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


Clinique CC Cream, all that and a bag of chips?

Posted by Lipglossiping On April - 16 - 2013

I’m engaged in a bit of a tempestuous relationship with Clinique’s new CC Cream*.  A turbulent love affair that swings from “YOU DO NOTHING FOR ME!”, to “HOW DID I EVER LIVE WITHOUT YOU?”  Unforunately for you dear reader, this may make for a somewhat confused review that I’m hoping will unravel itself by the end of the post, leaving me standing firmly on one side (or the other) of the fence.

First up, CC Creams… why would you need one?

Marketed as the industry’s answer to colour-correction, you should be interested in them if you suffer from a range of tonal issues.  Nose like a lush?  Hyperpigmentation like an ageing banana?  The CC Cream, in theory, should help to brighten, reduce dark spots, take out redness, reduce sallowness and act as your one-stop solution to anything that removes you from the “normal” range for skintones.  Of course, that’s not actually going to happen, not in the biblical sense at least… we’ve been around the block long enough to reduce our expectations somewhat when it comes to these kind of claims.

But still, it’s an interesting theory… particularly when you’re not expected to use these CC Creams as a stand-alone base product.  The CC Cream should be considered a primer, something that will prep your skintone in advance of your usual base product.  Except, that’s not actually the case here.  Bucking the trend, Clinique have released a CC Cream that contains enough pigment to actually act as your base product… oh, ok then.

Clinique CC Cream Review

Forming part of their established Moisture Surge range, the Clinique CC Cream promises to deliver oil-free hydration, colour-correction, and sun protection.  It comes in a total of six shades ranging from Very Light to Deep and contains a summer-appropriate broad spectrum SPF30.  For your money, you get a fairly generous 40ml of product… though priced at £28, it sits at the higher end of Clinique’s pricing for their base products – has anyone else noticed their recent price jumps?

Clinique CC Cream Review2

Application is a little tedious and best achieved (in my opinion) with clean fingers, a little at a time, working the product into the areas of the skin that need “correcting” before blending toward the edges of the face.  The thick texture requires you pay attention to ensure that your blending skills are up to par, I’m assuming that this is a side-effect of a higher SPF protection.  That being said, it’s a product that will happily accept a few layers over the areas that require a little more help.

The shade Very Light is well-suited to my skintone despite it looking somewhat peachy when initially dispensed from the tube.  I would say that instead of brightening my complexion, it actually dulls it a little.  It’s not a disaster, because I’m handy with a bit of highlighter… but still, it seems to take away radiance rather than inject it.

Clinique CC Cream Review3

Clinique CC Cream Review4

Clinique CC Cream Review5

So how does its colour-correcting capabilities perform?  Well, it certainly does “something” but I’m not convinced that it achieves it in a different way to any other light-coverage base product on the market.  In other words, I wouldn’t bat an eyelid if Clinique had called it something other than a CC Cream.  You know, maybe something breakthrough like “tinted moisturiser”… but as much as this irritates me, I can’t dismiss the product because it does fit in perfectly with my preferred summer makeup routine.

Even though it delivers too much blanket coverage for me to value it as anything other than yet-another-tinted-moisturiser-masquerading-as-something-new, my dehydrated skin bloody loves it.

Once applied, the gluey texture diminishes and leaves behind a velvety finish that feels comfortable on the skin without encouraging too much shine across my t-zone.  The level of sun protection means that I don’t feel too guilty about forgetting to apply a separate SPF underneath, particularly when I’m finishing off my base routine with a dusting of (SPF-rated) mineral foundation to achieve a more complete level of coverage.

Clinique CC Cream Review6

So, there you go.  I feel like I’m fence-sitting a little, despite my best intentions not to.  Incase you’re under any misconception, I’m calling bullshit on the CC Cream status because I’m not seeing anything that I wouldn’t get from a standard (good) tinted moisturiser.  The areas of my face that aren’t affected by diffused redness are displaying the same colour-correction as my red bits… it just doesn’t feel like they’re being cleverly targeted in a specific manner.

That being said, I like the product.  Go and get a sample from your nearest counter and try it on your face before deciding if it’s the kind of product that would fit in with your daily routine.  Certainly don’t judge it on a back-of-the-hand swatch like I did when it was first released, once applied to the face it’s a completely different animal and very kind to those of us with complicated moisture-concerns.

Clinique’s Moisture Surge CC Cream is priced at £28 for 40ml and available on counter and online from clinique.co.uk and johnlewis.com

* press sample

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer in Nude

Posted by Lipglossiping On February - 7 - 2013

I took the pictures for this review before Christmas, in-case you’re wondering why my hair has changed colour again.  I’ve decided to review this now because I’m at the stage where I need to decide whether or not I’ll be repurchasing a tube, usually my reviews help me justify or dismiss potential repurchases and I’ve been umm-ing and ahh-ing ove this one!

The Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer has been a global phenomenon since the brand launched over 15 years ago, it’s a product that has satisfied the niche between barely-there and light coverage although personally, I’ve always viewed it as a sheer foundation rather than a tinted moisturiser.  So popular has it proven over the years, that it’s now available in four incarnations: the original tinted moisturizer, an oil-free version, an illuminating version, and most recently… a creme compact.

It promises a healthy “no makeup, makeup look”, which to be fair, is precisely what it delivers.  If you’re blessed with a reasonable complexion and don’t like the feeling of heavy foundation on your skin, you may have already fallen under this product’s spell.

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer

I’ve always loved the fuss-free packaging that belies its £33.00 price tag.  It says nothing about luxury yet everything about practicality and this tube has certainly seen better days after being thrown around inside weekend bags, handbags, and suitcases.  There’s no pump to fail and no wide neck to dispense too much product, it just works as it should.  You can tell that this has been borne from the brain of a working makeup artist.

Laura Mercier prides herself and her brand on a flawless skin approach, and boasts that this is their speciality.  Indeed, some of the brand’s most cult products focus precisely on skin-perfecting.  Refreshing, it’s not too often that a brand can actually live up to claims like this.

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer

I’ve already discussed the coverage, which I’d describe as that of a light foundation.  For my dry skin, the original formula works well for me… I can’t imagine really needing an extra luminosity that might be provided by the newer illuminating version of the tinted moisturiser and I’d rather not risk losing any wear time.  If you have oily skin, I’d definitely suggest checking out the oil-free version as an alternative to the original as this one certainly doesn’t mattify in any way and you may find yourself blotting fairly often.

My preferred way to apply this is either with my fingers, or if I have a little more time… a dampened sponge.  I usually break out my Beauty Blender for the job and enjoy the total control and buildability I get from this method.  You can see in the before/after below… the Nude shade is slightly too warm for my winter skintone but as this is something I tend to use in the Summer (it also contains a broad spectrum SPF20), you’ll have to trust that the tonal difference is much less noticeable once the sun has put in a few weeks appearance.

Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer lasts well enough throughout the day not to cause me any grumbles but does need setting with a translucent powder in warmer weather.  It’s a truly natural finish product with a little bit of a skin crutch for those of us with unevenness.  It won’t cover blemishes on its own, and neither is it expected to.

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer

Active Ingredients: Avobenzone (2.0%), Octinoxate (7.5%).
Other Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Peg-40 Castor Oil, Dimethicone, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Cyclomethicone, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Hexyl Laurate, Emu Oil (Dromiceius Oil), Tocopheryl Acetate, Cetyl Peg/Ppg-10/1 Dimethicone, Polysorbate 60, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Peg-15 Cocamine, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Allantoin, Carbomer, Aminomethyl Propanol, Methylparaben, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Sodium Ascorbate, Isopropylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben. May Contain (+/-): Ci 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Ci 77491, Ci 77492, Ci 77499 (Iron Oxides), Ci 77019 (Mica).

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer is available to buy on counter or online at uk.spacenk.com and urbanretreat.co.uk

As for whether I’ll repurchase?  Honestly, it’s probably a little too early in the year to consider it and I’m so tempted by her Creme Smooth foundation that I’ll probably leave it for now.

Are you a fan of the classic Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer?

YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat Foundation Review

Posted by Lipglossiping On February - 5 - 2013

I’ve been having a strange relationship with the YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat foundation over the past month.  To begin with, I loved it… then the snow came, my skin became drier and this love affair turned into a horror story.  But now… it’s coming good again.  Let me start at the beginning.

I bought this online from the YSL site just before Christmas and was more excited about this purchase than almost any other throughout the year.  All the reviews I’d read had described its ability to deliver a luminous, sheer finish that dry skintypes would adore.  Most reviewers marked it down a little on lasting power, but that didn’t bother me.  All in all, I figured that I’d found my perfect foundation.

I ordered BR10 the lightest “pink” shade, untested because there seemed to be a jump between the lightest and second lightest shades, in my mind, I was erring on the side of caution.  It’s actually a little too pale for me, I should have gone for the next shade up.  It looks ok in the before/after photo at the bottom of the post but it can look a little ghostly unless I work it in to the skin carefully, it just think it has the potential to look much better tone-wise, were it a hair darker.

YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat Foundation Review

So what’s right with it and what’s wrong with it?

Well firstly, it’s extremely faithful to its Touch Eclat concealer counterpart.  It does indeed add only a little coverage but a lot of luminosity, it’s actually quite an unusual formula for a foundation in this regard.  It doesn’t cover redness exceptionally well, neither does it cover blemishes (although it combines beautifully with concealer).  Despite this, it delivers a very natural uniformity across the face and it’s honestly quite hard for me to put my finger on just how it achieves this.  It’s one of those foundations that anyone with a normal skintype should adore, but the further away your skin is from the “normal”, the more problems I suspect you’ll encounter.

When I first started using the YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat Foundation, my skin was dry but not problematic, I kept it well-exfoliated and well-moisturised.  As January progressed, my skin became drier still, I developed the kind of dryness that forms patches where the texture would be markedly different… not quite flaky, but heading in that direction and boy, did this foundation show it.

YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat Foundation Review

The particularly odd and redeeming feature about this foundation however is in its ability to adapt and melt into your skin.  Without fail, each time I applied it… things would improve after around 15 minutes.  I hypothesised that perhaps I was missing a trick and should be using the warmth from my fingers to apply it and achieve a better initial result, but no… it still grumbled terribly about my dry patches, only to look remarkably less rubbish quarter of an hour later.

So really, this foundation is still a bit of an enigma to me.  I don’t mind that it doesn’t hold up so well down the bridge of my nose as the day progresses, although I’d imagine that oilier skintypes will be exceptionally bothered by this.  And I don’t mind that it doesn’t fully cover my redness on the sides of my nose and cheeks because a touch of loose powder and/or concealer really brings the coverage up to par.

I love the luminosity that it delivers, how lightweight it feels on my skin, and the way it melts into my skintone as time progresses, almost as if it’s self-adjusting.  I really hope that I love it even more when the weather warms up but I’m concerned that my shade mismatch will be the nail in the coffin for this bottle.

If you have a fairly normal skintype and you’re looking for a foundation that is a genuine “my skin but better” affair but with more refinement and coverage than a tinted moisturiser, you should be running to your local YSL counter.  Anyone else, please beg, steal or borrow a sample before splurging.  Also, make sure you ask the SA to shade match you, there are an amazing 22 shades from which you can choose.

Ingredients: Aqua/Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Clycerin, Dimethicone, Peg-10 Dimethicone, Sorbitol, Bis-PEG/PPG-14/14 Dimethicone, Dimethicone/Polyglycerin-3 Crosspolymer, Sodium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Disodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Ethylhexyl-Glycerin, Parfum, Aluminum Hydroxide, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Dipropylene Glycol, Isotridecyl Isononanoate, {+/- May Contain: CI 77891, CI 77492, CI 77499 / Iron Oxides, CI 77163 / Bismuth Oxychloride], (F.I.L. B50106/2)

YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat Foundation is available on counter and online, priced at £28 for 30ml

* I keep meaning to do some arm swatches of my current foundations with their shade names, just so you can see the shades I’m using at the moment… there may not be much in the way of words to accompany, but if I’ve reviewed it, I’ll link.  Sound useful?

Liz Earle Signature Foundation Review

Posted by Lipglossiping On November - 20 - 2012

When it comes to makeup, things can get pretty personal. One person’s dream product is another person’s nightmare and nowhere is this more keenly felt than when trialling a new foundation. Liz Earle’s long-awaited venture into the world of “proper” foundation comes in the form of the Liz Earle Signature Foundation. I’m glad that it wasn’t rushed out with the initial launch, the brand have obviously taken the time to create something that they’re happy represents their approach to cosmetics.

Liz Earle Signature Foundation

The classically-packaged foundation offers a heavyweight glass bottle with a well-designed pump, allowing complete control over how much product dispenses from the bottle. You only want half a pump? You got it. This obviously ensures no product wastage, and so it should because unlike most foundations, the Liz Earle Signature Foundation comes in a little under the average volume count at 25ml.

The silicone-rich formula offers a lightweight texture that skims over pores and primes the skin as it goes. As with similar formulas, I feel that a primer underneath makes wear a lot heavier and less comfortable than it should be. Having said that, the little pamphlet that comes in the box recommends using their Perfect Canvas primer underneath… but then, it would… wouldn’t it? It’s also worth noting that the Liz Earle Signature Foundation provides no sun-protection as part of its formula – and I don’t know about you but I’m not a massive fan of: moisturiser, sun protection, primer, foundation, makeup. That’s TOO much product for an everyday face. Personally, I’d skip the primer unless you have a real problem with your makeup sliding off by lunchtime.

Liz Earle Signature Foundation

The foundation comes in nine shades, ranging from Porcelain (which I have), through to Mocha (which promises to suit medium-dark Asian skintones). It’s obviously not the full spectrum, so hopefully the brand are working on increasing the palette next year. I usually opt for the 2nd lightest shade in a range because I favour a hint of warmth to counteract the redness in my skintone but in this case, the 2nd lightest (Ivory) would definitely prove too dark for me. Something to think about as I know that some of you consider yourselves to be paler than me.

I’m not a huge fan of the scent in this foundation, it reminds me a little of my old Dior foundations but thankfully, it doesn’t linger once it’s on the skin. I know that other reviewers have commented that they like the scent, so again, this is just another example of how personal an experience choosing a new foundation can be.

Liz Earle Signature Foundation

Liz Earle Signature Foundation applies well with both fingers and a brush. I’ve never been able to use paddle-style foundation brushes with much success, so you’ll have to make do with my experience at using a buffing-style brush, which I think provides a lighter, more natural, coverage. I’d agree with the brand that the texture is lightweight, it also strikes a nice balance between dewy and matte, though it becomes more matte as it sets on the skin. Ideally, you’d have a normal/combination skintype for this one – very dry skins may find it a little too matte to be completely comfortable in this weather. I’m dry/combination and I can just about get away with it…

Liz Earle Signature Foundation

You can see that coverage is pretty good, I’d describe it as a solid medium, leaning toward the full but without the weightiness that full-coverage provides. If anyone tries to tell you that this is a sheer/medium formula – you need to ask yourself what brand of polyfilla they usually use on their faces because this is about as full as I’d want to go without classing it as a “night out” foundation.

I didn’t find the foundation getting pernickity about being layered either, it let me go back for another pass around the centre of my face (with half a pump) and didn’t start clumping or creating any skin dramas but at the same time, I wouldn’t call it a “buildable” foundation either.

Liz Earle Signature Foundation

Some skin swatches on the inside of my wrist… look how blue I am! I think the shade variation between 01 and 02 is quite a jump… especially when compared to the variation between 02 and 03 – definitely try and get colour matched on counter for this one because I have a feeling that you’ll suffer from oxidisation and potential patchiness if you go too dark.

Liz Earle Signature Foundation

The picture above is a jawline swatch, stupidly in reverse order – sorry about that. You see the big leap between 01 and 02?

Longevity on my skin was fine, even without a primer it felt as though it held up admirably throughout the day and kept my redness toned down until the middle of the evening. Ultimately, I’ve been pretty happy with Liz Earle’s new Signature Foundation but I think I would have been a tiny bit happier with a little less matte-ness (totally a word). But then again, if you’re oilier than me – you should be chomping at the bit to get yourselves colour-matched on counter.

Liz Earle Signature Foundation is available to buy on counter, and online, priced at £21 for 25ml

* press sample

Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire eau de parfum

Posted by Lipglossiping On June - 8 - 2012

Life is full of essentials, and fashion’s most faithful of all ensembles is the inimitable little black dress.  Lauded as the holy grail wardrobe-dweller, the perfect LBD should be à la mode whilst appearing simultaneously timeless – a classic to accompany every occasion.  Ultimately, it should bestow the wearer with the confidence of a thousand catwalk models whilst proffering simplicity – the very essence of elegance.

Guerlain’s newest fragrance creation: La Petite Robe Noire*, is a nod to the ideals behind finding that ultimate pièce de résistance.  The concept of finding the fragrance equivalent of fashion’s most essential item isn’t all that unusual when you consider how fragrance is used to both bolster and uplift the spirit, polish one’s appearance, and suitably reflect our sensibilities.  Just like fashion, it can leave a lasting impression – so how does La Petite Robe Noire leave me feeling?

The bottle is indeed both simultaneously timeless and “of the now”, reminiscent of the Guerlain greats reflected in its silhouette – the bottle is a replica of those that house both Mitsouko and L’Heure Bleue.  The pretty illustration of the artists’ (Kuntzel+Deygas) interpretation of the perfect LBD (and let’s face it, it’s not far off!) grounds the flirtiness and sets the scene for what awaits inside.

A succulent cherry and frangipane tart immediately springs to mind, whetting the taste buds nicely with the almond notes arriving as a little surprise, flanking the reasonably well-anticipated fruitiness.  These give way to a classic heart of florals taking shape in the most feminine of forms, rose.  Bulgarian rose essence and candied Turkish rose absolute to be exact.  These middle notes reject the initial fruitiness, clinging instead to the almond and giving the perfume an edible but-not-quite gourmand appeal.  It feels strangely as though the notes (written down) should be offering something headier than my nose is experiencing and although this is absolutely a scent for evenings, it’s certainly not too boudoir.  The close is a little disappointing to me – touted to deliver shadowy temptations of liquorice and smoky black tea, I sense more of the classic Guerlinade accord of tonka bean and vanilla, and beautiful though it is – I’m longing for more of those promised shadowy temptations!

La Petite Robe Noire displays all the hallmarks of a best-selling fragrance.  It’s beautifully crafted, with a carefully-defined story to be found within.  From the moment you slip playfully into the attire, to the moment that the LBD is slipped from your shoulders and onto the bedroom floor, you are led through an evening of flirtation and romance, culminating in the classic Guerlain finale.

Don’t be fooled by the illustrations, which in my opinion, make this seem like a choice for a younger generation – there’s is plenty in here to appeal to all ages.  I recommend seeking this one out for a sniff when it sees a nationwide release from the 24th July.

La Petite Robe Noire EdP is available now at Selfridges, priced from £42.00

* press sample

Bobbi Brown Intensifying Long-Wear Mascara

Posted by Lipglossiping On May - 8 - 2012

In addition to the new long-wear cream shadows, and eye pencils which I talked about here, the Bobbi Brown Intensifying Long-Wear Mascara* is putting in an appearance and promising to deliver results that last for up to 16 hours.

It’s probably fair to say that when I think of long-lasting makeup, I’m not sure that I’ve ever cursed any of my mascaras for not lasting the course of a day?  Sure, some are more smudgy than others and then you have the ones that flake a little as the day goes on but I can’t remember ever looking in the mirror and thinking “awww crap, where’s me mascara gone?”.  Or maybe they just mean that it won’t flake or smudge… but then again, don’t they all promise that?

If you experience this kind of problem on a daily basis, then perhaps the Bobbi Brown Intensifying Long-Wear Mascara is your next dream come true?

The packaging is particularly sexy with a metallic-chocolate finish and sleek lines whilst the brush inside is teeny, tiny… and for me, its main USP.  This fabulous brush reaches every lash from the longest to the shortest.  The brush consistently pulls out the perfect amount of product and you can feel the packaging doing its job at sucking back in the excess as you pull the brush from the neck of the tube.  As a result, I can’t see this one drying out too quickly either.

You can see how narrow the brush is in the above photo, a really great shape for women with shorter, sparser lashes to define from root to tip.  I particularly like this mascara for my lower lashes, it separates nicely, fanning each one out without leaving clumps or excess product in its wake.  As for the top lashes, well… it’s not quite volumising, nor lengthening enough for me.  My lashes can take a hefty dose of product before they begin to look worse for wear and this doesn’t provide the lash-drama that I’m forever craving.

It does, however, provide a better-than-natural finish that you can build without too much protest.  As for longevity?  Yes, it lasts the day without smudging – well done.  I do see a couple of flakes if I apply more than two coats but nothing that I’d worry myself over.  Removal is easy with just warm water, though my cream cleanser (waterless cleansing) didn’t experience any issues with sweeping it away at the end of the day either.

Overall, I really recommend this mascara if you’re looking for a good, solid formula with a fabulous brush that helps create precision definition without missing a single lash.

Bobbi Brown Intensifying Long-Wear Mascara is available to buy on counter and online, priced at £18.00

* press sample

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* press samples

Clinique High Impact Curling Mascara

Posted by Lipglossiping On April - 22 - 2012

Finding the perfect mascara is much like finding the perfect killer heels.  You want something that makes your legs (lashes) look incredible without crippling the wearer.  Some mascaras sting, flake, smear, or generally flop halfway through the day.  The Clinique High Impact Curling Mascara* is a good choice for anyone who wants impressive lash scaffolding without too many side effects.

My lashes are naturally fairly curly and crave definition and impressive darkening to make the most of them.  Curling isn’t high on my list of priorities but even I could see how once this mascara sets, it holds a rock-solid shape throughout the day.

The brush is a curved affair, with a tapered tip to allow you to reach the tiniest of corner lashes.  It does offer good coverage with a single pass, which is just as well because the formula has a tendency to go a little spidery if you go back for too many coats.  I’d stick with two as a maximum.  The formula is a little wetter than some, so be aware of this when applying… I’m always a little heavy-handed which usually results in a couple of splodges of product on my eyelid when using wetter formulas.  Avoid this by removing any excess from the wand with a tissue, or wiping it against the edge of the tube opening.

The black is a true, inky black which coats my lashes evenly and offers great definition, curling and lengthening.  It also does well to volumise at the roots, but again… with the wetter formula, you do need to be precise here.  It’s a little bit ‘bitty’ as it builds, and these ‘bits’ will flake off throughout the day but it’s purely the excess which drops, so again, just take a little more care that you haven’t loaded your brush with too much product and you’ll avoid this.  Another issue is removal… you’ll need warm water to remove, so simply hold a wet flannel to your lashes momentarily and the formula will slide right off.  If you don’t?  This stuff is holding steady – making it a great choice for Summer holidays!  Basically, there’s a learning curve with this mascara that’s worth getting to grips with.

All in all, I think the Clinique High Impact Curling Mascara is a strong offering from the line.  It does what it says on the tube, and if you’re looking for supreme hold and curl with a long-lasting formula (albeit with a little work on your part to get the absolute best from it), you won’t go far wrong with this one.

Clinique High Impact Curling Mascara is available to buy on counter and online, priced at £16.00

* press sample

Finding a good hairdresser. Never give up.

Posted by Lipglossiping On April - 20 - 2012

I think I’ve cracked it.  It’s only taken me 30 years but I’m absolutely, definitely, completely (most-likely) going to return to the hairdresser I visited yesterday for a trim.  I was doing some shopping in town whilst Leila was on her first-ever play date *bites knuckles* and I dared myself to walk into the first hair salon I saw for a cut (I do shit like this to myself all the time – I think it’s a touch of OCD).

I did have some exceptions to that rule: no salons with the word “cuts” and “super” in the name, no salons with more children than adults in the chairs, and no salons which filled their windows with the products they would be blatantly hard-selling me thirty minutes later.

The first salon to cross my path was Trevor Mitchell on East Street.  From the outside, I wasn’t convinced, it was like the 1970s had met with a 1990s revival and gotten lost on the way to the nought-ies.  The inside wasn’t a whole lot better and I don’t like the name Trevor.  Still, I can’t deny that I wasn’t tempted by the offer of a £25.50 haircut on the price list.  I mean, I didn’t want anything too drastic… just a (good) trim and a fringe-reshape.  I shuddered at the thought of all the different ways the fringe-reshape could go horribly wrong.  I stepped inside anyway.

There isn’t much in the way of luxury going on at Trev’s place.  There are no cups of tea on offer and the dayglo gowns felt and looked like something I’d put on Leila to protect her from a Play-Doh attack.  Does anyone else get anxious about which way round you’re going to be asked to wear the gown?  Posh salons have ones that you put on like a coat and the rest make you wear them like a straight jacket right?

I’m not a big talker when someone is holding a pair of scissors centimetres from my ear, mostly because I’m fairly socially-retarded and tend to giggle inappropriately.  Thankfully, my stylist Kylie wasn’t much of a talker either – except for where it mattered.  I gave her free reign to chop off what she needed to restore health, tame the over-processing and neaten everything up.  Before she started cutting, she showed me the various lengths of my old layers and reassured me that she would leave it well-beyond the annoying ‘growing out’ length.

Admittedly, a basic trim isn’t the easiest thing in the world to mess up… but the scary bit was still to come.  The fringe.

Long story short, she cut it perfectly and not only that but she had my hair foibles sussed within seconds of looking at me.  Dodgy lick on one side of fringe = don’t touch it until it’s dried.  I went to one hairdresser in January who literally snipped in a straight line across my wet fringe… I had a puffy sticky up bit for weeks.  Traumatic.  She suggested that the outer edges needed more blending and by this time, I trusted her.  She also thinned the hair at the edges and boy, that’s made a huge difference as to how it sits against my forehead!  Before I left, she gave me some tips on fading old colour and apparently Vosene works better than Head & Shoulders for lifting dark dye!

I hadn’t had a good, full haircut since I first got my fringe cut in last year and had only found one salon in Soho (Studio12) who had trimmed my fringe to my liking.  A bit of shine spray and £25.50 (+ tip) later and I’m walking somewhat taller with my noo doo.

Cheers Trev!  Oh and just for giggles, Trevor Mitchell (the man behind the local salon chain) introduced Kevin Keegan to his infamous perm in the 80s!  I think I had a lucky escape!

Have you had a happy haircut recently?

ADesign Skincare Brush Set (and my new favourite brush)

Posted by Lipglossiping On April - 19 - 2012

I’ve been trying out the ADesign Skincare Brush Set for just over a month now, and I wanted to see if this one set could ever possibly replace the various skin brushes that I’ve grown to love over the years.  I have to say, the set did fare better than I thought it would… but the ultimate answer is that nothing can replace many years of replacing rubbish brushes with marginally better ones until you reach brush nirvana!

But let me talk you through the brushes contained in the ADesign Skincare Brush Set*, with particular reference to my. new. favourite. brush.

I’ll begin by giving you a quick overview of the set, which is available to buy online from Cocktail Cosmetics, priced at £44.95.  Broken down, that works out at around £8.99 per brush – which for face brushes, makes it a very good value set.  You’d easily pay that on the high street for brushes that don’t come close to even 10% of the quality that these represent.

For your money, you get five brushes housed in a patent mock-croc bag that is fully-lined to prevent damage from spills.  The brushes (from left to right) are: Pointed Foundation Kabuki Brush, Flat Top Foundation Brush, Foundation Brush, Medium Concealer Brush, and Pointed Concealer Brush.

You may be asking yourself, why on Earth would you need three different foundation brushes?  If you are, get off my blog.

Moving on…

Yes.  It’s magnificent isn’t it?  Like a silver bullet sent to banish bad makeup application werewolves (or something *shrugs*).  I haven’t quite got the hang of how best to use the Adesign Pointed Foundation Kabuki Brush and I’m not keen on the stubby kabuki-handle – the pointed tip is obviously engineered to provide precision and having a longer-handle would complement this more effectively.  Of course, if you love the design, you could always opt for something like the Bdellium Tools Bambu Pointed Foundation Brush as an alternative.

The heavily tapered bristles on this brush allows for dual-motion blending… you can swipe both back and forward like a traditional painting motion or apply circular buffing strokes.  For me, I’ve found its forte when it comes to applying concealer over a larger area, particularly around the nose as the point gets right into the creases whilst the taper blends the edges seamlessly.  I’m not completely sold on it, but I do think I’ve not quite mastered the best technique for it yet.  If you have any suggestions, I’m all ears!

The Adesign Flat Top Foundation Brush, a.k.a. my new favourite brush.  It’s a masterpiece, so beautifully dense with tickle-me soft fibres.  It is not very pliable which allows for a really good buffing motion (rather than flopping about ineffectively on the face) and comes with a small head which I much prefer when compared to a larger size flat-top such as the ELF Powder Brush.  I’m going to photograph comparable brushes shortly and reiterate why I prefer this brush to the others.  For quick reference, comparable brushes would be: MAC 130 and Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush (though this one isn’t cut at an angle).

I’ve been using this for applying foundation (all textures), applying cream blush and blending out any edges.  When my skin has been particularly dry and all my products have been cream or liquid-based, I haven’t even bothered to use a different brush.  This is the stand-out offering from the set.  The smaller head also means that it complements my stick products really well (things like NARS Multiples and my Shu Uemura Stick Foundation).  Perhaps the ultimate compliment I can pay it though is that it has enabled me to wear my MUFE HD Cream Blushes… those things played me up something chronic, I just couldn’t find the right tool to get the just-flushed blush from them.  Until now.

I wish that I could point to a single technical aspect of this brush that suits my needs so well, but all I can tell you is that I’m in brush love.  For reals.

After the gushing over the previous brush, the Adesign Foundation Brush doesn’t get me nearly as excited.  Again, this is small-headed… comparable in size to the Giorgio Armani Designer Foundation Expert Shaping Brush but mega-bucks cheaper.  While the GA brush tapers away quickly, the ADesign brush provides greater density from the base up, which allows this brush to both paint and buff.  The fibres have a good amount of spring to them and are densely packed from root to tip.

The Adesign Medium Concealer Brush is another that didn’t give me an awful lot to flap about.  Again, it’s a good-looking brush without any flaws and applies under-eye concealer very gently but one the whole, I prefer my No7 Concealer brush when it comes to painting on the product with a flat edge like this offers.  But talking of flat edges…

…the Adesign Pointed Concealer Brush is without them!  This is a really good brush for concealing over blemishes.  It delivers the product with pin-point precision and blends without dislodging or removing any of the product you’ve just placed!  How many times have you applied concealer to a spot, blended and then realised that you’ve blended at least 50% of the product off?!  This has worked wonders for my concealer application skillz… now I has some!  Again, this is so densely packed, you would think you’d need something with a ‘lighter’ touch, but no… despite my initial scepticism, this really does the job magnificently well.  It’s a little too stiff-feeling to use in the delicate eye area, where something like a MAC 224 works well to both apply and blend concealer.

 

Without exception, each of these synthetic-fibre brushes are high-quality.  The ferrules are solid, the fibres are well-cut and dense.  Each is perfectly soft, washes well and keeps its shape as it dries.  Talking of drying, these do dry more slowly than natural hair fibres…. such is the downside to synthetic brushes but I haven’t experienced any shedding during washing or application at all.  Which is more than can be said for most brushes.  Whilst I haven’t fallen head-over-heels for every brush in the set, the two that have made an impression on me (Flat Top Foundation & Pointed Concealer) … have made an impression that I want to shout about.

As an aside, you may be wondering why this is called the ‘skincare’ set… well, if you watch the video below, you’ll see that this set was designed for both makeup application AND skincare application.  Call me old-school but I’m all about the fingers when it comes to skincare!

The ADesign Skincare Brush Set is available to buy online from Cocktail Cosmetics, priced at £44.95

* press sample

Face Atelier Ultra Foundation Review

Posted by Lipglossiping On April - 16 - 2012

I promised you a full review of the Face Atelier foundation after last week’s FOTD and my recent re-discovering of it.  Face Atelier Liquid Foundation offers medium/high coverage without looking like a traditional, high-coverage foundation.  On my dry/combination skin, it takes about 20 minutes to warm up, at which point it begins to look less like a foundation and more like naturally good skin.  It’s one of those foundations where you look in the mirror part-way through the day and say “Woah, good skin day!”  Followed by a fist-pump.

However, I do have a caveat with this foundation.  To get the best from it, you need to apply it on well-moisturised, not-too-dry, not-too-oily skin.  If you’ve got good skin texture but with a little discolouration or redness, you should be chomping at the bit to purchase.  If you’re prone to dryness or oiliness, you’ll probably be in love with this 65% of the time.  Does that make sense?

The bottle comes with a great pump that dispenses the perfect amount for a full-face application with a single squeeze.  The brand state that you do not need to wear a primer underneath this and indeed you can feel the silicone in the fomula.  If you like your foundation to feel completely weightless, you may not enjoy the feel of this one (though in no way does this feel like a heavy foundation).

It also sets fast, so work quickly!

Personally, I ignore the brand’s recommendations on primer and mix it up with a blob of moisturising primer (non-silicone) or Maqpro Make Up Mixer to give me a sheer(er) finish that doesn’t set as quickly.  To combat the additional dewiness this pairing provides, I set the foundation on my t-zone with a touch of powder.  I don’t find that it wears any less well and have been surprised by how well it performs mixing it into all different kinds of bases!  I like to buff it in with a flat-top kabuki… working it in to the skin in light circular motions, both back and forward.

* my hair looks two different colours in the above photo – the sun had come out from behind the clouds in time for the 2nd shot!

The shade #2 Ivory is spot on for me, a little too yellow technically, but I like this because it tones down my redness more effectively.  If you’re just slightly darker or lighter than the official range, you can also purchase their 0-/0+ to lighten and darken any of their shades.

Overall, on good skin days (or if you’ve got skin prep down to a fine art), this is show-stealing foundation.  It’s pricey, but what price beautiful skin fakery?

Face Atelier Ultra Foundation is priced at £32 and available to buy online from Cult Beauty

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