Posts tagged ‘review’

November 26, 2013

Hello again! Mineral makeup, anyone?

After having taken such a huge break from blogging, I’m just going to post something normal that will let me pretend that I’ve been here the whole time! I now work at the Body Shop, and a big part of my job is putting makeup on anyone who stands still long enough that I can catch them. It’s really fun, and it also lets me practise my makeup skills as well as allowing me to work with different kinds of products that I would otherwise have to buy and test for myself. I’m writing about a Body Shop foundation today, but this is just because I happen to use it on clients a lot; I’ve not been asked to write this, and my only motivation is that I wanted to mention it for myself. My boss doesn’t even know I have a blog!

A big deal at the Body Shop is mineral makeup. Obviously, as a more ethical and responsible company, the Body Shop want to be sure that they aren’t giving people lots of nasty ingredients that will be bad for their skin; the ‘Extra Virgin Minerals’ mineral foundation is made of 5 mineral ingredients, so it’s nice and simple (and talc free). The main reason that I like it though, is that it actually comes in a pale enough colour for my face! This is depressingly rare, as many of my pale-skinned sisters will attest. Clearly, it’s not offensive in the way that failing to cater for ladies & gents with much darker skin is offensive, but it is a royal pain in the behind sometimes when makeup companies or retailers think that everyone in the world is some variant of ‘medium beige’. So it’s nice to be able to give light-skinned girls a really pretty makeover that’s right for them, rather than trying to fob them off with orange stuff.

The coverage is medium, but buildable if you really work the product hard. It isn’t as full coverage as bareMinerals powder, not quite, but it feels lighter on the skin, which I know for a lot of people is a worthy tradeoff. I do prefer a fuller coverage personally, and it doesn’t quite glide onto the skin in the same way as more expensive mineral powders, but it is definitely adequate for most people. The packaging is the same, and contains the same 5g of product with a plastic sifter in the top. It’s just as messy when you’re in a hurry in the morning, which never fails to annoy me, but that’s probably my own fault!

On me, it stays quite matte for quite a long time. Again, this is impressive in comparison with the bareMinerals matte (which I also currently own), as this product doesn’t keep its promise for very long. Admittedly, I work hard under strong lights, so someone who isn’t always hot might not find it melts so much, but the Body Shop powder definitely stays put longer on me. (For example, I’ll work for a bit, then touch up with Body Shop mineral powder, then not have to touch up again for a LOT longer.)

Finally, I don’t feel that it clogs my pores or does anything bad to my skin, which is great as I am a bit acne-prone these days. I like a matte finish all year round, but especially in the autumn and winter, and oddly enough this is the time of year when I often reach for my mineral makeup. I think perhaps it’s because you get up in the dark, do your makeup in funny light, and don’t want anything complicated or tricky! Or maybe that’s just me (I’m almost impossible to drag from my duvet in these winter months). 

I apologise for the lack of a proper photo, but this stock photo of the product will have to do for now. Anyway, I think the Body Shop Extra Virgin Minerals powder foundation is a great option for those who need something gentle for their skin, but prefer a matte finish and the ease of a throw-it-on powder that lasts on the skin. Also, it sells for £15 on the website, which is a reasonable price for a midrange foundation that should last you a good 5 months even with a lot of use. 

 

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July 28, 2012

I am alive, I promise – and I have Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra 24h

image from lancome.com

I am really excited.

For the first time in a couple of years, I have a proper high-end foundation (that isn’t MAC – I am not a fan of their foundations really and wouldn’t consider it ‘high end’, as it’s a pro brand) – I splashed out and got the new formula Lancôme Teint Idole. It’s all the fault of the wonderful RaeView on YouTube, as I watched her review of it and instantly knew I wanted to return to my previous love, Lancôme.

As a student I bought quite a few foundations, but all of them from Superdrug or Boots. As my debut into makeup at the tender age of 15 or so was pretty much all high-end stuff (not that I was rich, far from it; my mum just refused to buy me cheap things!) I expect a lot from my foundations, and have never found a drugstore one that met my requirements. In general they feel awful on the skin – you can never forget that you’re wearing them – and they almost never come in a pale enough shade for me. My main problem with them other than shade is that they always feel like a layer of oil or ick on my face, even if they are in fact oil-free; a case in point is the MaxFactor Xperience Weightless foundation, which is indeed weightless but still feels greasy and sweaty on my face. (Sorry for the gross imagery there!) Teint Idole sinks into my skin making it feel unbelievably soft and lovely, without me actually really noticing that I have makeup on at all.

Lancôme have restored my faith in my face. (That’s catchy; I like it!) The new Teint Idole holds up well even in the heat that we’ve been experiencing lately, and doesn’t have any kind of mask-like look to it despite its pretty decent coverage. One thing that I’ve missed about high-end foundations is that you can generally just stick a bit more under your eyes to conceal dark circles and they do the job without looking cakey or even detectable. As long as I didn’t have tons of blemishes, I’d rather have a high-end foundation than a high-end concealer for this reason.

It smells gorgeous and fairly posh, another thing that I’ve missed. I really feel that my makeup should feel luxurious and exciting when you use it; even if you don’t like scents, the beautiful packaging will do this for you. I want to feel like the lady in the YSL or Lancôme adverts who clearly lives her life among lovely perfume bottles and sleek lipstick bullets, wearing exquisitely tailored clothes, even if I can’t actually be her. Obviously if you are sensitive to scent this point won’t be a plus for you, but as a general rule I think it’s fab.

The finish, as I kind of mentioned, is not mask-like but actually semi-matte. It does make a vague attempt to be matte, but it leaves the skin looking luminous at the same time – super oily skins may need to powder this foundation, which is fair enough in my opinion. I don’t bother to powder it as I like the finish and it works OK with my skin type. I wouldn’t say that the luminosity would rule anyone out though; even a few years ago when my skin was much oilier, I think I could have worn this one without any problems.

Basically there’s not much more I can say! Unlike so many of my other foundations (except my powder ones, I always seem to use those up) I think I will reach for this on an almost daily basis, and I can definitely see myself needing to repurchase when I eventually get to the bottom. Ooooh, that reminds me – one final brilliant thing about this foundation, and about most high-end ones that I’ve tried is that a little goes a long long long long long long way! To compare with the Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum foundation, when applied with the same brush, I would use half the amount of the Lancôme and get more coverage out of it. Draw your own conclusions.

I am back in the Lancôme fold, and I love it. I don’t know why I ever left (er, actually I do – the love of my life set me back £27)! However, now that I’ve remembered how wonderful it is, and how much money I must have wasted on cheaper foundations, I don’t regret it for a second. LOVE.

April 18, 2012

Review: Maxfactor False Lash Effect 24 Hour

Without any intro whatsoever, I can tell you that Maxfactor have just broken my heart.

Maxfactor’s False Lash Effect original mascara is my favourite of all time, Holy Grail, whatever you want to say. I mean, I LOVE that stuff. Knowing that no matter what kind of rubbish mascara I test out, there’s always the Maxfactor to return to, and that it’ll always be exactly what I want, is really comforting! (OK, I may be slightly too emotionally attached..!) If the unthinkable happens, and it’s out of stock, I’ll just buy the Masterpiece Max – it’s almost as good.

I just spent £11.99 on this new formula and it really hurts me that I did so. I was excited about it, thinking that it could only be an improvement on my favourite, and so happily started applying it, humming a little tune as I did so. (I’m actually not making that up for effect, I hum all the time.) But then I was confused. I’d just applied some, and my lashes looked…worse. Worse than purely natural. Oh well, I must just need to wiggle it more…But nope, still nothing. In fact, my lashes were clumping together – something that I thought would be impossible with the False Lash Effect brush – and there was no volume, no length, no curl, no nothing.

It doesn’t do anything. At all. Just to check that I wasn’t going mad, I applied my Revlon 3D Extreme to my other eye – and bam, perfect lashes. By comparison, my Maxfactor eye looked like the efforts of a 13-year-old who’s nicking her mum’s old dried out Maybelline. (That’s meant to be an insult, I hate Maybelline.) Awful!

I’m going to keep trying; I refuse to give up in one go on something that should be amazing. I’ll use it tomorrow, I’ll pump it like crazy to dry out the very wet formula, I’ll try my best to make it work. But I have to say: Maxfactor have deeply disappointed me with this, and I’m not sure how long it’ll take me to forgive them.

1.5 stars, because it hasn’t fallen off yet, and it is at least as black as it should be.

 

April 17, 2012

Review: Revlon Colourstay Eyeshadow Palettes

These palettes are fairly new – new enough that they still have the red sticker on them telling me that they’re new! – and I picked two of them up on the 3 for 2 deal in Boots with a L’Oreal gel eyeliner. The two I bought are called Brazen and Inspired; Brazen has a pale yellow, a peachy pink, a bronze-brown and a darker brown. Inspired has a white highlighting colour, a fairly bright green, a sky blue, and a dark purplish-navy liner colour. I’ll stick the photos in, but as I’m about to trash these, I won’t bother to swatch.

Brazen; image from thedailyswatch.blogspot.co.uk

Revlon Inspired

Sorry, I know those photos are uneven sizes, but you get the idea.

So anyway, I was super excited because they look so pretty in the pans! They are slightly shimmery but it’s quite subtle, so they looked to be exactly what I was after, in gorgeous springtime colours! However, as soon as I got them home to try out, I realised that they have absolutely no pigment to them whatsoever. Seriously, they hardly show up at all, even when I really layer on the shadow. I was SO disappointed, especially as I bought these during the freak flash of summertime that we experienced here in the UK and I was really enthusiastic about my spring colours!

I would seriously recommend giving these a miss. I’ve read mixed reviews, so much so that I actually suspect that some palettes are ok and some are duds quality-wise. It just doesn’t make sense that some people find the colours come up really well and others can’t see them at all!
However, pigmentation isn’t the only issue. From the texture I highly doubt that these last the advertised 16 hours, I think you’d probably be pretty lucky to get 8 hours out of them without a very good primer underneath. Also, I hear terrible things about glitter migrating all over the face.

I can’t give these any more than 1 star. (They haven’t fallen apart, spontaneously burst into flames, etc. but don’t actually do anything other than fill up my eyeshadow box.) Sadly, I’m  binning them.

April 5, 2012

Review: Coryse Salomé Renaissance Multi-Vitamin Cream

White round pot of face cream

image from cheapsmells.com

I bought this cream at a massive discount from http://www.cheapsmells.com (the picture is a link) – it’s RRP is £25, and I got it for £7.95. Coryse Salomé is a luxury French brand that specialise in anti-aging skincare, and although I’d like to think that 21 and a half is a little too early to be concerned about anti-aging stuff, I wanted to try this brand (especially at such a good price!) and so I bought something that said it was suitable for all skin types.

It has a lovely light texture, and also has a gorgeous smell. It’s not a natural smell though, so if that kind of thing bothers you then you probably won’t appreciate this product. It does feel quite rich to me, not too much so at the moment, but I would definitely say that oily skin or even the oilier side of combination skin should stay well away! I use this as a night cream only, and it does leave a bit of a shiny layer on my face when I’ve applied it. I’m not the biggest fan of this, but I can get over it – it does make my skin feel well-cared for, at least! However, when I wake up, my skin always looks amazing. My skintone seems more even; my face feels comfortable, as though I only want to apply my lightest gel moisturiser; basically, I feel like this stuff leave me with “tinted moisturiser skin” in the morning, rather than “oh dear reach for the Revlon Colourstay” skin! I suspect that the anti-aging stuff in it does have tightening properties, as my face feels so smooth and even and…different.

I love this cream! I’m seriously considering buying a backup, as cheapsmells.com seem to mainly sell things that are old stock, or discontinued – I don’t want to run out of this! 5 stars.

* * * * * 🙂

March 19, 2012

Alert! Sin Binning An Entire Range!

The Body Shop – Seaweed range.

The last 2 days, my skin has been going crazy. At first, I thought it was because of my Boots No.7 tinted moisturiser – and I was about to be very upset! But then I realised what it was. It was the last item I have left from the Body Shop Seaweed line; the “Pore Perfector”.

I bought a couple of things from this line a few years ago, and they all irritated, broke out, or actually burnt my skin. The pore perfector never seemed to provoke a reaction, so I kept it – but I hardly ever used it. This weekend, I used it 3 days in a row and this is the result! Lots of tiny little spots that are clearly a reaction, rather than a spontaneous breakout, and only in the places I used this product. I’m very upset as my skin has been near-perfect for months now, and this feels like a regression back to the days when I couldn’t go outside without a thick layer of Revlon ColourStay to cover my skin. Those were not fun days. My self-esteem was terrible.

All I have to say is, stay away from the Body Shop Seaweed line! I do not have sensitive skin at all, and I hardly ever react to anything. But now every single item I’ve bought from this range has caused seriously negative responses from my skin. I can only recommend that you really steer clear. However, I know that some people will not react in this way, or may even like it – of course, or it wouldn’t have got through testing. But I would tell my friends not to buy it, and so I’m telling you guys too!

I don’t like panning products as comprehensively as this, but sometimes…it just has to be done!

March 15, 2012

Review: Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain

Black and gold square lipstick tube  Black and gold square tube of lipstick

top image from yslbeauty.co.uk

I am in love. Totally. This stuff is, to coin a phrase, the bomb! It’s exactly what it says on the tin – a lip stain which is also a gloss. It goes one step further than all those high street brands that have a lip stain pen and a lipbalm on the other end, like Revlon’s, though that’s a great idea. But this combines the two into one product, and it’s amazing!

It goes on feeling like a thin gloss, and it almost feels a little patchy when first applied, especially as you have to be sure not to apply too much. But once you rub your lips together a bit, the texture begins to change, feeling thicker and settling down in consistency. It isn’t exactly sticky – nowhere near the texture of Soap & Glory’s Sexy Mother Pucker – but it’s tacky enough to have real staying power, and of course, the colour payoff is beautiful.

Obviously, the top image is the one from the YSL website, and the bottom one is the colour I own, #7. (Notice my own picture! I have a cable so I can actually use my own photos! Joy! 🙂 ) I love this colour, it’s a beautifully natural coral that I would be totally comfortable wearing on an everyday basis, yet can be built up a little for stronger colour payoff.

This stuff has a very long wear, as you might expect for something that’s marketed as a stain. Overall, this product is totally fabulous and YSL have really got it right here. It does everything you want and everything it promises – easily 5 stars!

I bought this for full price (shock horror) after seeing the wonderful RaeView’s* video featuring them. I also bought the colour she recommended, not because I’m a sheep (baaaa) but because I could tell it was exactly what I was after. I don’t regret it for a second!

*links to the video I mention, but underneath the video is also a link to her blog – check it out 🙂

March 11, 2012

Review: SkinFood Peach Sake BB Cream

Pink tube of BB cream

image from bbcreamboutique.com

In my endless search for a good tinted moisturiser, I have of course been trying out a BB cream or two. In my previous post I wrote about the new UK Garnier version – this one, however, is the genuine article. SkinFood are a South Korean brand, which is where the whole BB cream craze started, and they make a huge number of different products along these lines. I bought this one from yesstyle.co.uk, who provide the UK and USA with products shipped from Asia.

Firstly, I was absolutely over the moon when I first got this baby out of the box – the shade is right for my skin! In fact, it’s a lot more close to my skin tone than many products that are made for the UK, so that was a revelation. I am a very loyal yesstyle.co.uk customer now that I know so many Asian products cater for my skin colour – seriously, if you’re as pale as I am, look into it. The second thing that I liked was that even though it looks like a tube, it actually has a pump top attached, which is much less messy and generally very convenient. It also dispenses the right amount of product, as you don’t need much of this stuff – another plus in my book. The product smells yummy, although the scent is very synthetic, so if you’re not a fan of nice-smelling things, this could put you off. However, it’s a very light scent, and is definitely not noticeable at all once the cream is on the skin.

The coverage of this BB cream is fantastic – better than the Garnier version, and much greater than any tinted moisturiser I’ve tried. I’d definitely say it’s on the foundation coverage scale, which I’m pleased about. It feels very nice on the skin; not drying, as I feared (it mentions “pore” and “sebum” somewhere) and not oily either, managing to give a nice finish without shine or flaky patches! There’s also an SPF of 20 which is obviously a major plus. It wears for a really long time, even without being set with powder. In fact, I went out earlier and suddenly had a panic when I realised I didn’t have my face powder on me – then thought “Oh never mind, at least I have my Peach Sake BB cream on!” which proves how much confidence I place in it!

Overall, a very nice product indeed. It was a little painful paying the £16 for it, but I certainly don’t regret it now that I know what it’s like, and I would strongly consider repurchasing when I run out. Could definitely become something I rely on! 5 stars! Yay! 🙂

March 10, 2012

Review: Garnier BB Cream

So I lied, I didn’t post as soon as I said. Sorry! In my defence, I had a job interview to prepare for – it’s all done, as of this morning, so here I am! *puff of smoke, jazz hands, etc.*

The first thing I’ll talk about is the Garnier BB Cream, I know a lot of people have been talking about it recently as it was among the first of the UK/chemist brands to jump on the BB bandwagon. I’ve heard a lot of bad things about this product, but I’m actually quite impressed, given that it’s relatively affordable and manages to come in a shade that’s more or less similar to the colour of my face! (This is rarer than you might think!)

Aside from the “light” shade actually being wearable for me, I really love the smell of this product (though for those who dislike/are allergic to scented products, you might want to steer clear). I just think that having a nice light scent can really enhance the enjoyment factor in using a product and makes me feel that it’s good quality – totally all in my mind, I know, but still!
Coverage-wise, it’s not at all bad; it probably has more coverage than the lightest foundations that I own. This is a plus, but it does come at a slight price. I do find that I can feel this stuff on my face; nothing major, certainly not like having a full face of high-coverage foundation + powder, but it’s not the unnoticeable light dream I was hoping for! It may be due to the fact that Garnier are trying to cater to many different skin types with this cream, and so what is perfect for someone else is a little oily on my face. I just don’t feel that it fulfils the “moisture” part of the BB cream promise for me; rather than moisturising, it sits on my skin in a layer like a light foundation. The finish is nice though, especially when first applied, so I’m not complaining too hugely about it.

The wear time is not amazing, partly because of my personal experience of it being slightly too oily – it has a tendency to rub off quickly. (Not visibly or onto anything – it just doesn’t stay.) Basically this stuff is lovely if you want a natural, nearly makeup free day, but if you’re going to be out all day at work with no chance to touch up your makeup I’d reconsider. However, someone whose skin suited the product more may not have such issues.

I’m still glad I got it, and I will continue to use it, but it’s not going to become a staple. 3*!

February 28, 2012

Inital Impressions: Elizabeth Arden Sheer Lights Tinted Moisturiser

My tinted moisturiser quest is still going on, as I’ve been disappointed by all those I’ve tried so far, including the shock failure of Vichy’s Lumineuse Sheer Radiance. (More on that story later.) I am determined to find a tinted moisturiser that I like, that isn’t Laura Mercier – I’ve never tried this mythical product, but I’m a student and I simply refuse to spend that much. There has to be something else out there that I will get along with!

My dearest, most loyal friend eBay recently supplied me with this – the Elizabeth Arden Sheer Lights TM – for many fewer pounds than it would have cost me at RRP. (I may have gone on a slight eBay TM spree, actually.) It arrived today, and so of course I had to try it out immediately. This is the highest-end TM I’ve used so far, and I have to say, I’m actually quite impressed. I’ve become almost jaded and cynical, expecting every product to be bright orange and hideous, but this is actually a rather normal, non-scary beige colour. Of course, it’s not quite as light as I’d like, but nothing ever is. It blends in well, and the colour looks entirely natural on my skin. A little of this baby goes a long way, which I’m pleased about too. Value for money is a big deal! Another bonus is the SPF 15 that it contains.

One of my pet gripes about TM in general is that it’s either a moisturiser or a tint, but rarely both, and hardly ever a good both. This is at least a decent moisturiser for my skin. I did apply an extremely light gel moisturiser 5 minutes beforehand, because I would usually anyway, especially as it’s winter, but the Elizabeth Arden could probably have held its own without that. It sank in moderately quickly, which is actually what I like – too fast and it’s not doing the job – and my skin now feels soft and supple, but not at all oily. In fact, it feels like I have nothing on – which is one of the key things I want a TM to do. So, it wins there!

Ladies who want good coverage are obviously not going to be interested in this product anyway, but I have to say that it has evened out my skin tone very well, much more efficiently than my Stila product. It has also given me a slight touch of natural colour, which I’m surprised and pleased by. Honestly, if it was orangey or too dark, I would be the first person to complain – it isn’t at all. It’s just…nice.

Now for the “lights” part. It is illuminating, and if that’s what you’re after, it does its job really very well. It is subtle, but effective. I am not a huge fan of shimmer in my products, and there is some in this, there’s no denying it. However, it’s not scary-Twilight-vampire-Revlon-Photoready glitter. It just makes your skin glow. I like this, though I thought I wouldn’t – another win for Lizzie Arden there. I might dab a bit of powder across my forehead to tone it down a little, but it’s not necessary, just personal preference.

I can’t say how it wears yet, of course. From the feel on my skin, I’m expecting a little shine to break through later, but that it’ll generally wear quite well and problems will be very minimal. Until my Boots No. 7 TM arrives, this one is definitely the winner! (Not that the competition is particularly stiff; I’ve had to give away the last 2 I’ve tried!)

Yay, tinted moisturiser! I genuinely feel that my skin looks nice today because of this product. I hope it lasts!

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