Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The Case of the Vanishing Overspray


Well hello there limited edition blush in Sakura from MAC’s spring 2011 Quite Cute Collection.  How are you doing these days?  What’s that?  You’re not the blush you once were?  You’ve been feeling much paler lately?  Hmm, this calls for further investigation…

Sakura is not one of my favourite blushes but I quite like the colour and I want to get my money’s worth so I’ve been using it quite regularly lately.  This week the pink heart design started fading away in the middle and now there’s a gaping hole in it as it’s actually only an overspray that goes down just a couple of millimeters in the design.  This means that when the heart runs out the colour of the blush is going to change completely – which I find really, really annoying!



Above: 1 – central heart; 2 – surrounding colour; 3 – both shades mixed

I currently use this product by swirling a big fluffy kabuki brush over the entire surface, so I end up with a shade like 3 above which I lightly buff across my cheeks, but once the heart has been used up I’ll be left with a much lighter, more lilac pink shade. I find it almost “insincere” that this product is changing colour after I’ve already used it so much and grown fond of the shade I’ve grown used to.  Does anyone else get annoyed by fading oversprays, or is it just me??

Shop MAC, Cook MAC: Flaunting It

I am on a MAC cooling-off period at the moment but I did buy a few items earlier this spring that I haven’t gotten round to featuring on the blog yet.  Anyway today I finally got round to taking some pics of one of my favourite items, a Kissable Lip Colour in the shade Flaunting It.

The Shop MAC, Cook MAC products came in special edition colourful packaging…


which I really dislike!  It’s not the design but rather the fact that it’s actually just an additional cardboard sleeve which contains the normal black MAC cardboard packaging anyway and I really dislike excess packaging!  I know I’m not in a good position to start moaning about excess consumption given the amount I shop but still there’s just no need, there’s just no need.


For £16.50 you get 5g of product.  It’s not a lot.  The tube is very thin and comes with a largely unspectacular doe foot applicator.


The texture is very creamy and moisturising, but not at all sticky or thick.  It’s easy to apply using the doe foot applicator and I have to say that it lasts pretty well.  If I pop this on on the bus to work then it sees me through to lunchtime no bother.

I really like the colour, which is a purple/mauve shade that I could see myself wearing all round the year.



All in all I quite like this product but I am I alone in thinking that the pricing is crazy?  I wanted to try it out to see if there was something spectacular about it, but there really isn’t so personally I can’t see myself buying this again.  I know that MAC has a massive fan base and is often described as good value or affordable but personally I really can’t see what all the fuss is about.  Maybe it is more affordable in America where this lip product does not cost three times the minimum hourly wage?  I just don’t know!

H&M Summer 2012 Lipstick in Pink Sea Shell

I will admit, I did just buy this lipstick because I thought the packaging was cool!  H&M have a range of lipsticks out this summer in tubes that match a selection of the prints of their summer 2012 clothes collection.  I went for this nude pink shade as at £1.99 I wasn’t expecting the quality to be great so I decided to go for a colour that could fade gracefully.


I find the colour very ‘90s…it reminds me of the nude lipstick that Pamela Anderson used to wear actually!  It’s quite a shiny, sheer light coral pink.  I tend to pop some on when I’m on the bus to work in the mornings and it tends to have faded away by my second cup of morning coffee around 11am.  The formula is very moisturing and shiny so I guess it has a high oil content.



Maybe worth checking out if you’re interested in a cheap and cheerful light coral lippie for summer, but best skipped if you need something with a bit of staying power and you’re willing to pay more.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

MAC In Extra Dimension

I would like to start this post with a disclaimer that what you are about to see does represent a horrendous amount for me to have spent on make-up at one time, but what can I say?  I was feeling quite stressed the week I bought all of this and buying make-up calms me down!!

MAC released a collection called In Extra Dimension about a month ago which comprised three Skin Finishes, ten eyeshadows, and a couple of brushes.  They’re mostly still available online so if you’re interested in this collection there’s still time to check it out.  I was quite interested after seeing the initial promotional pics and the trickle of initial reviews on the blogosphere so I thought I’d pick up a couple of items.  Well, in the end I bought three eyeshadows (£16.50 each) and a skinfinish (£20.50) then sat there wondering how long I’d have to skim a bit off my lunch money each day to pay for it all lol.  These products are ridiculously expensive but at the time I had to have them.  Anyway onto some pics.



Genuine MAC products never have the shade name printed on the box; instead they have a sticker with the shade name on it, as with the box above. The containers themselves also have a sticker on the back with the shade name.

Above, clockwise from left: eyeshadow in Grand Galaxy, skinfinish in Whisper of Gilt, eyeshadow in Havana, eyeshadow in Modern Pewter.

Below, clockwise from top: eyeshadows in Modern Pewter, Grand Galaxy and Havana.


The colours are all quite neutral and all are very shiny.  The product comes in an interesting raised wave design on the lower half with the letters MAC pressed into the top half.  It looks pretty cool on the products when they’re new…


Above: Havana eyeshadow


Above: Modern Pewter eyeshadow


Above: Whisper of Gilt skinfinish

As you can see from the photos above, the smooth texture of the design is tarnished from the first use of the product, and I don’t think it actually looks attractive at all the way it wears.  It looks crusty and as if it’s oxidising…not very appetising at all!

Below you can see how Grand Galaxy looked brand new and after one finger swipe that I made to do a swatch.  The MAC writing has clearly been erased where my finger touched the product.


Anyway, packaging and design is one thing; how do these products actually wear on the skin?  Here are swatches on my arm.

Left to right: Whisper of Gilt, Modern Pewter, Havana, Grand Galaxy


The consistency of all the products is smooth and creamy. They are in fact being marketed as a new gel-to-powder formula…hmm, whatever.  Me, Modern Pewter and Havana have gotten along just fine each time I’ve worn them to date – the colour in the swatches above is how they appear on me when worn as eyeshadow and I have no issues with application or wear.  They last fine all day over a primer.  I like Modern Pewter in particular as it’s quite an unusual colour, an olive gold, and I don’t really have anything similar in my collection already.  Grand Galaxy I just can’t comment on as I haven’t worn it yet.

Whisper of Gilt however is a disaster on me.  I can’t even get it to last four hours on my combination skin.  I can see it when I apply it in the mornings, then by lunchtime it’s just totally disappeared.  It’s annoying and frustrating given how much I paid for it and I actually wish I hadn’t bought it.  I know that not every brand can make all of its products into hits for everybody and I had read practically nothing about this product but glowing reviews from other bloggers but with products as expensive as these it’s really not something I want to be bitten by twice.  For this reason I’m kind of sick of MAC at the moment and the inconsistent quality of the products that I’ve tried and I’m not going to be picking anything else up from them for a while.  Not that I haven’t already got enough products to keep me going for about the next ten years anyway I guess!

Illamasqua Fundamental Palette

This is one of the quad palettes from the Illamasqua Spring/Summer 2012 Human Fundamentalism collection (RRP £30).  I really was umming and ahhing over whether to buy it or not when it was released as I didn’t know if I’d actually get any use out of it, but in the end I was in the London Beak Street shop with a friend (it’s a lovely, friendly place BTW – definitley worth checking out if you would like to try out their products as the staff are super helpful and nice) and I thought I might as well buy it just so I could stop thinking about it!


Above, clockwise from top left: powder shadow in Hype, Liquid Metal in Surge, powder shadow in Inception, Cream Pigment in Bedaub

Below: A collage which you can click on for a closer view of the individual shades


I think I like the idea of this palette more than I like the palette itself.  It contains a mixture of colours and finishes but to be honest I think I just lack the imagination to get the best out of this!  I don’t really know how to put these together into a look and I’ve only really used the cream pigment in Bedaub so far. 

Bedaub’s both a great colour and texture in itself but also makes a great sticky base for glitters or pigements, and can also be used as a pre-foundation colour corrector to neutralise red areas. 

The liquid metal looks absolutely amazing on skin – the name “liquid metal” really fits. However, I just don’t know how to wear it.  It’s very slippery and creases insanely if worn on the moveable part of the eyelid, and it’s a strange colour to wear as an everyday highlighter or lipcolour. 

Hype, the bright yellow eyeshadow, is just a bit of a tricky colour to pull off, while Inception lacks a bit of oomph and can look a bit washed out and create a bit of a “bruised” effect unless it’s packed on.


I think either more experimentation or parties (where as a rule I wear weird make-up!) are required on my part…any hints or tips on this one would also be appreciated!

The Day After Eurovision

I love the Eurovision Song Contest; it’s such a fun event and always great entertainment.  Even though I stayed in to watch it last night I should have done a fan look that I could’ve posted to the blog for fun but I just didn’t even think of it till this morning to be honest and there didn’t seem to be much point doing a fan look today given that we came second last this year!

Here’s what I’m wearing today instead.  I used shadows from my new Accessorize 32 Shade Eye Palettes.


It’s a simple horizontal gradient of blues.  There’s a lovely selection of bright blues in the palettes.  Right, now I’m off to rock this look in my garden where I’m going to soak up some late afternoon sun!

Accessorize 32 Shade Eye Palettes

I was very excited to discover in Superdrug on Friday that Accessorize have added some new items to their make-up line.  Accessorize is one of my favourite high street make-up brands so I just had to grab their two new 32 Shade Eye Palletes straight away.

There are two colour options; Lovely Day (leopard print cover) and You Are Everything (Union Jack cover).


You get 16g of shadow in total in each palette so 0.5g of each shadow and the pans are about the size of a 1p piece.  Lovely Day contains a mixture of neutral shades while You Are Everything contains a slightly more colourful selection.

First up here’s a closer look at Lovely Day.


You can click on the collage below for a slightly bigger view of the shadows.


And now You Are Everything:


Again you can click on the collage below for a closer look.


Well I really love both of these palettes; I think you get a great selection of colours and finishes (mattes, shimmers and metallics) and the price is good too with the palettes currently retailing for around £9 each.  Actually Superdrug are running a 3-for-2 promotion on cosmetics at the moment so I picked up their new mascara at the same time.  It’s called Fibre Lash Lenghtening mascara and costs around £7.



The packaging as usual is super cute; a violet tube with pictures of butterflies on it.  The wand of this mascara is hard plastic, with short bristles on one side and longer bristles on the other.  I guess you can wiggle the short brushes through the roots of your lashes to build root volume then brush the longer bristles through to the tips to build length.  I think mascara is such a difficult product to provide a good review on as the user experience depends so much on the lashes that you start off with.  I’m afraid that even though I love the fact that this is so buildable (I’m currently wearing 5 thin coats and I could’ve gone for another three or four) without clumping, but this mascara just doesn’t do it for my puny lashes.  I need something that’s a bit clumpier to be honest to build a bit of volume.  The Accessorize Flutter Curl mascara is much better for me.

Here’s a pic of the Accessorize Flutter Curl mascara wand with a trendy photo effect:


And a quick side-by-side comparison so you can see the similarities and differences in the wands and packaging:


NARS Eyeshadow Duo in Rated R

I keep thinking this is called Rated X!  What does Rated R stand for anyway?


Anyhow, here’s what you get for your £23.50:


Now THAT’S what I call colour!!  These eyeshadows are seriously bright in the pan.  I bought this because I really wanted a good quality chartreuse eyeshadow and in fact it is my favourite of the two.  I tend to use the blue as a crease colour but I find it difficult to blend, whereas the green I just pack onto my eyelid as a block colour which works just fine.

I used my favourite eyeshadow brush set from Ecotools to create a bright look using Rated R yesterday.  You can see I used a tiny shader brush for the green and a fluffier blending brush to work with the blue.


In all honesty I do find this eyeshadow duo really difficult to work with.  This simple look below took me ages fiddling around with to create a final effect that I was happy with and as you can see it was still patchy in the end.  Bit more green here, bit more blue there, bit of blending, bit more eyeshadow…phew.  While I do think the green is a great colour and just what I was looking for, let’s face it – for £23.50 you really want to end up with an eyeshadow that you love, and I just don’t quite think that I do.


Hot Pink Glitter Nails

I love this colour/texture combination, it just feels so perfect for summer.  I love how the glitter adds a bit of “fizz”, too.



The pink I used was from Boots 17; a high gloss nail polish in the shade Framboise (though I prefer to just call it raspberry.)  I actually bought this about three years ago so I’m not sure if it’s available anymore but there are surely a good number of raspberry nail polishes by numerous brands on the market at any given time.  Anyway it’s a shade that just seems to go well with sunny weather I think.  I applied a base coat then one coat of Framboise which dried in a few minutes, then I “patted” on this chunky glitter top coat by an American brand called Colour Club.  As you can see the brush doesn’t pick up lots of glitter so you can’t really paint it on normally if you want quite thick glitter coverage.  I don’t actually know where you can get your hands on this in the UK; I got this in a set from TKMaxx but their stock is quite high turnover and varies greatly between stores.  I like the fact that the glitter is in “shards” which is a bit of an unusual texture.

New Sleek i-Divine Palette in BRIGHTS

Sorry if I appear to be shouting in this post title but these colours are so loud I thought they deserved some capital letters!

This is one of two newly launched matte eyeshadow palettes from Sleek, the other being a selection of darker colours.  They are permanent releases so there’s no need to rush out to grab them for fear of them becoming unavailable in the near future; you can take your time to have a think about whether you really want these or not!  I bought both when they were first released as I was in the mood for shopping, but to be honest I’ve only used the Brights palette so far so that’s what I have some photos of today.


As usual the palette comes with a flimsy plastic overlay which probably doesn’t really offer any protection to the eyeshadows anyway but is the only place where the “names” of the shadows are printed.  I say “names” in inverted commas as I’ve noticed that there tend to be dupes between the Sleek palettes but the shadows are always given different names, so it’s totally arbitrary.  I always just chuck the plastic overlay away but for reference here are the colours from left to right:

top row: Chill, Pout, Sugarlite, Dragon fly; Pucker; Bamm!

bottom row: Cricket, Bolt, Strike, Floss, Crete, Pow!

The colour selection in the palette doesn’t have an over-riding theme apart from the fact that all the colours are bright, so that can either be an advantage or a disadvantage for creating looks from this palette depending on your usual make-up style.  For me it’s not a problem as I often wear just one colour on my lids, or one colour with a contrasting or dark eyeliner.

I think the Sleek palettes are a great way to build up a library of eyeshadows as you get 12 shades for around £7, but as Sleek have released so many eyeshadow palettes now there’s also a good chance that you have a few very similar shades in your collection already. If you’re interested in this palette for a few particular shades then it’s worth double-checking that you don’t already have something similar already before spending more buying this palette.

On to some bigger pics and some swatches now:




The quality’s a bit of a mixed bag; some shades are brilliant with great, smooth consistencies and vibrant colour whereas a few shades end up looking just a bit washed out on the skin.  Also the two bright pinks swatch incredibly similarly on skin so it’s almost as if you only get 11 shades in this palette.  The shade I find hardest to work with is Crete, the light grey, which I was a bit disappointed by as I don’t have anything similar in my collection already.  The three massive hits in this palette for me were the three left colours in the bottom row, Cricket (bright green), Bolt (bright royal blue) and Strike (Orange).  I love wearing Strike all over my eyelid paired with Bolt as an eyeliner – I find they make a great fun yet wearable combination for the summer.  I have no problems with longevity when wearing these shadows over a primer.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Lazy Beauty

I love spending ages playing with my make-up, but I don’t love spending hours grooming myself in general…there are so many other things I’d rather be doing with my time.  So with that in mind here are just a few of my tips for lazy beauty.  They’re just suggestions for some ways to save time, not definitive suggestions on how to run a “better” beauty regime – I say create your own beauty regime based on whatever makes you happy!  Would love to hear if you have any time saving tips too.

  • eyebrows: I really think the best way to spend less time grooming brows is to leave them be to do their own thing for six to eight weeks, then give then a quick tidy by removing the stray hairs underneath the arch.  I wouldn’t recommend ever removing hairs above the arch unless you’re an actual eyebrow pro as it’s so easy to lose the shape.  Eyebrows generally grow naturally in the most flattering shape for your face, so I really do believe it’s mostly a case of learning to love them and leave them.
  • nails: I definitely recommend the nail polish remover pots designed for soaking off fake nails (readily available in most Boots & Superdrug).  You can remove nail polish from a nail in about 5s with them, or a bit longer for glitter polishes. I also never cut my nails and only file them, which helps to prevent them from breaking by creating a smooth shape that’s more structurally sound.  I find the best time to paint my nails is about an hour before I go to bed, as I can chill out in front of the TV or with a book while I wait for them to dry initially then they fully dry overnight while I sleep, minimising the chances of smudges.
  • hair: I hardly ever use conditioner – I literally just wash and go!  I used to think I needed it after every wash but once I stopped using it I quickly realised that I didn’t actually need it at all.  I especially don’t recommend using conditioner on short hair if you like to style it with any volume as conditioner tends to weigh hair down making it more difficult to style. I also only blow dry my hair for a few minutes then leave it to dry naturally so my hair suffers very little heat damage.  If I’m feeling particularly energetic I may chuck some texturising product or gel on, but I use a lot less styling product now that my hair’s getting longer.
  • quick make-up: finally, if I fancy wearing some make-up but I’m in a bit of a rush (usually every day during the week…and admittedly often at the weekends too!) I’ll just chuck on some blush and some eyeshadow while I’m at home then add some lipstick or gloss on the bus and maybe some mascara when I get to work.  If I’m really rushed and only have 30s then I’ll just go for some lipgloss.  I’m not bothered about going out without any make-up on in terms of self-confidence, but I just have so much it seems like a shame to go out not wearing any!

More Bargains from MUA

I swung by Superdrug last week as I often do for some mid-week make-up treats (my favourite form of retail therapy :) ).  Since MUA Pro had arrived in my local Superdrug at last and since it’s pretty cheap I decided to try a couple more products from the range.

I picked up an eyeshadow primer and mosaic blush in the shade English Rose, both £2.50.


The primer is simply called Professional Eye Primer and comes in a small plastic tube which houses 7.5ml of product and a doe foot applicator.  In the photo above I’ve done a thick swatch and a blended out swatch.  I would always blend this out to a very very thin layer using my finger tips on my eyes and so while the thick swatch can give some idea of the consistency of the product the thin swatch is how it would actually appear when used on skin.  On my skin it becomes invisible though the colour may show up on different skin tones, but the product is not at all visible once eyeshadow has been placed on top.

I’m very, very impressed by this.  It’s similar to Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion – a silicone based primer that’s designed to increase the wear of your eyeshadow by both absorbing excess oil from the skin and gripping on to the eyeshadow itself.  I use the applicator to deposit a small amount of product on my skin, blend it out with a fingertip, wait a minute or so for it to dry then apply my eyeshadow on top.  The consistency is smooth and easy to blend out; I easily get 12 hours wear out of my eyeshadows when I use this which is generally how long I wear make-up for during the day, and it’s a great price so it gets a big thumbs up from me.


I think this blush looks soooo cute!!  The packaging is nothing special but for £2.50 I don’t care at all and I’m definitely happy to keep costs down on some of my make-up – sure I like cute packaging but I’m happy to forgo it for good quality from cheap and cheerful brands.  I just love the colours and shapes in this blush.  The swatch on my finger is pretty heavy and was created by just swirling my finger over all the colours.  When I wear this I actually apply it with a lighter hand using a normal blusher brush but onto the tops of my cheekbones as a highlighter instead of as a blush as it’s very shimmery.  It creates a wonderful silvery pink glow.  I haven’t managed to capture this special glow in a photo yet but I will try to update this post with one if I ever manage to.

These latest two purchases happily confirm MUA Pro as one of my current favourite five brands.  I’m working on a bit of a mammoth post at the moment about all my current favourite products so I will hopefully be posting a long list of products to tickle your fancy with in time for some bank holiday weekend shopping.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Cat’s Eye of the Day: Gold and Red

I wanted to wear a crazy eyeliner look to a karaoke night out on Saturday and decided to give red a try.  Usually I’m really scared to wear red on my eyes as it’s so easy to end up looking like I’ve got an eye infection (!) but I fancied trying a red winged look so I decided to keep it to the outer corner of my eyes and pair it with a yellow gold.  I loved the result so much that I wore it today during the day as well – I think it’s going to become a favourite weekend look for me.