicate amount of sparkle to brighten and highlight.

The Suqqu Spring/Summer 2014 Collection* is is my first experience of Suqqu’s colour makeup, it’s not a brand that’s stocked within 80-miles of where I live and when it comes to flying-visits to Selfridges in London, I’ve only ever peeked with curiosity at the much-lauded brush range that the Japanese brand are famous for producing.

It’s with this in mind that I’m approaching my post by placing more emphasis on the overall impression of the products, their textures… their longevity and blendability, than I am the colours that come and go depending on seasonal releases.  I hope this is ok, I’ve included plenty of photos to show this year’s Spring Summer shades but my curiosity was mostly centred-upon trying to work out for myself whether or not the legendary SUQQU quality lives up to my inflated expectations.

Suqqu SS14 Collection

The pieces I received* from the Suqqu SS14 Collection are shown in the photo above, from left to right: Smoothing Face Color, Sirakoucha EX05 Nail Polish, Mitsucha 15 Eyeshadow Quad, Usubeni EX-03 Creamy Glow Moist Lipstick, and Momoshuiro 01 Balancing Cheeks Blusher.

I’ll start by focusing on the Balancing Cheeks Blusher (£38.00) below, and will say outright that for me… it was my favourite item in the collection.

Suqqu SS14 Collection Balancing Cheeks Blusher

Suqqu SS14 Collection Balancing Cheeks Blusher Swatch

Looking at both the product in the pan, and the swatches on the back of my hand… I was sure that I’d struggle to get the colour to show up on my pale but prone-to-ruddiness cheeks.  I was wrong.  When I’m reviewing something that may end up in someone spending £38 on a blusher, you can be sure that I take my responsibility seriously… and that extends to doing something I might not ordinarily do.  I used the cheek brush that comes with the product.  Interestingly, so should you.

The textures of the blushers are incredibly soft and they kick up a lot of dust… the powder needs the touch of a whisper-light brush, and one is thankfully included in the pan.  Infact, despite owning some beautiful, and rather expensive blush brushes… the one that comes included with this duo is softer than anything else in my collection.  The colour glides on beautifully.  I ended up using the warmer and paler of the two shades in the traditional blusher “stripe” configuration before blending the slightly sparklier pink (pan on the right) into the apples of my cheeks and drawing upwards as you would use a highlighter.

Longevity is day-long.  I just can’t give any complaints about this product… except to say that it’s more money than I’ve ever spent on a blusher before and I’m just not sure I could bring myself to part with almost £40 for 4g of product.  If you could, then you should give the range a once-over on counter.

Suqqu SS14 Collection Mitsucha 15 Eyeshadow Palette

Suqqu SS14 Collection Mitsucha 15 Eyeshadow Palette Swatches

The next item under scrutiny is the Eyeshadow Quad, Mitsucha 15 (£45.00) - a warm-toned palette with an incredible luster and grown-up sparkle.  The depth of pigmentation is perfect here, no matter which shade my brush picked up… I felt that I had – as if by voodoo – managed to transfer just the right amount of product from pan to brush each and every time!  The only occasion I returned to the palette was at the end of my application just to add a little more of the gold (top left) shade to the centre of my lid after blending the crease.

SUQQU SS14 FOTD (3)

Overall, the shades in Mitsucha 15 wouldn’t be my first choice but this is a personal opinion on what suits me.  The texture, quality and luminosity delivered by the palette is second-to-none.  This is grown-up stuff for those of us who aren’t willing to give up on sparkle and highlight but appreciate that our eyelids are a little too mature for the same heavy glitters or metallics that we used to favour.

The formula reminds me a little of how the Clarins eyeshadows suit my personal tastes, but with an undeniable added refinement brought about by the fact that with no primer applied, these shades didn’t move a centimetre in over 9-hours of wear.  For the perfect quad of shades, I would be willing to part with the £45.00 required to get my hot little hands on the product.

SUQQU SS14 Nail Polish Sirakoucha EX05

I hope you don’t mind but I’ll be covering the SUQQU polish in another post, I’d just freshly painted my nails the day before taking these swatch shots and I couldn’t give up an hours-old manicure just yet!

SUQQU SS14 Smoothing Face Color (2)

SUQQU SS14 Smoothing Face Color

The Smoothing Face Color (£50.00) is an interesting concept, featuring a trio of shades that combine together to deliver a three-in-one solution to help beat complexion imperfections.  The white powder on the right contains green pearls to create a “photography reflector effect” diffusing light and blurring imperfections.  The larger, central beige powder is a finely-milled, non-pearlescent powder that helps create “smooth-looking skin without visible pores”.  Finally, the pinker shade on the left aims to correct uneven skintone and discoloration.

Ultimately, it doesn’t leave me tempted.  It’s a lovely, lightweight powder that delivers the “smoothing” finish it promises but I just couldn’t justify the price difference between this and some of my other luminosity-delivering finishing powders in my collection.  I’m already a huge fan of Guerlain’s meteorites range and Clarin’s regular releases of LE face powders (not the “blush” ones).

SUQQU SS14 Usubeni EX-03 Lipstick Creamy Glow Moist

The final piece from the SS14 collection I’m reviewing today is the Usubeni EX-03 Creamy Glow Moist Lipstick (£27.00) with its sheer, balm-like formula.  Again, this isn’t one that would tempt me into a purchase, I simply need more pigmentation than this lipstick provides, but if you’re a fan of balms and want a polished-look from a fuss-free formula that genuinely leaves lips feeling better conditioned at the end of the day… I’d make it another one to check out on counter.

And finally, a couple of shots showing how the products look once applied.  Combined, they achieve a Spring look that is understated but fresh and luminous.

SUQQU-SS14-FOTD

SUQQU-SS14-FOTD-(2)

I haven’t been disappointed by my introduction to Suqqu.  The quality is evident from the first touch… not just in the sleek packaging but in the high-tech textures and long-lasting formulas.  The introduction has made me question just how much of my own cash I’d be willing to part with to pay for the kind of quality that a range like this provides… and how much more discerning I’d force myself to be when faced with the prospect of spending £50 on a face powder.

Ultimately, it’s a range that is more than worthy of the hype that surrounds it, particularly when it comes to the kind of products that would benefit from technologically-advanced, lighter textures.  Next time I’m in London, I’ll be checking out the base products.

The Suqqu Spring/Summer 2014 range is available to buy on-counter in Selfridges and online at selfridges.com

* press samples

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!

* press sample

if you liked this post, please don’t forget to check out my subscriber options, here

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

if you liked this post, please don’t forget to check out my subscriber options, here

Sarah McNamara Miracle Skin Transformer Face SPF20 Spotlight

Posted by Lipglossiping On February - 24 - 2014

I don’t know about you, but whenever I hear about a new all-in-one face base, I get very hopeful at the thought of being able to shave minutes from my morning beauty routine… any opportunities to hit the snooze button in bed are precious to me and I welcome them with open arms.

Sarah McNamara is a lady that I’d never heard of before but her range is available to purchase in the UK via QVC and includes a variety of products based around the idea of one-step application products that are designed to “instantly transform your skin”.  Her hero product, and the one that launched the brand’s range is the original Miracle Skin Transformer SPF20 which has recently been flanked by the illuminating “Spotlight” version of the product, which I’ve been trialling over the past few weeks.

Sarah McNamara Miracle Skin Transformer Face Spotlight

Sarah McNamara Miracle Skin Transformer Face Spotlight 02

Sarah McNamara Miracle Skin Transformer Face Spotlight 06

Sarah McNamara Miracle Skin Transformer Face Spotlight 03

Sarah McNamara Miracle Skin Transformer Face Spotlight Swatches

The product claims to be a 5-in-1 skin enhancer to help hydrate, prime, illuminate and protect your skin.  My hormonal dryness is the bane of my life at the moment and I’m sticking to products that promise to brighten the dullness and provide coverage that I can amp up with concealer as needed.

On paper, the Miracle Skin Transformer Face SPF20 Spotlight should be exactly what I’m looking for… but can a suit-all product cope with my drier-than-normal complexion?

At this time of year, I’m not too concerned about SPF protection but in the Summer, I would be all over the SPF20 this product provides… my only caveat is whether you’re actually applying enough of it to achieve the rating stated on the bottle.

The formula is silicone-based with the traditional primer slip and glide.  It takes a reasonable amount of rubbing in to blend so I’d recommend applying it with your fingers rather than a brush, something I’m happy to do with a lighter base product.  The illumination is there in the form of a subtle and rather grown-up sparkle which you can hopefully detect in my swatch photo set above.

My biggest issue with this product is that it’s sadly just too dark for me.  The original Miracle Skin Transformer is available to purchase in a variety of shades but this Spotlight (illuminating) flanker is only available in the one shade.  It’s best suited to fair-medium skintones and if you’re any paler or darker than this, you’ll be limited to applying only a thin layer of product before it starts impacting on your natural skin colour.

Sadly, this isn’t the answer I’ve been looking for… it copes well with my dryness and doesn’t ball-up or migrate toward the drier patches but it’s just not the all-in-one solution I was hoping for.  Because of the shade, I can’t actually apply enough of the product to achieve any kind of even skintone without darkening my pale skin… so for me, it works purely a primer… and I already have plenty of illuminating primers that I’m happier with for my skin-type.

I’d have little hesitation in recommending this as being one of those products that would probably work fabulously on women without any real skin issues, I could imagine it being a great summer-holiday investment for fair/medium-skinned folk who are looking for a little sun protection and illumination without a foundation-heavy feeling on their skin.

Sarah McNamara Miracle Skin Transformer Face SPF20 Spotlight is available to buy online from qvcuk.com, currently priced at £26.88

* press sample

if you liked this post, please don’t forget to check out my subscriber options, here

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.

1-DSC_0063

1-DSC_0069

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.

1-DSC_0071

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.

1-DSC_0075

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

if you liked this post, please don’t forget to check out my subscriber options, here

February must be formula month, because I’m going gaga over some perfectly-created lipsticks.  Don’t get me wrong… I’m a sucker for some pretty packaging too and can be driven equally wild by a product based purely on it being the perfect shade but the perfect formula?  Well, like I said, it must be a month for it because not only did Clarins blow me away with their sheer (gerrit?) perfection earlir this month, it’s now Estee Lauder’s turn to get me all of a flutter with some incredibly-formulated, deeply-pigmented lip colours.

The new Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipsticks – launched just this month – feature a range of 20-shades that should particularly excite my fellow bold lip fans.  The collection promises to deliver saturated colour and continuous moisturisation with a formula that stays true for up to 6-hours.  Formulated with a new and exclusive Time Release Encapsulated Moisture Complex with Hyaluronic Acid, I’ve been rather impressed with the happy medium the brand have managed to capture between long-wear and comfort.

Have a little look at the two shades that I’ve got here… Tumultuous Pink and Red Ego…

Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick in Red Ego and Tumultuous Pink Review Swatch 01

Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick in Red Ego and Tumultuous Pink Review Swatch 02

First of all, the packaging is a bit of a departure from Estee Lauder’s classic heavy gold styling… these lipsticks are dressed in navy with gold accents.  The heavy-weight feel is still there but it’s a little more understated in design with that incredibly addictive magnetic closure that feels so satisfying to use.  Application is easy straight from the bullet but as with most bold shades, I prefer to tidy up the edges with a lip brush and the formula of these offers enough slip that I can achieve this easily with just a little extra product applied near the lip-line.

Talking of the formula, although creamy… it feels very light-weight for the amount of pigment it provides.  Infact, I almost want to describe them as being more like a rich gel formula, either way… you know when something just feels technologically advanced?  It’s like wearing an old skool Rouge Volupte without any of the weight or inconvenience of migration/feathering.

Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick in Red Ego and Tumultuous Pink Review Swatch 03

The swatches above show two swipes taken directly from the bullet, you can see the shine and the depth of pigment that the two shades – Tumultuous Pink and Red Ego – provide.  Upon fading, they leave a stain which makes them perfect for blotting if you’re not keen on a high-shine lipstick.  I tend to blot Red Ego once but leave Tumultuous Pink just as it applies, it’s a personal preference.

I’ve included shots below of both lipsticks worn on the lips, the pink leans a little more fuchsia on my lips than I expected from the bullet and the hand-swatch but I’d imagine that this may not be quite so apparent on a warmer skintone.  From the shade range on offer, Dominant looks to be a bluer-pink (or possibly just a little lighter) than Tumultuous PinkDefinitely worth swatching on counter first though to get your perfect pink match!

Red Ego is simply a dream.  Shade-wise, it’s my perfect red… rich and dark with just enough of a berry hint to complement a cooler skin-tone.  It looks darker in the bullet than it does on the lips, especially when blotted, but it still retains the kind of richness that your standard pillar-box red just can’t deliver.

Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick in Red Ego and Tumultuous Pink Review Swatch 04

Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick in Red Ego and Tumultuous Pink Review Swatch 05

The Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipsticks are available to purchase on counter and online from esteelauder.co.uk now, in a range of 20-shades (+ one online exclusive), priced at £24.00 each.

* press sample

if you liked this post, please don’t forget to check out my subscriber options, here

RANDOM

Butter London Fiver NOTD

Seeing as it’s blatantly not Summer anymore – the rain hammering at my windows is testament to this – I thought I’d show you a …

We have a winner (that was quick!)

You’re all far too nerdy!  Put those makeup brushes down and go get some fresh air! Well done to Nina who correctly guessed Ben Nye …

Red Lip Series: Rimmel Kate Moss Matte Lipstick #107 (Wine)

Wine is totally the new red. Or has it always been red?  Either way, in terms of the shade that’s been taking over my collection …

The Lipstick League – Week of 13.2.12

Question of the Week: – What’s currently at the top of your beauty lemming list? Answer: At the tip top of the lemming list right …

The Lipstick League – Week of 04.06.2012

Question of the Week: – How do you keep track of the beauty blogs you read? Do you use an RSS reader, bookmarks, GFC, Bloglovin’ …

L’Artisan Parfumeur La Chasse Aux Papillons

A few weeks ago I treated myself to a new L’Artisan Parfumeur fragrance and I was completely torn between the fruity Mure et Musc and …

HD Brows Baby!

This is a wordy one, consider yourselves pre-warned! I spent last Thursday evening in a mild state of panic at the thought of what I …

Anti-Ageing Muffins... For Reals.

Blueberries. Not only are they Leila’s favourite fruit but they make amazing muffins and considering that of ALL fresh fruits, the humble Blueberry has the …

NOTD - Jessica Nails Black Ice

Introducing the Stumpsters!  My new look teeny weeny fingernails! The fabulous LionLovingTiger brought it to my attention that every cloud has a silver lining and …

Diamond Cosmetics - Oh Tiff! NOTD

I’m such a dumbass, it took me ages to get the Oh Tiff reference! Oh Tiff! is a beautiful “Tiffany Blue”… at least as close …

POPULAR

CLOSED: Competition Time: Givenchy Very Irresistible L'eau en Rose Perfume!

Want to really spoil Mum this Mother’s Day?  Or perhaps you just want to spoil yourself?  It’s ok… I won’t judge… there are plenty of …

CLOSED - Win it! The Body Shop Expert Brush Collection

I don’t know about you, but I woke up this morning with a distinct “Hello Monday morning, I’ve been expecting you…” kinda feeling.  Maybe it’s …

Win a gorgeous "glow" trio with prizes from Urban Decay, New CID, & Arbonne!

COMPETITION NOW CLOSED! WINNER IS: “IZABELLA” (COMMENT #96045) – WINNER HAS BEEN EMAILED!   It’s still January, the MET office have just issued yet another …

Hello? Is this thing on?

Phew, that was a little unexpected. For those of you who haven’t had the misfortune of reading my hand-wringing tweets and woe-ridden facebook updates, let …

Big savings on French Pharmacy brands, win my Escentual.com top picks!

I’m of the firm opinion that for the money, French pharmacy brands offer some of the best solutions for diffcult skin-types. Escentual.com have long been …

Win it! 3 EcoTools Bamboo Bronzer Brushes to win!

I’ve written about these before, you know I love them, I want you to love them too! So why not have a go at winning …

FOTD Busting out of the comfort zone!

You may recall my bitter moans last week about how when presented with a rare opportunity to spend an indecent amount of time playing with …

Dear Obesity...

We have been together for over 20 years, our lives so entwined that I’ve never been sure how to live without you.  I would like …

Urban Decay The Black Palette - Photos & Swatches

The soon-to-be-released Black Palette from US eyeshadow maestro’s Urban Decay is an altogether darker affair than the recent Naked set… The Black Palette includes 6, …

Urban Decay 15-Year Anniversary 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil Set

This here post be ALL about the pictures… The Packaging…

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Admin

  • Ads