Saturday, 31 July 2010

Nars Review: Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base...

I'm going to keep it short and sweet.



Nars didn't disappoint with their new smudge proof eyeshadow base.

It's brilliant. Their new primer keeps my eye shadows from creasing and smudging in any type of weather. The formula is lightweight and a creamy white which applies sheer and almost invisible, it leaves no oily or sticky residue which creates a perfect canvas for your eye shadows to smoothly apply and blend. Sometimes I have had trouble with the Urban Decay primer potion as it can be too sticky and cause havoc when trying to blend. This is better than any base I have tried plus I love the packaging.

Not convinced? Next time you are at a Nars counter, apply the primer to the back of your hand and then apply some eyeshadow on top and then try to smudge it, see for yourself.

How I apply: It comes with a doe foot applicator which I use to place the product onto the back of my hand, I warm it up by circulating with my finger and then dab onto my eyelids.

Well done Nars! Price: £18.00

Friday, 30 July 2010

Burberry does make up!

A few years ago my perception of Burberry was very different, until I worked at their showroom in London as a VM in my industrial year at University. I saw how beautiful their Prorsum range was and wanted almost everything. When I heard they were doing makeup, it was music to my ears.

It seems that every major fashion house has to branch out into the beauty sector, with the likes of Chanel, Giorgio Armani, and D&G doing so well I don't know what took Burberry so long! Who's next?


The Burberry packaging is as sleek as you would expect it to be, it feels very luxurious and the reflective metallic packaging with the subtle Burberry print looks very nice, I'm glad they didn't do it in a more obvious way.

Below we have the Lip Glow in 'Heather' which is a dark plum shade with a cream finish, I wore it today and I have to say it's not my shade - I would say this would suit a more mature woman. On the good side, it's not sticky and feels really moisturising on the lips.

The Sheer Eyeshadow in 'Porcelain' is a small compact with a mirror, it also has a black velvet pouch.


The colour is a pale champagne, in terms of Mac it's a combination of 'Ricepaper' and 'Naked Lunch'. It's a nice highlight or all over lid colour. It's nicely pigmented, I'm not sure why it's called 'sheer'? It's finely milled and not chalky.


Here are some swatches...


What do I think? It's beautiful and high quality but it's just not my cup of tea. I feel like it's aimed at the more mature wealthy woman! It would be nice to see the other colour options, I'm sure there's a nice nude lipstick and hot pink lipgloss for the younger lot. :) I'm sure many people who are Burberry lovers will be ecstatic and want everything but this range doesn't wow me and I wouldn't recommend spending your money on it as I think there's better.

Available exclusively at Harrods from 12th July in the UK . Prices start from £15.

What do you think about fashion houses and their makeup ranges? I love Chanel Makeup!

(Disclaimer: Products mentioned were provided by PR for consideration for review - honest opinion as always!)

Friday, 23 July 2010

Nars Turks and Caicos...

This morning I attended a little Nars event organised by Space NK, I had a makeover and purchased the Limited Edition Nars multiple tint in 'Turks & Caicos" and the 'Smudge proof eyeshadow base' as it was time for a new eyeshadow primer. The Nars packaging is so much more sleek and practical than the Urban Decay primer potion, I'll keep you informed on how it performs at a later date.
  • Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base £18.00
  • Multiple Tint £27.00


Get ready to drool...


How amazing and bright is this multiple tint? It looks so vivid and perfect for summer! I LOVE it.


It applies with a sheer tint and has a glossy finish. The bright orange turns out to be a peachy shade but is buildable depending on the intensity you wish to achieve. This is definitely my summer must have blush, I plan on wearing this with a tan and nothing else on my cheeks.


The lovely Yummy Mummy Holly compared it to 'Ripe Peach' blush ombre by Mac, her words 'A glossy Ripe Peach' had me excited. It is quite similar to Ripe Peach, but without the pink undertones. Turks & Caicos is even prettier in my opinion. FYI: The swatch of 'Ripe peach' below is all of the colours swirled together with a light hand, the colour would have been a closer dupe if I only used the top peachy half.



I was also given a few samples to try including the Nars primer, Orgasm illuminator, Chihuahua & Greek Holiday lipgloss duo and a couple of other bits. Expect lots of reviews!


What is your summer must have blush?
Have you tried any of these products, if so what are your thoughts?

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Xen Tan - Deep Bronze Luxe Review

Xen tan is one of the most talked about tanning brands, with so many recommendations I had to try... It's the logical thing to do :), so I purchased some last month and have been experimenting.

Xen Tan's Luxe formula claims to deliver an ultra sheer instant colour and the fresh scent of vanilla whilst releasing an extra intense boost of deep olive colour meaning you can tan during the day and look great as soon as you apply… and it lasts up to 7 days.


Here's what I have to say:

  • COLOUR - It doesn't deliver an instant tint, the colour blends out to nothing which doesn't alter my complexion. It takes about 1-2 hours for me to notice a natural looking olive tan, not even the slightest hint of orange.
  • SCENT - It smells like vanilla on application, then the scent disappears and once the tan has developed it has the horrid fake tan smell.
  • APPLICATION - When applying with my hands, I have to wash them after each body part as the colour stains my hands, using a tanning mitt is the best option which works well. Drying time is a few minutes as the product sinks right in leaving no sticky or oily residue.
  • PERFORMANCE - It lasts about 4-5 days and I have never had it going streaky on me, it does go ever so slightly patchy at the end but not as bad as other tanning options I have tried. Reapplying once a week with regular exfoliating will keep you tanned for as long as you want.




Overall I love the initial vanilla scent, but hate that it disappears.. I really wish that it still smelt like that even after the tan had developed. The best smelling fake tan I have used has to be the Garnier gradual spray tan. I do however LOVE the colour that 'Xen Tan Deep Bronze Luxe' gives, it looks SO natural as it has olive undertones, see picture below in direct sunlight. It just looks like a better version of my natural complexion. I use this one on my face as well as my body.



Price: £20.95 at Beauty Bay RRP £25.95 (236ml) check Xen Tan for more information.

Would I recommend? Yes, but I'm not sure it lives up to the hype. I do like it, I probably will repurchase, I certainly prefer it to St Tropez. I also ordered the Xen Tan Mist Intense at the same time which I haven't tried yet, so I will see how that goes. But, overall I am happy.

Have you tried Xen Tan?

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

MAC: Just a pinch Gel Blush

This gel blush came out with the Rose Romance collection last year, at that point I decided not to get it.

However, for some reason I felt like I needed it in my life at this point, so I swapped for it on MUA.


It is very similar in colour to BeneTint and some others I own, check them HERE. But, the formula is VERY different, purely because it's a gel and not a liquid. I have been intrigued in gel type blushers that give a glossy finish after I tried the liqui gel stain by Beaute. Liquid blushes tend to be matte, whereas gel or cream formulas tend to be glossy.

I would describe the colour as a deep raspberry with a cool red undertone.

The consistency feels a bit like a smooth creamy lip balm, it doesn't feel oily and instead feels like it's water based. The colour in the pot looks extremely scary and clownish, but the payoff is actually really sheer and the colour is buildable. It's exactly what I expected. I don't see this lasting on my skin all day unless I top it with powder, but I would rather reapply.

See swatches below...


Here is 'just a pinch' gel blush applied on my cheeks (I used my fingers), I have also applied Mac's 'Strobe liquid' which enhances the glow on my cheekbone. They are perfect together specially for the Summer! The result is a dewy "fresh faced" and "innocently flushed" look.


By the way... I hate you Mac for making such wonderful items Limited edition - repromote please!

Have you tried this or any other gel blush?

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Are they the same?

I have managed to get my hands on the very desirable 'Ever Hip' from the Liberty of London collection via a swap so I can now compare it with 'Jazzed' lipstick from "In the Groove".


They do look VERY similar, it's quite bad of Mac really to release 2 lipsticks in the same year with both cremesheen finishes. Naughty, but I'm not complaining. :)


When swatched they look very similar, Ever Hip is a tinge more pink, but essentially they are the same colour even when applied to the lips. You really can't tell them apart, if you want to be fussy then Jazzed has a slightly more muted finish.

Do I need both?
No.
Do I want both? Yes.
Why? Different packaging, the slight tone difference is enough for me to justify having both because I'm greedy, plus they are both limited edition and are VERY pretty colours perfect for Summer.


I also did a swap with the gorgeous Ebru, I was having withdrawal symptoms over the Maybelline dream SMOOTH mousse aka Dream Creamy in the UK. The shades we have in the UK are rubbish compared to the US. My shade is Natural Beige.


She also sent me the NYC creme stick (blush) in 'Plaza Pink' which is very beautiful, the consistency isn't greasy making them perfect for hot weather, I would highly recommend you check them out if you are in the US as they are fantastic value for money. She also sent me a NYX lipgloss in 'Smokey Look' and a jumbo pencil in 'Milk'.


Wait, check this card that Ebru sent me...


This is the kind of thing I would say to someone too! :) So adorable!


Tried any of these products? What's your opinion?

Friday, 16 July 2010

Do the french braid..

In a hurry, want to look put together and not damage your hair?

Yep, that's me. I almost straightened my hair this morning, and then thought "no, it's not worth it" I can't use it all the time, and wanted to do something heat free.

I just did a standard (messy) french plait, and added a tiny bit of mousse to tame those flyaway hairs at the front and done. 2 Minutes and I have interesting hair, this is basically my hairstyle saviour when I have NO time to fuss. When I do have a bit more time, I get a bit more intricate! :)



Do you do the french braid?
What are your favourite heat free hairstyles?

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

"Nature gives you the face you have when you are twenty. Life gives you the face you have at thirty." Coco Chanel

I am 25 and skin care has ALWAYS been an obsession, As I get older I realise I shouldn't have gone to sunbeds and sunbathed under the afternoon sun with carrot oil glistening on my face and body. But, it's never too late.

I have been doing lots of reading into the 'It's not just about wrinkles' book written by Dr Neal Schultz which I purchased recently and I have to say I am loving it. I really do recommend the book if you are a skin care nerd like I am.

Dr Schultz is a park avenue dermatologist who tries to explain that wrinkles shouldn't be the only thing people try to fix and should indeed focus on skin colour and texture. I don't care what anybody says, a skincare routine is a must. But, to have a routine that works, you need to use products that are catered for your skin type which isn't that easy.


DETERMINING YOUR SKIN TYPE

Cosmetic Skin Type
Cosmetic or facial skin types are determined by the relative balance between oil and water in and on your skin. There are 6 different types of skin that fall under this category:
  1. Normal
  2. Oily/Acne prone
  3. Dry
  4. Combination
  5. Mature
  6. Sensitive

One of the hardest things for me is diagnosing the skin type as it's always changing. I'm always having drama with mine and try to go to regular facials so that I can be diagnosed every time to see if anything has changed. But, I now realise that they can't really determine skin type with one look and a microscope in 5 minutes. Dr Schultz recommends washing your face with a mild cleanser and not applying any product for 1 whole hour and then getting a tissue or a brown paper bag and blotting onto all areas to see where and if it's oily. Hold up a mirror and you will be able to see exactly if it's dry, normal and if it has a oily sheen. Watch THIS video to better understand your oil and water skin type and click picture below to help you determine your skin type. There are tons of these quizzes everywhere, but I found this to be the most helpful which I photographed from the book.

Click to enlarge.



Fitzpatrick Skin Type
There are also 6 types of Fitzpatrick skin which were characterized by Thomas Fitzpatrick M.D professor emeritus of dermatology at Harvard University. Determining your Fitzpatrick type is is all about assessing skin-cancer risk factors as well as predicting vulnerability to and thereby prevention of premature unnecessary photo aging. The fairer your skin, the greater your risk. Click HERE to determine your Fitzpatrick skin type. This will help you classify your response to UV light and hopefully make you want to wear SPF.

YOUR SKIN

Skin has 7 layers, the 3 main layers are the Epidermis, Dermis and Subcutaneous tissue. Humans shed millions of dead skin flakes everyday and creates a new layer of skin every 28 days.

  • EPIDERMIS - Is the most outer layer of your skin and acts as the body's major barrier against the inhospitable environment, it's thinnest around the eyelids and thickest on the palms and soles. The Epidermis is made of 4 layers, the lower levels are composed of multiple cells that make Keratin. The epidermis is able to completely repair and regenerate itself.
  • DERMIS - Is the layer of skin between the Epidermis and Subcutaneous tissue and composed of 2 layers. Structural components are Collagen and Elastin.
  • SUBCUTANEOUS TISSUE - Also known as Hypodermis is used mainly for fat storage, (this is where cellulite occurs) there are also loosely arranged elastic fibres, blood vessels, lympthatic vessels and hair follicle roots.

Collagen is a group of naturally occurring proteins and the main component of connective tissue which is everywhere in our body. It is produced by cells in the Dermis called fibroblasts which make the collagen into long chains and dispersed into our body to heal skin wounds. It's important for new skin production. Did you know that if you got a spot or injury and it did not go deep into the dermis then no scarring will occur. Hold that thought next time you try to squeeze your spot and end up pushing the gunk further into your skin. Did you also know that even though collagen is great when injected into the skin, when applied topically to the outer layer of the skin through a moisturiser it does nothing? This is because the collagen molecules can not penetrate further than the Dermis to enter the Epidermis (2nd layer of skin) where it's needed.

Elastin is a protein in connective tissue that is elastic and allows many tissues in the body to resume their shape after stretching or contracting. Elastin helps skin to return to its original position when it is poked or pinched. Elastins elasticity wears over time, prolonged sun exposure and harsh treatment to the skin will breakdown the coiled filaments of Elastin an no longer function normally which leads to sagging skin. Dr Schultz does not recommend using anti wrinkle creams that claim to eliminate wrinkles for up to 6 hours, as all it's doing is causing temporary swelling and damaging the elastic fibres in your skin.

Did you know that after the age of 25, the collagen fibres in the dermis begin to break down, subcutaneous fat begins to gradually disappear and skin becomes drier and holds less water? Nooo! *Sobs*

WHY DO WE TAN?

Melanocytes are responsible for the tanning effect we noticed when our skin is exposed to the suns UV rays. The darker colour we associate with a tan us actually the manifestation of our skins attempt to protect itself from the mutating and damaging effects of the sun. When the DNA of a melanocyte is damaged, it can lead to the development of a deadly skin cancer called 'Melanoma' WHEN YOUR SKIN HAS BEEN DARKENED IT'S BECAUSE IT'S BEEN DAMAGED.
There are 3 different types of skin cancer, and Melanoma is the worst, avoid it people, avoid it! Use a high SPF and avoid the afternoon sun light.

Vitamins & Minerals to help your complexion?

A few years ago I was addicted to taking Sea Kelp and B vitamins, but I got out of that habit quite a long time ago as I don't believe that anything you put into your body artificially will work. I mean if you want vitamin C, then go and eat an orange. Also, if you are already eating a healthy diet and you are still taking vitamins then you are probably getting too much which can have an adverse reaction to your skin. I am pleased to say that Dr Schultz shares the same opinion which makes me like him even more! :) The best thing you can do for your skin is eat a nutritionally balanced diet and lots of beauty sleep instead of trying to make up for it with a tablet. Also, don't go drinking alcohol or smoking and think that your skin will look pretty 10 years later, it ain't happening and no tablet can counteract that.

Obviously there is SO much more to cover - I could go on and on like I already have done, but I will end it here.

Last words... Age gracefully but prevent it as much as you can, slap on the SPF!

Sunday, 11 July 2010

I swear by the moon and the stars in the sky...

We celebrated the marriage of me and my husbands mutual friends yesterday who we are very close to. We grew up together as we all went to the same school, and it was such a pleasure to share their special day.

The registry took place in the late afternoon and then we were gathered in the evening for an indoor celebration Bhangra style as it was a Sikhe wedding! The groom was Indian and the bride was Moroccan, I had so much fun dancing I tell you! I would show you pictures of the bride & groom but not without permission.

Here's what I wore... (Thank you to everybody who helped me on Twitter, I felt that this dress was most appropriate as it was very formal.) I'm not really a fan of black, I prefer more vibrant colourful outfits but I did my best to make it work as I love this dress so much! :)




A silk chiffon dress with intricate rope detailing...





I wore lime green earrings with a detailed cuff and simple bronze ring with (Essie 'Lapis of Luxury') blue nails to liven up the outfit. I counted on the contrast of the colours to work together in harmony and I think I pulled it off. :)


I wore an angled belt to clench my waist in as not to look maternal, some simple but detailed heels and my favourite leather clutch to complete the outfit.


Dress: French Connection
Belt: Vintage
Heels: Nine West
Clutch: Vintage
Earrings: Jewellery Boutique
Cuff: Accessorize
Ring: H&M


Here's what I wore on my eyes..
Mac 'Brule' e/s all over the eyelid. Illamasqua 'Machine' e/s in the crease, Mac 'Vellum' e/s in the inner corners + Mac 'Ricepaper' e/s to highlight. Urban Decay 24/7 liner in 'Zero' on waterline. Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner in 'Espresso ink' on upper lash line. Bourjois 1001 cils mascara + Benefit 'Speed Brow'.



And the rest..

FACE: Mac Face & Body Foundation (LOVE) + Mac sheer mystery powder on T-zone.
CHEEKS: Nars Casino + Mac strobe liquid.
LIPS: Beaute 'Girlina' with Barry M (12) 'Strawberry Milkshake' lipgloss + Pastel No14 lip liner.

I hope you had as much fun as I did last night! X

Thursday, 8 July 2010

A Dress? No.

I was looking to buy a dress today and I came home without. Instead I managed to come home with these! Talk about distraction! :)

The item I am most excited about is the 'Mac face and body foundation'. I have wanted it for AGES, I have never tried a Mac foundation as I have always been in love with my Bobbi brown bases. I just applied it and it's beautiful. But, it's not for everybody. It has a very sheer finish and doesn't offer much coverage. It sets after a few seconds but it still leaves a very slight luminous finish that looks like healthy skin and not foundation. It's £23 for 120ml which is HUGE.

I got it in the shade C4 even though my shade is C3 as I will get darker in the next few months. As the formula is so sheer, you can't even tell that it's a tiny bit dark for me.



Lovin' The Pink!

I casually browsed through Superdrug and picked up 'Pink Pixie' blush from Sleek, a lipliner from L'oreal studio secrets, a Barry M lipgloss in 'Strawberry Milkshake' and 'Strawberry Ice cream' nail polish.


  • Pink Pixie is a little chalky, but the tester wasn't which is why I picked it up. It's a semi matte bubblegum pink that applies slightly lighter than it looks. It's quite pigmented and can be layered for intensity.
  • Strawberry Milkshake is a GORGEOUS lipgloss, It goes on quite pigmented but with a nude finish, it's very creamy and moisturising and reminds me a little of Mac cremesheens. It smells like sweets and I love it!

  • The L'oreal pink lipliner is just blah.

See swatches...



I also picked up 2 books.

It's not just about wrinkles by Neal B Schultz M.D - Written by a dermatologist who shares his knowledge on how to perfect your skin tone and texture in 4 weeks.


And a Feng Shui book because I'm getting rather into decorating and moving stuff around.



I also popped into Accessorize and got me this love necklace.


This cute wooden comb...



And these pretty wooden bird earrings.



And here's a beautiful shot of Peanut who loves the carpet on the stairs! :)


What did you buy today?

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Would You Rather...

Here's my answers to the fun would you rather tag! :)

1.Would you rather go out with messy hair and nice make-up or Nice hair and no make-up? Hmmm, I would rather go out with nice hair and no make up but I always do the opposite, I always start my make up first then can't be bothered to do my hair. Hair is SO important!

2.Would you rather shave your eyebrows or have your eyelashes fall out? Oh neither, both are total disasters but I would say eyelashes to fall out as I wouldn't be able to face the world with drawn on eyebrows. I would use false lashes until they grew back.

3.Would you rather be forced to shop at only MAC or Sephora for the rest of your life? Mac, we have no Sephora in the UK.

4.Would you rather wear lipgloss/lipliner look or 80's perm? I would rather wear lipgloss/lipliner as I would be able to wipe it off at night, But an 80's perm? No thank you!

5.Would you rather leave the house with an obvious foundation line or overdone blush? Overdone blush and then I can pretend it was supposed to be like that, I can't stand foundation lines.

6.Would you rather wear MC Hammer pants or biker shorts in public? MC hammer pants, that would be cool.

7.Would you rather have a bad orange-y spray tan or really weird tan lines that can't be covered? Really weird tan lines, no orange for me thanks.

8.Would you rather have a bad haircut or bad hair color? Bad hair colour, I would just dye it back the next day. I can't deal with a dodgy haircut, I would just cry.

9.Would you rather have youtube or twitter taken away forever? Twitter can go.

10. Would you rather give up using makeup brushes or mascara? I would rather give up using brushes, I love mascara!

What would YOU rather do?

Sunday, 4 July 2010

BEAT THE HEAT - Iced Coffee

The main drink that I have been craving lately (besides water and fruit juice) is "iced coffee" that I make myself. Now you can just buy a ready made one, but where's the fun in that?

I am addicted.



Here's how I make 1 large Iced Coffee:

  • Add a heaped spoonful of coffee. (I use Nescafe original)
  • Add 3 spoonfuls of sugar - I have a sweet tooth. (I use brown sugar)
  • Add half a cup of cold milk and stir vigorously (I use skimmed milk)
  • Add half a cup of crushed or cubed ice. (I prefer crushed)
  • Stir again and enjoy!

I add a lot of ice as it cools me down, once I have finished the iced coffee I am left with coffee flavoured ice cubes which taste amazing! The caffeine in the coffee also gives me a nice boost, but use decaff if you are wary.

Try it to beat the heat! :)

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Spotlight on Sigma brushes!

I was sent the Sigma essential brush kit for face and eyes to try a few months ago, I waited a while before I reviewed them to see how they behaved after I used and washed them several times.

Sigma is a brand that has quickly become popular for replicating Mac's brushes. A Mac 187 brush is known as a SS187. Their prices are much more affordable making it more appealing to those trying to save money.

But, the big question is, how good is their quality when priced so low?




There are 12 brushes in the kit priced at $69 which works out at roughly £45. A bargain when you know that a face brush from Mac is approx £30.

How do they compare to Mac?

Take a look, almost identical.

My Mac 168 states it was made in Japan, and the Sigma was made in the US. The Mac is slightly lighter in weight which could be due to the fact that Sigma handles are much longer. Also, I have noticed that the Sigma black handles are slightly glossier than Mac.



The Sigma 168 brush circumference was much smaller than the Mac 168 initially but after washing it expanded in size. With the Sigma 168 I haven't detected a difference in application from the Mac. The hairs are as soft as Mac and overall a great dupe.


The Sigma 187 is a different story, almost every time I wash it blue dye leaks into my sink. The hairs shed even more than the Mac 187 which is very disappointing.


The Sigma 209 is a perfect eyeliner brush, you can see in the picture below how tapered the end is, I love this brush so much that I actually got rid of my Mac one.


One of my favourite Sigma brushes is definitely the SS224, perfect eyeblening brush. I also like the SS150, it's soft and I can use it for multiple things. I use it mainly to apply powder and squeeze the bristles for angular application of blush, bronzer and highlight. However, this brush does shed, which is SO annoying but this happens with even my Mac brushes so I can't complain too much. I have also noticed some blue dye leaking from this one when I wash it too.

I was also sent an eyeshadow in "Indian Girl" which I hated as it's so chalky and powdery and very difficult to blend. I also dislike the patterened hetchmarks, I would not recommend the eyeshadows at all!

Overall, the Sigma brushes are fantastic value for money, I wouldn't say that they are better quality than Mac but they are as good as. I would recommend them to anybody who is looking to build up a brush collection. I found all of the eyeshadow brushes to be brilliant, I don't have one complaint. The face brushes are good too but, would be much better if there was no shedding and leakage of blue dye with the darker haired brushes when washing.

What is your opinion of Sigma brushes?

Click HERE to shop and find out more about Sigma.

Disclaimer: I was sent the brushes for review purposes, I did not get paid to blog about them and I am not affiliated with the brand in any way. This is my honest opinion as always.