Brush Lust: ECOTools Bamboo Bronzer Brush

Posted by Lipglossiping On April - 7 - 2012

I love a bit of alliteration in the mornings and the ECOTools Bamboo Bronzer Brush is just the kind of tongue twister that my beauty routine was waiting for.  I’ll start my review by pointing out that this little big brush has amassed an amazing 4.8 (out of 5) average rating over on makeupalley.  No great shakes you might think, except when you take into consideration that it’s been rated almost 300 times.  That’s a lot of very happy brush owners.

Although sold as a bronzing brush, this thing is so large, I have to assume that ECOTools intended this to be used as a body-brozing brush or simply an all-over face bronzing (as in tanning) brush.  There’s no way you’d wanna reach for this daily to “sunkiss” your face in specific areas, it’s mahoosive!  Where this baby excels is in its ability to buff – buff, buff and buff again.  It’s a wonderful long-handled kabuki for mineral foundation and an even more awesome applicator for the kind of liquid foundations that would normally give you an armache as you try to blend them before they quickly set.

This particular brush pairs up wonderfully with all manner of foundations including powders, creams and liquids and if you love the ELF Powder Brush for buffing in your foundation, I’m willing to bet that you’re going to love this even more.  The synthetic bristles are kitten-paw soft, keeping dry skin happy while you buff away to your hearts content.  I’m not gonna call the finished results ‘airbrushed’ (because it’s a naff expression) but I did get a lovely sheen to prove that the product had been worked well into the skin before any excess was buffed away by the densely-packed fibres.  I don’t find the large handle cumbersome to use, neither have I experienced any problems with shedding.

I’ve since bought another one to keep as a finishing brush and I use it to apply an illuminating/setting powder and ensure that everything is fully blended with a non-powdery finish – something I can struggle with when my skin is on the dry side.  The only negatives about this brush is that it’s a bugger to clean, takes an age to dry and isn’t very-travel friendly.

The ECOTools brush range is available to buy instore in Boots, priced at £9.99.  It’s also available online from cutecosmetics, priced at £8.99


Boots No7 Floral Brights Spring 2012 Collection Swatches and FOTD

Posted by Lipglossiping On February - 13 - 2012

Can you feel it coming?  The birds are beginning to sing a slightly more cheerful tune, the flowers are peeking their tiny heads out from beneath the frozen ground and the dark evenings are gradually fading into longer twilights.  Sure, it ain’t exactly warming up yet… but I’m optimistic that we’re over the worst of it.  Maybe.

The fact that I took delivery of the Boots No7 Floral Brights Spring 2012 Collection* this morning may have had something to do with the new-found spring in my step (pardon the pun).  Look at that packaging, I love it and I usually quite dislike white cosmetic packaging.  Mind you, I used to hate white gadgets too… *hides all Apple technology*.

The new Lisa Eldridge-created collection consists of: one eye palette, one complexion highlighter, two cream blushers and two lipsticks.  No nail polishes this time.  Boo.

Want a closer look?

This prettily packaged eye palette reminds me of the Avon Marimekko ones from a few years back, does anyone remember those?  Anyway, the No7 Vital Brighetning Eye Palette offers five warm-toned shades with four neutrals and a pop of golden-yellow.  Nothing too dark here, this is all about bringing some light to the face and brightening the eye area.  I tend to prefer cooler tones on my eyes but I do like the satin-finish of these, they’re not too metallic and showy.  Texture is a touch soft but they blend nicely and last very well on primed eyelids.

Next up is the No7 Vital Enlightening Highlighter, a smooth champagne highlighting powder that applies with more sophistication and refinement than I expected.  It imparts a non-metallic glow when used with a light hand and is neutral enough not to look too warm, or too pink on my skintone.  No7 generally do highlighting powders very, very well and if you’re in the market for a new one, this is worth a look.

A real standout in the collection are their two new blushers.  The No7 Vital Brights Cream Blushers in Blooming Pink (fuchsia) and Blossoming Pink (guava) are a cream-to-powder formulation that pack a real punch of vibrancy whilst still being able to blend down to a wearable flush without streaking.  The formula is *so* spot on with these… I own cream blushers that cost twice as much and apply literally, half as well as these do.  Highly recommend checking these out while they’re still available.

My other favourite from the collection are the two new No7 Vital Brights Lipstick shades that allude to the popular lightweight formula the beauty world can’t get enough off, whilst boasting more buildable pigmentation levels than most gel-style lipsticks.  They’re knockout shades too… Blooming Pink is the killer, cool-toned fuchsia which looks great with a slick of black liner and will carry you confidently through to Summer.  Blossoming Pink is a slightly cool-toned nude which will please women who prefer a safer lip-shade.  It’s nude without being too pale, more of a perfecting lip shade than a colour statement.  How this one turns out will really depend on your natural lip colouring.

Without wanting to sound like a major fangirl, there’s not a dud in the collection.  If you twisted my arm, I’d say that you could probably leave the eye palette on the shelf.  It’s a little bit soft and doesn’t tick my must-have requirements in the same way as some of the other pieces.  Do not let this limited edition collection pass you by without going in for a closer look at the lipsticks and blushes though.  That’s an order.

If you can bring yourself to, please excuse the bottom right cam-whoring.  I couldn’t – in all seriousness – where such a horrifically clashing lip shade and not ham it up a bit.  In all photos I’m wearing the eye palette, blossoming pink cream blush and highlighter.  It’s hopefully clear enough in which photos I’m wearing which lipstick.  Does that make sense?

No7 Vital Brighetning Eye Palette – 4g (£13.00)
No7 Vital Enlightening Highlighter – 10g (£13.00)
No7 Vital Brights Cream Blushers in Blooming Pink or Blossoming Pink – 2g (£10.00)
No7 Vital Brights Lipsticks in Blooming Pink or Blossoming Pink – 3.5g (£10.00)

Have you got your eye on any pieces from the new Spring Collection?  Already bought something – let me know!

The No7 Floral Brights Spring 2012 Collection is available exclusively in Boots stores now and online at Boots.com until the 6th March 2012.  It’s worth pointing out that No7 products are also currently on 3for2.

* press samples

Estee Lauder NEW Invisible Fluid Makeup Foundation Review

Posted by Lipglossiping On February - 10 - 2012

I’ve been a little bit too obsessed with tracking down and swatching recent Western brand’s attempts at B.B. Creams (still not great) resulting in having become a little blinded to other base releases on the market and this latest Estee Lauder release is one that I’m pleased I didn’t miss.  Billed as one of those skin-matching formulas (which makes me wonder why they need an impressive 16 shades 😉 ) Invisible Fluid Makeup promises to perfect your skin without leaving a trace.  Step back all ye who can’t be parted with your Double Wear, this one’s not for you.

The  base delivers a lightweight, slightly mattifying finish that evens out my redness and softens my pores.  I would prefer *slightly* oilier skin when using this to maximise those mattifying benefits but it doesn’t cause me any tightness on my dry skin either… I just feel that there is a little room to love it more.  Something that I’ll be excited to discover when the weather begins to warm up.

The fluid formula reminds me very much of Chanel’s Vitalumiere Aqua, but delivered with more refinement — I found the Chanel less kind to my drier skin.  The bottle needs a good shake to mix the formula before application and contains a ball bearing inside to speed things along.  Unlike the Chanel, and despite its mattifying features – Invisible Fluid Makeup* gives my skin a luminosity, it remains more transparent despite still affording a more even skintone.  The Chanel simply gave me a light mask which didn’t sit kindly with my dilated pores and fine lines.

If you’ve many blemishes, you may find that this doesn’t give you the coverage you’re looking for.  Similarly, if you’re a tinted moisturiser kinda girl — this may offer too much.  If you just want something that feels very lightweight, is easy to blend, and evens both skintone whilst softening the appearance of pores – you should head to your nearest Estee Lauder counter when this goes on full release next month.

It lasts well throughout the day, slipping a little from my nose by tea-time but wearing evenly across the rest of my face.  The lightweight feel of a tinted moisturiser with a hint more coverage makes for a very interesting new addition to the foundation market.  Do check this one out if you’re a no-foundation foundation girl.

Estee Lauder’s Invisible Fluid Makeup is currently an exclusive for the rest of the month at John Lewis, retailing at £27.00 for 30ml.

* press sample – I’m wearing shade 1CN1

IMATS London 2012: Review and Photos

Posted by Lipglossiping On February - 7 - 2012

This was my 3rd year attending the International Makeup Artist Trade Show in London and it’s changed a lot over such a short period of time. The organisers have taken on board criticisms from shows past and worked hard to improve. The venue is now bigger since moving to the Great Hall at Alexandra Palace and consequently affords a lot more space when moving around.

I arrived at 8.30am on the Saturday morning, having dragged my under-eye bags from my (now practically traditional) el-cheapo Travelodge in Moorgate – the wind was biting my arse all the way from the bus stop to the front doors but thankfully it was toasty enough inside.  Unbeknown to me at the time, I was sitting opposite the lovely Iris from RougeDeluxe on my way up from Wood Green station on the W3 bus. When she told me she thought we’d been sharing the same bus, my natural reaction was to genuinely pray to the gods of self-image that I hadn’t been picking my nose/teeth/spots all the way up the hill.

Such an early start was obviously for the best as the hall began to fill quickly.  Along with IMATS veterans: Leanne, Kim, and Laura we headed for the Crown Brush stand – always well stocked and packed once the crowds move in.  I umm-ed and ahh-ed for about five minutes before deciding that although I was loving some of the brushes… I just didn’t need another MAC 217 dupe you know?  And I headed off to my favourite IMATS haunt, the MUFE stand.  This year, it was bigger than ever… in-fact, I wrongly assumed that – as it was so well-stocked – it must have been being operated by MUFE themselves – but my till receipt shows that Guru Makeup Emporium were still behind the brand’s major appearance on the day.  PAM also held a (smaller) MUFE pitch and for once, offered the same 35% discount as their competitors at Guru.

I always happily admit that I’m there for the shopping.  I’m not a MUA and have no desire to be one… I don’t wear false lashes, have no need for disposables or giant cases and as far as I’m concerned, latex and glitter is a combination best kept behind closed doors ifyouknowwhatimean.  This ultimately always means that the show will hold a limited interest to me (and quite rightly so, what with it being a TRADE show afterall).  I felt that this year, despite brands like Inglot and Sleek being in situ (which they weren’t two years ago) – it felt somehow less relevant to me than previously.  I was also disappointed not to see discounts from brands like Hakuhodo or Embryolisse.

I would have loved to see more of the U.S. brands represented either via their U.K. distributors or by themselves.  Brands like Sigma, Yaby, Ardell, Sugarpill, Stars Makeup Haven, Unii, honestly my list could go on…  I think there would be huge demand to see more and now that the show has moved into a larger venue – there’s certainly the floorspace to allow it.  Huge props to brands like OCC and Eve Pearl for making the trip over year after year and putting on a grand display, it was great to see their stands well-attended as a consequence.

The body painting and artistry displays from the students were, as always, wonderful – though the ‘makeup museum’ looked a little barer than previous years and some of the exhibits were repetitions from previous shows.  I didn’t attend any of the keynote speaker’s talks or demonstrations simply because my timings didn’t allow it, although I have heard on the grapevine that the Embryolisse one was a hard-selling cringefest!  Some of the exhibitors also need to invest in bigger pitches.  Illamasqua were the worst culprits… occupying a ridiculously small footprint, combined with impressive discounts equals a recipe for a horribly frustrating shopping experience.

As the fortunate recipient of a press pass, it didn’t cost me a penny to attend but had I spent £40 for advance tickets or £60 at the door, I can’t honestly say that those (not insignificant) prices wouldn’t have given me greater frustrations at some of the issues I mentioned above.  Organisationally, the show seems to improve year upon year, with queues moving faster and plenty of staff on hand to point attendees in the right direction.  Refreshment facilities were plentiful, though the single ATM again displayed a queue of epic proportions.

I’ll show my (modest) haul very soon but thought I’d jot down some of my thoughts on the IMATS experience while it was still fresh.  I’m always a little torn on my trip to the annual extravaganza but this year really demonstrated the serious potential for more exhibitors now that the Make-Up Artist magazine produced show have ironed out those initial kinks with the venue space and slow-moving queues that plagued the shows of yesteryear.

Frankly, there remains to be nothing else quite like the IMATS in the UK.

Rimmel London NEW Wake Me Up Foundation Review

Posted by Lipglossiping On January - 27 - 2012

This month sees a new foundation release from Rimmel London which promises to instalntly re-awaken skin with a healthy, radiant looking glow.  Otherwise known as Wake Me Up Foundation.  We could all do with a bit of that no?

The formula contains tiny ‘radiance pearls‘ to help illuminate the complexion… but I can’t see them, so they really must be erm, tiny.  It’s not one of those sparkly foundations that luminize by turning your face into a disco-ball, put it that way.  It’s medium/full coverage and conceals an uneven skintone brilliantly… I can also feel some significant silicone going on with a primer-y slip that effectively conceals larger pores better than many foundations I’ve tried.  And I’ve tried a lot.

I’m using the lightest shade (Ivory), which as you can see above – is a hair too dark and a hair too warm for me.  This isn’t groundbreaking stuff… when you only have six shades in your range, you’re not going to have a shade for everyone.  Something to bear in mind if you’re on the pale end of NW15 (I’d class myself somewhere inbetween NW15/NW20).

It claims to last 10hrs, I’d say it gets close to that for me, a little bit of slip down the bridge of my nose but it wasn’t sliding off my face by lunchtime.

Infact, I think this is pretty darn amazing for an £8.99 price tag.  Except for one thing.  It hates dry skin… if you have any flakes, no matter how invisible they may be when you’re bare-faced – once you’ve applied this, you’ll be scratching at them in an attempt to dislodge.  I can’t comment on how this would work for oily skin types, I think you may experience a little too much slip as I didn’t feel this was particularly mattifying.

On my cheeks, where my skin is ‘normal’ – this foundation worked flawlessly, better than flawlessly thanks to it’s pore-busting properties but over my problem (dry) areas, it struggled.  In other words… I’m coming back to this when I get my dry skin under control and I may not stray for a while.

Rimmel London’s NEW Wake Me Up Foundation is available instore now from Boots, Superdrug, etc. Priced at £8.99 for 30ml.

* press sample

Fiberwig LX by D.J.V. Beautenizer Mascara Review

Posted by Lipglossiping On January - 16 - 2012

Japanese mascaras are hot property and DJV Fiberwig is the top selling mascara brand in Japan, Fiberwig LX builds on the popularity of the original Fiberwig formula with a new-fangled brush that promises to coat each lash with greater ease, allowing more of those lash-extending fibres to reach their intended target.

I already have fairly long lashes but lengthening is still high on the list of what I want mascara to do.  There are two things in life that can never be long enough… lashes, and um holidays? (stop smirking).

Packaged in a glossy, red tube, d.j.v. beautenizer Fiberwig LX combines a lash-building fibre formula that unlike previous fibre-rich mascaras I’ve tried, doesn’t irritate my eyes or drop little fibres onto my cheeks as the day progresses.  It has a filmy, slightly oily texture that glides onto the lashes and the curved brush makes applying the product to my lower lashes a breeze.

I found the finished effect to be more lengthening than volumising.  I have naturally curly lashes, so I’m unable to comment on how well it holds a curl but I can feel that this is a lightweight formula, so I’d imagine that it would do well for those who need to curl their lashes in advance.  The most impressive thing about the Fiberwig LX mascara is its resilience.  There was no flaking, no smudging and my lashes looked as mascara’ed up by the end of the day as they had at the beginning.  Removal was an issue… I did have to work a little harder than normal to dissolve the mascara with my cleansing oil.  The product removes in little clumps which can feel a bit disconcerting!

If I’d experienced better volumising from this mascara, I’d have it on my holy grail list – but as it stands, a girl needs more than just lengthening alone.  Unless you’ve got naturally thick lashes, in which case run RUN to CultBeauty.co.uk, where you can buy the Fiberwig LX by D.J.V. Beautenizer for £18.00

* press sample

UPDATE: I sheepishly stand corrected… this mascara removes like a dream with the help of some hot water.  Who knew water was so, err, useful? 😉

Smashbox Bionic Mascara Review

Posted by Lipglossiping On December - 23 - 2011

Smashbox is a brand that just isn’t that easy for me to lay may hands on – sure, it’s in Debenhams but my local Debenhams is situated a 10 minute walk from the main shopping area, making it a bit of a black hole as a far as I’m concerned.

Smashbox Bionic Mascara in Jet Black is currently available at CheapSmells.com — who knows for how long, they have a pretty rapid stock turnover — and they sent me a sample to put to the test.

The mascara has a “wet” formula, something which I noticed immediately because I can never help but worry when buying from online cosmetic ‘discounters’ that I might be getting very old stock… and in the case of mascaras, old stock = dry mascara.

I needn’t have been concerned as the Smashbox Bionic Mascara I received is most definitely wet, any wetter and it would have been an instant fail, like the Bourjois 1001 which I hated until it began to dry out.

You can see from the before/after that the Smashbox Bionic Mascara (on the right!) offers decent lengthening if not much volumising.  I like the inky black shade and the fact that it left my lashes feeling soft and flexible.

It’s not the showstopping mascara I’d have liked to see from Smashbox but it’s a better-than-natural daily mascara (I hate ‘natural’ mascaras) which won’t dry out any time soon and offers genuine single-sweep lash boosting.  Maybe not for nights out on the tiles but a really, very good daily choice for work.

Smashbox Bionic Mascara in Jet Black is priced at £12.95 (a £16.50 value, 22% discount) and available from CheapSmells.com

What’s your favourite ‘daily’ mascara?

* press sample

Last month, I attended a ByTerry event to showcase the French brand and in particular, two new foundations that have hit the counters recently.

Sheer-Expert and Cover-Expert are the two new formulas from ByTerry’s creator Terry de Gunzburg.  As you may have guessed from their names, the major difference between the two are the coverage that they offer.

According to the brand…

Sheer Expert provides adjustable coverage, smoothes and plumps features and dims imperfections and signs of fatigue.  The natural satin finish adjusts and blends into your natural skin colour to reveal a perfect complexion with a sheer effect.

Cover Expert corrects all imperfections and flaws (including dark circles, freckles (flaw?!?!) wrinkles, fine lines or expression lines) while immediately lifting, smoothing and illuminating.  The matte satin formula is undetected on skin and provides an illuminated, unified, smooth skin tone.

Priced at £44 each for 35ml, they’re as you would expect, priced for the luxury end of the market but unlike a lot of their luxury counterparts, the range is impressively inclusive with a full 12 shades from the lightest to darkest skin shades available.

I was given a tube of the Cover-Expert foundation, after being matched to #4 Rosy Beige and have been trying it out over the past month.  I have to say, it’s been a difficult month for a foundation to be tested on my skin… adjusting to the central-heating coming on has cause all manner of dryness and irritability, so this foundation has really been up against it, so to speak.

It’s rose-scented (as is much of the ByTerry lineup) and has a distinct silicone feel to the formula… which isn’t surprising when you look at the top three ingredients listed: Cyclopentasiloxane, Aqua and Dimethicone.  This does give a good, smoothing and softening effect over my imperfections but doesn’t play too well with my skin dryness.  I have to give this foundation a well-moisturised base to avoid the dreaded flakies – but to its credit, it does behave well as long as I prep my skin adequately.

The shade is a wonderful match, which is surprising as I never have to go as high as a #4 in anything usually!  Pale girls, check this range immediately.

As for the coverage… I’d actually describe this as a little less than full.  It’s not in the same league as something like Estee Lauder Double Wear, my benchmark for wearable full coverage!  The ByTerry Cover-Expert foundation is a medium-to-full coverage which is fine for wearing during the daytime.  It reduces the redness around my nose without obliterating it or preventing my natural skin texture to show through.

I also find that it makes excellent use of light reflection, despite a matte finish – I feel that the hollows under my eyes are softened thanks to some clever light trickery – something which we all know Terry is notoriously good at (hello Touche Eclat!).

If you’re normal or even oily-skinned – you may find a perfect foundation partner with this new high-tech foundation from ByTerry.  Me?  Well, it makes me work a little harder than I’d like… but the result is worth it and this may well come in to its own once the weather gets a little warmer.  It’s a keeper, I’ll let you know if it’s a repurchas-er!

Sheer-Expert and Cover-Expert are available to buy now from SpaceNK, priced at £44 for 35ml and available in 12 shades.

* press sample

 

Ugg Boots by Whooga

Posted by Lipglossiping On November - 29 - 2011

Whoo?  Whooga!

Whooga are widely considered to be one of the fastest-growing Ugg boot brands – thanks in no small part to their competitive pricing and quality materials.  I took delivery of a pair of their (now discontinued) weave style Ugg boots a couple of months ago.  I have to say that I’m not a massive fan of Ugg styling in general and I was curious to see if my sensibilities would fare better with a weave style boot and whether or not these boots would actually live up to some of the hype surrounding them from independent reviewers.

Delivery

Firstly, the brand need to work on some packaging issues.  My box arrived so badly tattered that I couldn’t store the boots in them.  If I had been giving them as a gift, they would have been an instant return for this reason.  I have read other reports of Whooga boots arriving in bashed packaging and of course, Royal Mail need to take some blame for this but I believe that a double layer of bubble-wrap would go a long way to protecting the corners of the box against this problem.

On the flip-side, I can’t fault the speed of delivery and we all know that when we buy something online, we want it like, yesterday!

First Impressions

When you first take them out of the box, they have a distinctive smell of glue.  It’s really a little off-putting and ultimately, it makes them smell quite cheap.  Chinese factory cheap.  You know what I’m saying.

Leave them in a place to air for a couple of days and this smell thankfully disperses.

A thorough inspection of all the seams, joins and nooks and crannies reveals no obvious manufacturing flaws, everything is in sound condition and neatly stitched/glued/constructed.

I have an EU size 40 and I’m a UK 6.5 – these are sadly slightly too big.  Definitely go for a size down.  No arguments.

Breaking Them In

As a virgin Ugg boot wearer, I really wasn’t sure how I would fare with these on my feet.  They are indecently snug and haven’t left my feet since the weather changed for the colder on Saturday but I will be buying a pair of quality sheepskin insoles to put in them because I feel the foot-bed is a little hard.  This may also help solve the sizing issue.

The knitted weave styling is more to my taste and I feel works far better with dresses than the usual Ugg style but I won’t elaborate too much on this, seeing as they’re sadly no longer available to purchase.  I will say however that these really hug my calves beautifully (when pulled up) with no sagging or over-stretching and I feel that this is testament to the quality of the manufacturing.

Ultimately, get your sizing right and I believe that for the price, these Ugg boots from Whooga would be difficult to beat.  Other than a slightly hard foot-bed and a bashed box, I can’t actually pick fault with them – they feel well-supported and solidly-constructed with quality, authentic materials.

Ugg Boots by Whooga are available to buy online from www.whooga-boots.co.uk – prices start from £75.00

* press sample

 

Michel Mercier Detangling Hairbrush vs. Tangle Teezer

Posted by Lipglossiping On November - 28 - 2011

My hair is prone to breakage, and thanks to my PCOS – there isn’t as much of it as I would like which means that I have to be very careful when detangling my hair not to end up with more on the brush than on my head.  I currently use my Tangle Teezer on wet hair and my Mason Pearson on dry hair.

I attended the launch of a new product from internationally acclaimed hairdresser Michel Mercier, a new detangling hair brush available in three varieties, each suited to a different hair type.  To choose the right brush for your hair, you simply need to check which colour you’re picking up:  Pink = Fine Hair, Green = Normal Hair, Blue = Thick or Afro Hair.  The difference between the three varieties lies in the flexibility of the bristles used.  The coarser the hair type, the more rigid the bristles need to be in order to combat the tangles.

The brush is made up of a patented system which involves placing 428 bristles (who wants to count ’em?) positioned at different heights across the surface with a unique geometric distribution which helps to disperse the pressure placed on hair during brushing.

But does it work, and is it better than the Tangle Teezer?

Michel Mercier Detangling Brush*

I found that it works very well for detangling my hair, especially when my hair was dry but the efficiency came at a cost.  The Mercier Brush gave me more discomfort during use than the Tangle Teezer.  However, it really couldn’t be faulted for it’s rapid detangling properties… I often find that the Tangle Teezer misses tangles on the underside of my hair thanks to its very flexible bristles – the Mercier’s bristles are stronger, I think this will prove very popular for those with thick hair.

Sadly, I experienced more breakage with this one than my Tangle Teezer, probably just because it was more effective and gave me more discomfort but I’d rather have to section my hair to detangle than lose it on the brush.

Tangle Teezer

I was also hoping for better things from the Michel Mercier design.  The Tangle Teezer is notorious for flying out of unsuspecting hands thanks to the rubbish grip it offers.  At first glance, you’d think that the Michel Mercier solves this with the inclusion of a chunky handle but sadly, the handle has quite a strong taper which means that it doesn’t feel as secure as I would have liked.

Overall it’s a real mixed bag.  If my hair were stronger and thicker, I’d probably prefer it to my Tangle Teezer but as things stand, it’s back to my Tangle Teezer/Mason Pearson combination for the time being.

The Michel Mercier Detangling Brush is priced at £14.95, and available from www.michelmercier.co.uk and selected salons

* press sample

.

Winter Warmers: The ultimate Cold Weather Fragrances!

Posted by Lipglossiping On November - 23 - 2011

If the Met Office is to be believed, we’re ‘in for it’ (technical description) this Winter, I hope so anyway… I’ve just bought some bargain sledges in anticipation of blizzard-y snow and icicle snots.

There are thankfully a billion things to make up for the fact that we’ll only achieve around 6 hours of sunshine from now until February — Pringles, Quality Streets, and Christmas episodes of Eastenders would feature heavily on my list, but another thing that melts my frozen heart are the Winter fragrances that I can splash on with abandon.

Here are my TOP FIVE Winter Perfumes to ward off the big chill…

1. L’Artisan Parfumeur: Tea for Two EdT (£78.00)

Black tea, honey and an aromatic smokiness that encourages deep, long sniffs with your nose buried in your sleeve.  Most of my perfumes are unisex because I’m developing expensive tastes and I find it much easier to justify my purchases when I remind Mr. L that we can *both* use them.  It’s not true of course, as I hide them behind my scarves in my wardrobe.

Tea for Two also contains a ginger note which doesn’t present itself very well on my skin.  I consider Tea for Two to be a less-sweet, slightly less boozy version of Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille.  Longevity is grand on this one but it wears close to my skin – all the better for sniffing yourself with.

2. La Prairie: Life Threads Gold EdP (£74.00 – currently £59.95 at Cheap Smells) *

La Prairie’s Life Threads Gold is a force to be reckoned with thanks to its retro leanings and powerful floriental heart.  If you like people to smell you before they see you, this one could have your name written all over it.  Notes include (are you ready?): Plum, clove, tangerine, pepper, cinnamon, corriander, rose, lily of the valley, ylang ylang, vanilla, musk, golden myrrh and precious woods.

It’s as unapologetic as it is striking – go big or go home.  Perfect for the cold weather.

I implore you to go sniff this one out – as a girly/womanly type fragrance, it’s hard to beat.  I cut my teeth on Hypnotic Poison and it harks back to all I loved about that fragrance, but this one feels like it’s for grown ups.

3. Fendi: Fan di Fendi EdP (£39.50) *

The majority of my Winter fragrant love affairs evoke a smoke, leather and amber accord that carries me away to warmer, more exotic climes.  Fan di Fendi is a kitten by comparison, rendering it very work-appropriate whilst still containing a hint to my usual leanings.

The leather base is apparent though not rough-and-ready, as if struggling to make up its mind between dominatrix and classy handbag lady.  I detect a twist of the Mediterannean thanks to a freshness from some fruity notes which include tangerine.  Silage is decent, particularly when those initial top fruity/floral notes present but it quickly calms down into a calmer experience.

4. Bottega Veneta: Bottega Veneta EdP (£42.00) *

Elegance and sophistication with a clean, smooth leather that evokes the joy of sniffing luxury leather accessories.  And so it should, coming from Bottega Veneta — purveyors of luxury handbags.  A quiet soul of a scent, work appropriate without losing the edge that sets it apart from the competition.

The leather is gentle, almost suede-like with an initial hit of citrus to remind you of its Italian heart.  It’s most similar to the Fendi but with an altogether more sophisticated personality.  It doesn’t try hard, it doesn’t have to — it’s like that girl you know who manages to ooze grace without even knowing it.

5. Parfums d’Empire: Ambre Russe (£84.50)

Perhaps the ultimate in decadence, a king of a fragrance with a boozy, amber accord that transcends all earthly dimensions.  A little goes a long way and will leave those in your company searching the room for the source of this scent that offers up a kindly lesson in “how the hell to smell amazing”.

You can’t read anything about this scent without the mentions of Tsarist Russia and that’s because you can’t wear this scent without being transported to one of those onion-domed churches, incense burning while the blizzard roars outside.  Throw in a booziness that would make vodka-loving Russians (stereotype much?) blush and you’re getting close to the experience that wearing this powerhouse offers.

.

What are your favourite scents to get you through the cold Winter ahead?

* press samples

 

Inexpensive Beauty Find: Superdrug PRO Make Up Brushes

Posted by Lipglossiping On November - 15 - 2011

Superdrug have been raising the beauty stakes lately.  First with their new beauty card, some great new brand exclusives and now a new range of affordable makeup brushes designed for the more makeup-savvy among us.

The Superdrug PRO Make Up Brush range contains eight new brushes in total.  Each brush is hand-crafted with 100% natural hair and as you’ve come to expect from Superdrug, all are BUAV approved (bunny friendly).

I have a few of the brushes from the new range and have been putting them to the test over the past week or so.  My feelings on each brush vary, so I thought I’d do a quick speed-review of each one.  Let’s get started…

PRO: 02 POWDER BRUSH is a fluffy, domed brush with a softness that belies its price tag.  I would have liked to see a little more weight to it and there is a tiny hint of scratchiness but nothing that would particularly bother me.  It grabs product well and disperses evenly across the face.  The fibres are dense but fairly loosely packed ensuring a light but buildable application.  I didn’t experience much shedding either or on my face, or when washing.  Good stuff.   £9.99

PRO: 11 EYE SHADOW BRUSH – WIDE is a nice tool for applying a wash of colour over the lids.  Again, it’s not the most densely packed brush which means that you’ll be able to build pigmentation with this effectively but it may end up frustrating you if you like to pack colour on quickly.  It also works well to blend harsh lines in a pinch, easily soft enough not to irritate the delicate skin around the eye area.  I have quite small lids and did end up wishing that it were a touch smaller.  £7.99

PRO: 13 EYE SHADOW BRUSH – ROUND isn’t one of my preferred brushes.  It’s nicely shaped with an excellent taper that really allows for some precision work but I just found this one a little too scratchy to use comfortably.  A real shame  because it has some nice resistance to the fibres that will allow you to get right into the corner of the eye and underneath the lashline with confidence that the head won’t splay.  £6.99

PRO: 14 SLANTED EYE LINER BRUSH makes for the 2nd disappointment in the set.  I simply find it too large and soft to give enough precision to line my eyes.  As I draw the brush across my eyelids, it tries to find its own path of least resistance, buckling under the weight of the drag.  Not great.  £5.99

.

Overall, I think the range is a useful but not outstanding addition to the store.  It’s always nice to have more choices where budget brushes are concerned but none of the ones I’ve tried above hold a candle to my favourite ELF Studio brushes.

If you want to check these out for yourselves, you’ll be interested to learn that Superdrug are offering the entire collection at a special introductory price until 22nd November with prices starting from only £3.99 (concealer, lip) and ranging up to £8.49 for the most expensive (foundation, powder).

Have you tried the new Superdrug PRO Make Up Brushes yet?

* press sample

 

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