Tuesday, 31 January 2012

A Nail Polish Fail...

I'm sure everybody's been there. You read about a product, see it online, in a magazine, you hear about it, its the one shade, one thing that everyones lusting after. You see pictures of it, it looks amazing. You can't get your grubby little hands on it anywhere because its so beautiful, its sold out everywhere you turn.

Then one day it happens, you're casually browsing makeup when you see it, the one thing you've been looking for, the thing that has been so sought after its been out of stock for so long you had nearly forgotten about it. You're happy, you're excited, you can't believe you finally found it. Then you take it home and use it and....the disappointment hits you like a ton of bricks....its meh....its, oh its ok I guess.....its, well, just not that good...honestly...you just don't like it.

This happened to me recently with the fabled Facets of Fuchsia Revlon nail polish. I had seen this polish all over blogs for a while, everyone singing its praises and posting gorgeous looking pictures. It looked like the perfect grown up solution to glitter nail polish. A black base with bright fuchsia glitter. But, it was sold out everywhere I tried. I finally saw it in my local Superdrug last week and just had to buy it.

This is my first Revlon polish and what a let down it is. The formula is...well....crap. One coat looks like this

Look at the state of that! I wasn't expecting such a weak watery black base to it. First impressions, not good. Especially when considering my Illamasqua Glitter and even the Models Own look better on the first coat than this.

I persevered, thinking its because of the dark base mixed with the glitter and I hadn't used a glitter polish with a dark base before. I kept telling myself this, even though I knew, after that first coat, that I wasn't going to like it. This is after 3 coats 

Its far more opaque but its still just...meh...I just don't like it. It didn't look nice at all. I thought maybe the glitter would make the black brighter, you know, that it may look at least something like it does in the bottle. Not for me. You know what it looked like? Kind of like when you turn the brightness down on your television and it goes that kind of dark out of focus way thats hard to look at. I removed it immediately, such was my disdain for this polish.

I wanted to like it, hell, I wanted to love it but it just wasn't to be. Many people seem to love this but I just can't. I wasn't sure if I was going to post this as its such a poor review but I just had to. If anything it shows how something thats loved by so many and is a must have shade, can be a disappointment to some. 

Jill x

Sunday, 29 January 2012

A highlighter made in heaven...

Have you ever wandered innocently past a makeup counter and had something catch your eye, something so gorgeous that you knew, right then and there, you had to own it?

Well that happened to me recently when I passed the Guerlain counter in my local Debenhams and I saw the Meteorites Cruel Gardenia Illuminating Iridescent Powder.

This highlighting powder has been released for the Guerlain Spring 2012 collection. Its a pale pink shimmery highlighter. When I walked past the stand and saw it I just couldn't resist. And when it looks like this can you blame me?

A little over exposed but just look at the gorgeous shimmer! 

Its a beautiful 3d flower shape. Just gorgeous. The picture below shows the 3d effect and also is more accurate in terms of the colour in the pan.

The colour itself is a gorgeous pale pink with a high shine factor. Pigmentation is fair but not that great, its the way that the pale pink colour and the shine work together that make this really special. The highlighting ability of this product is absolutely stunning. You get a beautiful shine but you don't need to use too much product for it.

You can see in the picture above that it doesn't give off much colour - even swatched heavily - but its just got such a gorgeous shine. It was really difficult to get a picture of it that accurately shows the shine - the picture below shows the level of shine. In the picture below its layered over Illamasqua Ambition Powder Blush and I used an Elf Complexion Brush to apply it generously across my cheeks.

Sorry for the half face/eye picture but this shows the lovely level of shine you can achieve.

Lasting power is also great. It actually lasts longer than most of the highlighters that I own, it doesn't melt off my face or become patchy which some highlighters can. 

This is just a stunning product. Its also my first product from Guerlain. I've read a lot in various blogs about this brand and was curious to try it but I guess I didn't think there was anything that was just that special to justify the price. This has totally changed my mind. I will definitely be heading back to have a closer look!

Jill x

Saturday, 28 January 2012

A Cream Blusher Dream...

I've recently entered the world of cream and liquid cheek products. They're not something i've ever really used before and I don't know why. After doing a lot of reading on beauty blogs I finally decided I had to try them and that the way to go should be the Illamasqua Cream Blushes. 

I know, I know, its another Illamasqua product but I just can't help it, they've become one of my absolute favourite brands!

The little beauty I went for is in the shade Dixie. Usually I go for more girlie pinky shades for blusher so this bright coral pink is something different for me. I was a bit unsure about it when the sales girl first showed it to me but as soon as she applied it, I fell in love.

Swatched top and blended out below. As you can see - it can be well blended and isn't as scary as it looks in the pan! The formula is lovely. It only takes a light touch with my finger and a whole lot of product comes off. Its extremely creamy and very easy to blend. Its got a dewy finish which you can't really see in the picture above but its lovely - dewy without being too over the top.

I've been using my Mac 187 brush to apply this. I find tapping this brush in the blush once, twice at most picks up the perfect amount of product and allows me to easily build colour - which is great as I love bright cheeks.I also think this product will last for a while given the small amount of product you need to use. 

I'm in love with this. Like all the Illamasqua products i've tried, the quality is excellent. I urge anyone who is thinking of trying cream cheek products to give this brand a go. Don't be put off by the colour they are in the pan! 

This is also very long lasting. I had my doubts about how long it would last but it really lasts all day. To give you an idea, I put my makeup on at about 6.45am and I get in from work at about 5.20pm and I haven't had to touch this blush up once on any of the days I've worn it. Its really excellent.

Heres a picture of how it looks on my cheeks. This was taken at the end of the day after work. All i've touched up is my lipstick and concealer and I don't have a highlighter on my cheeks - you can see the finish accurately. 

Just for info as well, I'm wearing the Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation in the picture above (which i'm still trying to form an opinion on) as well as the Illamasqua Sheer Lipgloss in Tantrum. Actually, Tantrum also supports my statement that you shouldn't be afraid of the colours in the pan but I'm planning on blogging about that soon so won't say anything else on that right now. 

Illamasqua Cream Blush in Dixie is a wonderful product, pigmented, long lasting and easy to work with, even for someone with really, no experience with cream blushes! I really want to have a look at the other colours that are available for this product and will definitely be re-purchasing this when its finished.

Jill x

Thursday, 26 January 2012

I can't live without a bit of Bumble & Bumble...

Yes, its another hair care post. 

This is the product that I feel has made the most difference to my hair. Its the Bumble & Bumble Creme De Coco Tropical-Riche Masque. 

I had read about this product on numerous blogs long before my hair disaster and had only just started to use it when the disaster struck. Before the chemical damage, this made my hair impossibly soft, silky and just generally gorgeous, I'd definitely recommend it if you want to give your hair a special treat. Now, it makes my hair feel soft, manageable and healthier.

This is an intensive hair mask, designed to be used like all the other hair masks out there - after washing and conditioning as normal, smooth over the hair and leave for 10 minutes or so. What I do with it is separate my hair into sections working from the back to the front and I coat each layer with a generous amount of the product, wrap it up in a towel, leave it on for about half an hour then rinse.

The product itself is gorgeous. Its very thick which makes me feel like i'm using a very rich product. It also smells divine - tropical is the best way to describe it - like coconuts. The scent lingers on my hair all day.

I rotate this with a Fekkai protein mask which I will probably blog about at some point as well. The Fekkai mask is excellent as well but I get a bit wary about using too much protein in my hair. I have enough issues with it snapping as it is. 

This stuff is just amazing. My hair feels so soft and healthy afterwards. It also appears to tangle less when I use this as my intensive conditioner. A few weeks ago I bought some Bumble and Bumble shampoo and conditioner (which I will be blogging about - its amazing!)that has its own hair mask to go with it but instead of buying that, I just picked up another one of this. I just couldn't bear to go without it.

I purchase mine from SpaceNK and it costs £21.50 for 150ml. Again, its not cheap but this has become one of those products I really couldn't go without. I really feel my dry damaged hair is at its best when its this mask I use.

Jill x

Sunday, 22 January 2012

A little Philip Kingsley Miracle...

I've been meaning to do a post about this little beauty for quite a while. I'm a skeptic when it comes to so called "miracle" products. I've tried quite a few that just don't live up to the hype. 

Given the chemical burn that happened in my hair (i've blogged about this quite a few times but the first post about it you can see here) and the resulting hair breakage and just generally awful condition, I have tried quite a number of hair products to try to save and give some life back to my dry withered locks. My hair is continuing to improve. Usually a couple of days after I wash it (i'm currently only washing every Wednesday & Sunday) it starts to kind of crust up again and go dry. Nowhere near the dry brillo pad texture that it was though. Given how far its come since that awful day, I'm planning on doing a few blog posts about the products that I feel have helped me the most as when I was completely lost and heartbroken about it, blogs and youtube videos about good products to use really helped me. 

The first product I want to talk about is the Philip Kingsley Elasticizer. This product has a proper cult following. Its labeled as an "intensive super-moisturising treatment" that promises to "add elasticity, manageability and shine". The package says its suitable for all hair types but pretty much everything I've seen about this product says that it works miracles on hair that is super damaged. It should help to combat breakage and generally improve the condition.

I got the 500ml bottle which cost £47.04 from QVC. I know, I know, its really really expensive. But its sooooo worth it. I've been using it for just over a month now and i have to say that from the first wash, the improvement was so noticeable. My hair felt softer, more manageable and thicker.

This is a pre shampoo treatment. To use, wet your hair and apply. Theres different areas of your hair to concentrate on depending on its length but for me, since my hair is so badly damaged, i just slather a whole lot of it all over my hair! Then, when you're done smoothing it over your hair, cover with the plastic cap that comes with it and leave for 10-20 minutes. I always leave it for about 20 minutes. Then just wash and condition your hair as normal.

I did think it was a bit odd it being a pre shampoo treatment. I don't know how it works or why, all i know is that it really does do the job. I've also noticed less breakage as well. My hair generally looks healthier since I started using it and now when I touch it just after its been done, it actually feels a bit soft! The next day it also still doesn't feel too bad, it just feels like slightly dry hair and not a brillo pad as it previously was! The picture below was taken today after I had washed my hair, let it dry naturally and run the straighteners through it (yes, i'm becoming braver with the straighteners!) You can see the over all look of my hair. What an improvement there has been!

I took pictures of the sides of my head today as well. In my previous posts, these were the areas that I had been photographing which showed really the worst of the damage. You can see, its no longer matting (and doesn't matt even after a few days, it just goes dry). You can also see how much my roots are coming in as well as some of the discolouration that remains from where my hair was stripped of colour with it.

I also pulled my fringe back to show you something I never thought i'd be pleased to see....ROOTS!!

I am just so happy to see it growing in!

I have been being very kind to my hair, letting it air dry when possible, not straightening it often and using intensive treatments etc but I feel that a really big part of the improvement has been down to the Elasticizer. I know its very expensive but given the state my hair was in, I was willing to spend any amount to get it back to something that even resembled human hair again and not just a horrible tangled mess. It also lasts a while so you do get your moneys worth out of it.

Its got a high price tag but this product is definitely worth the hype. It works extremely well. I will definitely be re-purchasing this when its done. Well worth the money!

Jill x

Saturday, 21 January 2012

A wink and a snap...

I was in Debenhams last weekend playing with the Illamasqua makeup and picked up quite a few pieces. They were doing an offer where by you got 2 full size nail polishes for free if you bought 4 or more items. Pretty good considering they usually sell for £13.50 (i believe) each. 

Out of the selection I was given I chose Wink and Snap.

Wink is a polish i've seen on a number of beauty blogs and I believe right now its the polish being offered in the Freak fragrance gift set. Its a gorgeous milky lilac colour. Its a different colour for me to try. I have, in the past, stuck to either stronger colours or very neutral pale ones. I never thought pastel polishes looked good on me, i'm not sure why. Maybe its because I always had horrible bitten nails and i thought it highlighted just how awful they were. Since i've been using the OPI nail envy my nails have grown very quickly and are in pretty good condition. I'm really pleased with them at the moment so what better time to try a colour that I would previously have shied away from. I LOVE this colour. Its a great long lasting formula and is opaque in two coats. It also isn't streaky which i've seen in pastel polishes before

Snap is a deep gun metal grey. Its the same gorgeous formula and opaque in two coats - in fact, you could probably get away with one for this. Its a very deep colour. When I first brought it home I had wondered if i'd picked a colour that was maybe too close to Chanels Graphite to be justified but upon wearing it, its much darker and doesn't have the glitter and sparkle that Graphite does. I don't have another polish like this. Its grey without looking too dull, if you know what I mean. I really like it. The picture below is slightly blurred but it shows the colour accurately.

Yet another win for Illamasqua!

Jill x

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Bronzing with Chanel...

I love Chanel cosmetics. The quality is excellent (bar a certain few nail polishes), the colours are great and they have a talent for introducing products that get a cult following. The following is one of those products. After being sold out online and in my local Debenhams store for what felt like an eternity, I managed to get my hands on the Soliel Tan De Chanel bronzer.

This is a gorgeous cream bronzer. Its packaged in the typical luxury Chanel way in a fairly large but light container.  Another thing that makes it typically Chanel is the price - £29 for 30 grams. 

When you open up the packet you can see the cream bronzer has a lovely swirly pattern on it. Its really tightly compacted. I've started to experiment more with cream products recently and some of the ones i've tried have smooshed really easily under my fingers when I thought I was just tapping lightly. This bronzer doesn't do that. 

I have noticed that I've had to work the brush quite a lot to get any product at all. I've used this with both a Mac 187 (duo fibre face brush) and an Illamasqua angled blusher brush If you want both a defined look with an all over glow, I've found that I get the best result using a combination of both brushes and not just sticking to one. I will say that the Mac 187 picks up a product more easily than the more densely packed angled face brush. With the Mac 187 I find tapping the brush in the product works but with the Illamasqua angled brush swiping it through it works the best.

The picture below shows the bronzer swatched then blended

I really like this bronzer. I'm very very VERY pale and when its properly blended in with all my other make up it gives me a really natural looking glow. You really don't need much product to get a great effect with this so I think it will last for ages. I'm happy that i've found a bronzer that works for me and looks natural. £29 for a bronzer is a pretty hefty price to pay. Is it worth it? Isn't Chanel always?

Jill x

Monday, 16 January 2012

Lovely Leighton Denny...

I was playing around with my nail polishes the other day and came across this little lovely - The Heiress by Leighton Denny

This is a lovely blue tinged purple colour. Its great quality. The above picture was taken with 2 coats and was fully opaque. Its not streaky either. Wear time is excellent with all Leighton Denny polishes that i've tried, usually 3-4 days without chipping.

I also had a play around with a new Models Own nail polish that I got - Juicy Jules. This is the first models own polish i've ever owned. I've seen this on a fair few other blogs and so wanted to give it a try. Its a gorgeous silver glitter. The picture below shows it layered over The Heiress

It was super hard to get a picture of this one and this was the best I could do. I really like the look it gives. Juicy Jules is quite a thick formula so it was pretty hard to try to get just a sweep of glitter over the top. Its a look i've been able to achieve with ease with Illamasquas Spartan glitter but this one is trickier to work with. I'm not sure how this would hold up on its own without some sort of base colour as I get the feeling it would take a lot of coats to make it opaque. 

Bottom line is, I love the Leighton Denny, I LIKE the Models Own. I'm not sure that I would purchase another Models Own glitter - maybe if it was in the sales!

Jill x

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

The Art of Powdered Metal...

I recently treated myself to Illamasqua Powdered Metal in Ether. This product was released as part of the Art of Darkness collection in 2010 and is designed to be applied as a highlighter to give either a light glow or can be built up to produce whats described on the website as an "extreme metallic finish". 

The product itself is a super finely milled yellow powder with the tiniest glitter particles. 

I love this product but can you guess what my one criticism of it is from the picture above? It doesn't have any kind of guard over the holes on the top so the product gets everywhere! Being so finely milled, the product just pours out of the top of it which isn't great if you ever want to take it anywhere! I had it in my handbag and when I took the lid off, it was everywhere. 

This is a relatively minor complaint though. When applied the product does what it says on the tin. For me, it provides an intense highlight. Although it contains glitter, when blended out, I couldn't make out any glitter on my cheeks, it just made me glow. I'm still playing around with this in terms of how natural I can make it. The picture below shows it swatched then blended out. It was difficult to capture the glitter and the glow this gives but you get the idea...

It should be noted that even blended, this does have a yellow tinge to it so caution should be exercised in terms of the amount used. You only need to use a tiny amount so I think this will last a while. I think this product would be an excellent way to add sheen anywhere on the body.

The product also comes with a puff that you can use to apply it. I haven't used this but I think it would be a good way to apply this across the chest if thats kind of things your bag. I think that if applied thicker to the body than i was using on my face the glitter would be noticeable and it would be a great way to add some sparkle and sheen before a night out.

All in all, love this highlighter. As with all Illamasqua products its definitely worth a look if you're looking for a product thats a bit different.

Jill x

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Lovely Laura Mercier...

I got this little beauty in the SpaceNK sale. Its the Laura Mercier Day to Night Neutrals Collection. I picked this up for £37 down from £75.  The kit contains:

  • Foundation Primer (30ml)
  • Full Blown Volume Mascara in Black (full size)
  • Lip Gloss in Mystic Mauve (full size)
  • Eye Shadow Duos in Sheer Topaz/Primrose & Sparkling Dew/Celestial
  • Blush in Petal Pink
  • Kohl Eye Pencil in Stormy Gray
  • Mini Cheek Colour Brush
  • Double Ended Pony Tail/Crease Brush
Pretty good kit isn't it? The whole thing comes in the lovely gun metal grey bag pictured above. The bag itself feels very high quality and has 2 compartments. A large compartment in the top and a smaller one at the bottom that holds the eye liner and 2 brushes - 

As for the other makeup, here's a little picture of it 

I was most excited to try the foundation primer. I have a bit of a thing for primer, I'm constantly on the search for the one. I usually use the Bare Minerals one which is excellent but i've been really impressed with the Laura Mercier. Its a watery consistency in comparison to Bare Minerals which is gel. It goes on the skin really nicely, you only need a tiny bit and dries to a nice smooth consistency. It makes my skin feel silky soft. My makeup does last well with this and it doesn't seem to melt off my face as the day goes on. I do still need to touch up mid afternoon but overall i'm very pleased. I will definitely be purchasing the full size version of this .

The eye shadow duos and the blush come in a lovely palette. Again the packaging is lovely. The inside is pictured below

From left to right - Sparkling Dew/Celestial, Petal Pink Bush and Sheer Topaz/Primrose. The quality of these is outstanding. They feel soft and buttery to the touch. Lasting power is great and they don't fade at all. Colour pay off is also nice. They're quite sheer but are easily buildable.  They're swatched in the same order in the picture below

I really love the lip gloss. In the tube this looks like it would be quite pink and has a micro glitter but on the lips its a lovely natural my lips but better colour. I'm really pleased with it. It's got a non sticky formula which is great and it smells mildly like toffee too which is lovely

That's really all I've played with in the kit. I haven't really used the eye liner or the mascara yet so I can't really judge on their effectiveness.

All in all this has been a great purchase. Excellent value for money considering what the kit usually goes for and it's been a really nice way for me to try some products from a brand that I've been curious about. What i've used so far from the kit i've really liked and I can see myself buying again.

Jill x

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

NARS Nails...

Just a little post to show off this lovely polish. Its Schiap by Nars. Its a gorgeous bright pink. See for yourself

I got this polish last year as part of the Tainted Love gift set that came with a lip gloss and multiple in Angelika. I love this polish. The formula is pretty standard on this one, about 3 days until there is tip wear/chips. Since its the only NARS polish I own I can't say if they're all like this. Its not one i've worn for a while mostly because i'm a nail biter and i don't think a colour this bright looks good on tiny stubby bitten nails....not that any colour really does.

I'm hoping to get more use out of this as i've started the OPI Nail Envy and Avoplex system in the hopes of improving my nail strength and therefore length. I'm also a biter of the skin around my nails...i know, horrible isn't it? But i'm trying to stop and i'm hoping that if the general health of my nails & cuticles is good then it will help stop me from biting them. I'll probably do a post on the Nail Envy when I have a fair idea of how well it works. So far so good though!

Jill x

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Spun Satin...

Today I want to talk about the Tigi S-Factor Spun Satin Styling Souffle. This product was recommended to me by my new hair dresser as a miracle product that would help to tame my fried chemically damaged hair into something resembling a hair style. I'm a bit dubious when someone claims something is a "miracle" product as it rarely lives up to the hype but in this case, she was spot on.

S-Factor is Tigis prescriptive range of hair care products which are designed kind of as super charged hair products. Most of them are designed with damaged hair in mind. This particular little gem is a styling product which can be used in wet or dry hair. You only need a teeny tiny amount of this, like size of a pea teeny tiny and this should be worked through the lengths. My hair dresser said that normally this shouldn't be put near to the roots as it can make hair lank but because my hair is so damaged it should be ok as it is just absorbing products like a sponge. I do keep the majority of the product to the ends though.

Looking at the texture of this its easy to see that if too much of this is used, the hair will become lank and sticky. The product is sticky itself and is very thick. It has a faint smell thats kind of aftershave-ey which I quite like.

I have to say that this product really does work miracles on my hair. It makes my hair look sleek, shiny and feel soft, things I didn't think I'd be able to say about my hair for a long long time. 

It says on the tub that this product is great for those with wavy hair as it can help to define the waves and hold them. I'm one of those people with weird hair - its straight on the top and wavy at the bottom. I actually think this product helps to keep my hair straight. I've straightened it a couple of times and since i've started using this I find that my hair is also easier to straighten.

Its also generally more manegable. Don't get me wrong, I still get the matting after a few days but this is a great product at, at least, making my hair appear normal, and feel it for a little while. I haven't used this on dry hair as I think it would weigh it down too much, i've been using the S-Factor Smoothing Lusterizer on my dry hair to tame the broken bits at the top of my head.

I'd recommend this to anyone who wants to give their hair a decadent treat. If memory serves me right it costs around £15ish for the tub which contains 75g of product. Its not the cheapest thing but considering how effective it is and the tiny amount of product you need to use, its worth it.

Jill x