Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Gemini MUA Manicure

MUA recently launched a range of five different colour-combos of micro-beads for nails called Nail Constellations. I ordered a couple of shades online as I was finding it difficult to track them down in any Superdrug stores and the other day I experimented with giving myself a manicure using the lilac/peach/green shade Gemini.



Above: the beads look like cake sprinkles in the bottle – but will they make my nails look just as yummy?


I chose a light purple colour to use as my base shade. The base shade will peep through the beads and especially when they start to fall off so you should choose a colour bearing this in mind.

The first time you use the Nail Constellations you have to remove the plastic top of the bottle and remove the safety sticker. This is actually a bit of a delicate task and there will be some spillage no matter how careful you are so choose your location carefully!

The beads were surprisingly easy to apply. I painted all my nails with one coat of nail varnish. I then painted quite a thick second coat on my thumb nail and immediately poured the micro-beads over my nail. I did this over a rectangular piece of plastic packaging to catch all the spillage. The beads stuck to my nail quite well and there wasn’t actually as much spillage as I was expecting. The top of the bead container is quite narrow so only a few beads are dispensed at a time. I did have to keep tipping it upright then upside down again to maintain the flow of beads. When I was happy with the coverage on my thumb nail I gently used the pad of my index finger on my other hand to very gently press the beads down into the nail varnish. I then repeated with my ring finger then painted all my other nails with a second coat of purple.

I only painted the tip of my beaded nails with topcoat, as the colour of the beads is soluble and fades when they come into contact with top coat.

I then simply took the top off the bead container and held it upside down inside the bottle to use as a funnel that I poured the excess beads that I had caught in my rectangular plastic container back into.

I was really pleased with the results; I think my beaded manicure looks really cute. Unfortunately it’s not a long-lasting finish and many beads fell off within a few hours, and nearly all of them were gone by the following morning. I would definitely use topcoat over the whole nail next time and not just the tips in spite of the slight fading in colour as the remaining beads had faded a lot by next day anyway. I had heard before that this kind of manicure only lasts for a couple of days so I wasn’t too disappointed. I will definitely do this again next time I’m going out to meet my friends as I know they will love it when they see it – we are all big fans of cake and my nails look like they’re covered in sprinkles!




Monday, 29 October 2012

Pixi Lid Last Shadow Pen Duo

I haven’t tried that many Pixi products but the ones that I have tried have been excellent. It’s not a brand that’s very readily available on the high-street and I can only actually think of one Boots store that stocks it off the top of my head, which is the large Boots at the Piccadilly Circus end of Shaftesbury Avenue, opposite Ripley’s Believe It or Not.

When I was in the store the other week I was really impressed by the testers of these pencils so I decided to just go ahead and buy them as it’s not a store that I visit that often. This duo cost me £12 but I later discovered on the Pixi website that the individual pencils retail at £12 each, so it’s a bit of a bargain buy-one-get-one-free pack.



Above: I love the cute design on the packaging.


Above: there are some hints and tips on the back of the packaging on how to use the pens to create a smoky eye

Although the product’s name is “Lid Last Shadow Pen” they are actually long lasting cream eyeshadows. This duo contains a light shimmery pink called Shell Sheen and a cool dark brown called Brun Beam.


I have to say that I am already in love with these pencils and they’ve become one of my staples since I bought them because 1) you can create a gorgeous smoky eye look with them in about three minutes and 2) they last and last and last, so you can either wear them alone or as a base underneath powder eyeshadows to hold them in place all day long.

I’ve been wearing these every day for the past week and they last 10 hours on me before starting to fade. They don’t smudge or wander across my face at all once set. After applying the product you have about 30s before they set during which you can smudge them as desired. They are also very smooth and comfortable to apply, unlike some other long lasting eyeshadow sticks (i.e. my MAC shadestick) which can be quite hard and drag across the eye during application – ouch. The barrels of the pencils are plastic but you just sharpen them as normal in a large cosmetic pencil sharpener.

I apply them pretty much as the packaging suggests, only I don’t even bother with a primer as I find they last just fine without one. I apply Shell Sheen over my lid to just above the crease then smudge out to an even thin layer using a flat synthetic brush (a concealer brush is ideal). I then whack some Brun Beam into the outer v of my eyelid and along my upper and lower lashlines then again smudge with a flat synthetic brush to blend all the harsh lines and leave a soft smoky finish. And – that’s it! I don’t even bother with mascara with this look as there’s absolutely no fall out and I have dark eyelashes naturally and the brown pencil along my lashlines adds enough intensity for me. Mascara also always smudges on me by the end of the day as I have quite oily skin, but these pencils don’t, so this look actually fares better without mascara.

It’s not a precise, carefully constructed look, but it does add a nice touch of intensity to the eyes in a kind of cool, laid back way. I really like it!



Sunday, 28 October 2012

MUA Powder Blushers

I put in my first ever order at the MUA online store at the beginning of October as there were loads of products I wanted to try out and my nearest Superdrugs aren’t always very well stocked – probably because MUA’s so popular, so the stands are often stripped quite bare. My order was dispatched really quickly and was very well packaged and when I had a query the customer service team were very quick to respond and helpful, so I would definitely order from them again.

One of the things I ordered were some powder blushers. These are from the original £1 range so, yes, they cost just £1 each, making it nice and cheap to experiment with different shades. They are quite small for blushers, with just 2.4g of product. There are currently six colours in the range with a nice selection of shades and finishes, but it is quite difficult to choose shades from the colour representation on the website.

I picked up shades 2 and 3 (no shade names, just numbers) which were darker than I was expecting from the pictures on the website but luckily they turned out to be perfect shades for autumn.



top – shade 3, bottom – shade 2


left – shade 3, right – shade 2

Shade 3 is a lovely matt russet shade while shade 2 is a plum with flecks of gold shimmer. Both shades are very pigmented, but unfortunately the texture is very powdery and due to the small rectangular shape of the packaging I find it impossible to pick enough product up on my normal blusher brush without spilling a ton of blusher dust everywhere at the same time. The packaging is also a bit flimsy and the clear front often comes off at the hinge.

All in all it’s quite a nice product so I can definitely see myself using these up over the next couple of months, but because they’re so fiddly to use I probably won’t be buying any again.


Above: I’m just wearing some tinted moisturiser and MUA blusher in shade 2. The colour pay-off is pretty good and it’s a lovely shade for the autumn.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Great Lips by MUA

Do you love British sweets from the ‘80s and ‘90s? Tinted lip balms? Bargain make-up? Nude lip shades? If you answered yes to any of the above then hooray! I have something to show you that might just be right up your street!


This is Great Lips tinted lip balm by the brand MUA, which is available online and in selected Superdrugs as part of the MUA/Love Hearts (British sweets that my fellow 30-something friends will no doubt have fond memories of from their childhoods…) make-up range which contains a selection of sweet-inspired nail varnish and lip balm shades. Great Lips is the name of this shade incidentally, not the range. I think the range is just called Love Hearts lip balm. These retail at £2 each.

The balms have the consistency of Vaseline, which seems to be the main ingredient (paraffinum liquidum) so they’re very soft to the touch, and also feel very moisturising once on the lips. It’s just a bit too soft for my liking and I don’t like applying it with my fingers as I end up smushing a big hole in the product and picking up too much whenever I dip my finger in. I use a lip brush to apply the product instead. That’s just my personal preference though. It does mean that despite the handy handbag sized packaging this isn’t an on-the-go product for me. It’s a shame as the colour doesn’t last that long and I would like to take it with me to top up while I’m out as they do feel lovely on the lips. As it is I just apply it before I go out and leave the colour to fade gracefully. The balm is quite pigmented, which I wasn’t actually expecting. Here’s a shot of my lips with a generous swipe of product.


For me it’s the perfect accompaniment to a smoky eye. Here’s the look I wore it with at the weekend– a golden yellow and black softly smoky look.


I thought I’d include a few more close-ups of my eye make-up as I hardly ever wear black eyeshadow (I think that last time I wore black eyeshadow out was actually to a Christmas party two years ago) and this look turned out better than I was expecting.




I blended for a long time because I wanted the black to be really diffused. I used the shades Honey (1) and Zero (2) from my Urban Decay Deluxe palette pictured below (which I am slowly but surely managing to use up!)


Tuesday, 23 October 2012

China Glaze All That Glitters

I just can’t resist a good dash of glitter… that is how I ended up walking past Sally’s Hair and Beauty one minute, and coming out with SEVEN new nail polishes five minutes later – eek!

I got two sets from China Glaze, one a Ho Ho Ho trio (£12.99) which I’ll write a post on later and the All That Glitters set of 4 mini colours (£9.99). Full size China Glaze polishes are 14ml and each of the minis are 9.6ml which is actually a perfect size for me as I never manage to use up nail varnishes before they start going gloopy.




I love all of these colours and I’m definitely going to get a lot of use out of all of them this autumn and winter. Today I started off by trying out Glitter All The Way, a gorgeous dark, cool toned multi-coloured glitter containing indigo, gold, green and red. Here I’m wearing two coats plus a top coat.


I’d say that with two coats the coverage is pretty much opaque, so there’s no need for a coloured base underneath – although there were a few tiny gaps here and there, but they’re really not noticeable from a short distance. The glitter particles lie nice and flat on the nail and with a top coat the finish isn’t rough at all.

I’ll update this post with nail shots of the other shades as I wear them.


Here’s the first update! Champagne Kisses is a gorgeous beige glitter, containing so much shimmer it’s bordering on holographic. The finish is a bit gritty due to all the glitter but the finish is good – I went 2 days before I got some minor chipping, but I could definitely wear this for 4 to 7 days before needing to redo my nails.


Sunday, 21 October 2012

Green + Gold

I think this colour combo is going to become one of my Autumn staples – especially since it only takes about 3 min to apply.

I wore a cream blush in the photo below which is a great product to use when you want to add/maintain a glow to the skin, but the shade I picked was a tad too light for the eyeshadow I think. Next time I would go for a rosier shade to avoid looking washed out.




Above: green eyeshadow to the crease, light golden brown blended across the crease and lower lash line.


Above: I used the shades Graffiti (1) and Shag (2) from the Urban Decay Deluxe Palette over a creamy eyeshadow base.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Stagnate

The biggest problem that I have with this nail polish is that it looks so yummy I just want to start nibbling at my nails whenever I wear it! I prefer to ignore the slightly icky name (just makes me think of a swamp!) and think of it as a deliciously creamy chocolate brown that looks lovely in autumn, when it fits right in with all the earthy muted tones of moulting trees, muddy lawns, rainy days and early evenings.


Above: two coats of Stagnate, no top coat.

The consistency is perfect, not too thin and not too thick, and the colour is opaque in two coats. I get at least a week’s wear out of this shade if not longer – without  any chipping. I always wear it with a China Glaze top coat. Illamasqua nail varnishes are expensive at around £13.50 a bottle but they are often on special offer and I actually picked this one up on sale for £5 a few months back – woohoo! If you don’t fancy paying full price for their nail varnishes but are interested in picking some up I recommend checking out their January sale (not that much longer to wait now – only two more months till Christmas now after all!)

Thursday, 18 October 2012

‘60s Inspired with MUA


I love a good cut crease look I do. Julianne Moore wears a gorgeous black and white cut crease look in the Tom Ford film A Single Man which is set in the ‘60s. Unfortunately, I am yet to master the technique on myself.  I keep practising at weekends though and I think I’m getting better…



Here I used the light green shade from the MUA Artiste Collection all over my lid to above the crease which I then blended out up to my brows. I then took a blue eyepencil and marked out the crease by using the tip of the pencil on its side to draw a line along my socket and smudging out with a shading brush, then blended the bright blue shadow from the same palette on top to fix the pencil. The MUA eyepencils are perfect for this as they’re both soft and pigmented.

Finally I lined my upper waterline and along my lower lash line (not lower waterline as my eyes are just too sensitive to cope with any product there these days) with the same blue pencil I’d used on the crease, which I again smudged out on the lower lash line with the bright blue shadow.


Pistachio Chocolate

This is a look that I came up with using my new MUA Artiste Collection palette. The shades I used were Pistachio and Chocolate. I love this colour combination and it reminds me of mint choc chip ice-cream…yum!



I used Pistachio over my lid to just above the crease, and chocolate in my socket and along the outer corner of my lower lash line. This is my favourite way to wear eyeshadow at the moment because I can look like I’m wearing a lot of colour with a small amount of make-up.

I finished off with a brown liquid eyeliner and eyepencil as I felt black would have been too harsh for this look.

I’ve got another look that I created using this palette coming up soon…seems like it’s fast becoming a favourite of mine!


Above: I used Pistachio (1) and Chocolate (2).

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Hello Kitty Arrives at Superdrug

Well, hello there Kitty…


I’ve been excited about this make-up launch since I heard about it over a month ago. I do love my ridiculously kitsch make-up.

The Hello Kitty Superdrug range features a selection of lipsticks, nail varnishes, eyeshadows and more in Hello Kitty packaging. I could have bought so much when I first came across the stand, but I limited myself to one lipstick and one nail varnish so that I could see if the make-up was actually any good, or if they were all just about the gimmicky packaging.

I got a lipstick in Betz Believe, a bright coral pink, and a nail varnish in Respect, a glossy navy. I’ve been wearing them for the past week now and I have to say, considering that they both cost less than £5 and have such funky packaging I’m impressed by the quality. The lipstick is creamy and pigmented and lasts about 4 hours on me, and so far the nail varnish, which only required one coat, has gone 4 days without chipping (though a lot of thanks also has to go to my China Glaze top coat).




I’m definitely going to be going back for more lipsticks and nail polishes, and I think they’d also make great gifts for anybody into their cute stuff.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

MUA Artiste Collection Palette

This palette was released a couple of weeks ago as part of MUA Professional’s autumn/winter 2012 collection. As any regular readers of this blog will have noticed, I am an eyeshadow addict and lately I’ve been acquiring quite a taste for MUA so I decided to add this to my collection.

The palette contains 6 shimmery shadows with a splatter design (although this is just on the surface of the shadows, quickly wears off and doesn’t affect the colour payoff – but it’s cute to look at while it lasts), two blushes, a contour shade and a highlighter. Altogether the palette contains 17g of product and currently costs £6.

I have been playing around with the palette this weekend and have a couple of looks created from it coming up, but for today I thought I’d just quickly post some swatches of the eyeshadows.



From left to right: Pistachio (very light green), Mocca (v. light fawn), Ice (bright blue), Grape (bright violet), Chocolate (mid-tone metallic brown), Cookie (mid-tone brown)

This palette is a bit of a departure from previous MUA palettes. It contains only 6 eyeshadows compared to 12, but each shadow is larger. The quality is comparable to any other MUA eyeshadows I’ve tried – very good pigmentation, though some of the colours are quite soft and prone to fall-out when applying. The packaging is also cheap but functional – I like the fact that the lids are see-through so you can see the contents at a glance. I find this colour scheme somewhat unusual and disjointed – but for me personally as I only usually wear a maximum of two shades at a time during the week it’s not an issue as it does contain many complimentary duos.

It’s also the first palette to contain face products. I haven’t swatched the blushes or contour and highlighter here but I will mention in upcoming posts when I have used them. The colours are all wearable but I have found them a bit difficult to pick up on my blush brush as the pans are quite small.

Overall this is an excellent buy for £6, though it’s not a make-up bag essential. The colours are nice for a selection of muted daytime looks.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Yellow + Blue



Another quickie EOTD today! I wore this on Sunday – it was quite sunny and I was trying for a colour combo that would bring out the best in my royal blue MUA eyepencil. I don’t often wear yellow eyeshadow but I was actually quite pleased with the result.

Eye make-up:

The products marked with a * are actual long time favourites of mine. The eyeshadow duo is the only Shiseido product that I currently own – I’ve also tried and finished a few of their skincare products – and I have to say that the quality is fantastic. The only reason I’ve never gotten round to trying out any more Shiseido make-up is because it’s comparatively expensive here in the UK and there are always so many other goodies from other brands that I get distracted by!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Silver + Purple Quickie

Just have a super quick eyes of the day post to share today. This weekend I wore a really simple silver and purple combination on my upper lids, finished off with some black mascara and pink blush. I didn’t bother with any make-up on my lower lash line.



I used a cream base – in this instance a Shimmering Eye and Lip Crayon by Barry M which, although it does crease slightly, still holds the colour in place on my lids all day long. It’s actually one of my favourite bases because it’s smooth and creamy to apply and it doesn’t dry my skin out. There’s just minor creasing – which personally I don’t mind, it just leaves the make-up looking a bit lived in.


Above: Accessorize eyeshadow in Ultraviolet, Bourjois little round pot eyeshadow in Argent, BarryM Shimmering Eye and Lip Crayon in shade 6 (violet).