High-end beauty haul!

How's this for logic? I cleaned out my makeup collection so I could add to it....with yet more makeup.

So yes, there have been a few new things added to the stash. Here goes...

I missed out on the blush palette last time and that was not going to happen again. HELL NO. I pre-ordered it via Space NK and finally got it last week, c/o mother dearest and her suitcase full of my online deliveries. 

The blushes are smaller than I expected - no doubt about that - but the quality seems to be the same as the singles (I sort of own most of these colours already :O) and I do like that Laguna is a large slab as opposed to a little square because at least then I can work my giant bronzer brush in it. 

It will be useful for travel (not that I have done much of that lately but you know, in the future!) and I can see why this featured so prevalently within the ubiquitous seasonal gift guides - its such a nice little Xmas present and the packaging is refreshingly non-rubberized. I am SO OVER having to wipe my mucky fingerprints off of NARS casing. 

NARS blusher in Satellite of Love

I saw this at a recent NARS lipstick event and it piqued my interest. It's of the same tonal ilk as Douceur and Madly - shades you know I absolutely love. I ordered it on the NARS website because it wasn't to be found in Sephora and also because I needed to round up my order for free shipping....literally, ANY excuse!

It's a very pretty highlighter that, in theory, gives a golden tan sheen to the skin. That "in theory" is important because I apply it on my skin and see NOTHING in the mirror. Absolutely nothing. Apply it again and still nada. 

I think my skin is a little too light in tone - either that or I need to adopt a heavier hand when slapping it on. It's one of those highlighter blushes that imparts a subtle glow and I think those with olive and darker skin tones will probably find it a better investment. Pass.

YouTube made me do it. I saw this in a few videos and thought that little old me definitely needed a professional contour kit in my collection. Let's try and ignore the fact that whenever I contour I look like I have a beard or that, in reality I rarely actually bother contouring at all on a daily basis. 

I went on the Cult Beauty waiting list and eventually got the email notification that it was in stock. Ordered, shipped and after a couple of weeks, sampled. 

I will say this, the highlighters are really rather lovely. I find they all show up on my skin and translate well. None of them are too frosty or too chalky - they all blend well. I would probably also say the same about the contour shades (of which the middle one is the most relevant) and they all have that Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder grey/taupe tone that I personally think a contour should be made up of. 

Contour kits sound scary to me but when used this gives a believable amount of definition - not so pigmented that it's frightening to use but enough to very gently tone the face. 

Would I recommend it? I haven't used it enough to give a definite YES but at this point I don't regret buying it and I haven't given myself a contour beard once since getting it! Win. 

Frigg me! This is such a great product. Now that's not to say it's perfect. If I apply this on a very dewy base, like Chantecaille Just Skin, it's a royal nightmare. It will slip, slide, fade and ruin your base, giving that blotchy finish. So don't do that. 

I apply this over a lightly powdered face (which is almost certainly not what they tell you to do) and it gives that golden tan look. I slap this on my cheeks, a little bit on my chin, forehead and near the bridge of my nose. It's a warm golden bronze, thanks to the gold sparkles (that thankfully don't translate once applied) and as soon as I apply it I feel transformed. I'm serious. I look in the mirror and know that I look 100% better. 

The NARS Multiples are often cited as a similar product and yes, the concept is similar in that both the CT and NARS can be worn on face and eyes, but the CT texture wins, hands down. There is no tugging on the skin and although nicely pigmented they feel weightless and non-greasy. In typical hoarder fashion I want to collect them all. 

Oh God. I did it again. And the price has been increased since the last time I splurged. 

I got this after I wasted my money trying the By Terry Sheer Expert in the hope that it would imitate the Just Skin. FYI: it doesn't and actually only really imitates the By Terry Cover Expert, albeit in a slightly weaker finish. And so I realised that sometimes you have to stop trying to find a dupe and just buy the bloody original. So I bloody well did. 

Now I don't have a picture of the Just Skin but I do have a picture of the Chantecaille bronzer in Capri that was ordered at the same time. 

Can you tell I am on a bronzer kick at the moment? 

I need to play around with this a bit more because it's not one of those conventional bronzer shades. There's a rosy tone to it (think a lighter Benefit Dallas) that makes it great for lighter skins but also difficult for me to apply - too much and it seems to look like I have smeared my face in blusher, too little and there is absolutely no impact. Let's hope I can master it soon ;)

There is one other high end beauty item that I am in a rush to talk to you about. I got sent the new NARS foundation yesterday and so this weekend is mainly about slapping it on my face and seeing how it holds up. If the actual name of the product doesn't get you excited then I don't know what will. Meet the NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation. 16 hour wear time and supposedly capable of covering your face in a single drop. Oh my gawww.

I'll share my thoughts tomorrow... ;) 

LiLash: The Return

So LiLash. Those of you that have been loyally following me for years will be well versed in my lash extension obsession.  

Once upon a time lash serums were not mainstream and I went to extra-lengths to order and try them out. Crazy lengths. Now of course you can pick them up pretty easily and there are many brands competing with another, each promising outlandishly confident results.

For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, eyelash growth serums are applied at night, along your top lashline. The applicator deposits a small amount of a clear liquid and after weeks of consistency your lashes will grow longer than they have ever been before. It’s a nice alternative to using fake eyelashes/eyelash extensions and when you think about how much you might spend on both of these products/treatments can even be an economical option.

The one brand that I seem to have remained loyal to is LiLash. Five years ago it worked fantastically well and after using it for the last few months I can say that this still applies.  Although not thicker, they are a lot longer in length and when I slap on the Bourjois Volume One Seconde I do a little happy dance inside. It makes me feel prettier. That feeling is a little at odds with the tiny little hairs I have been sprouting at the top of my cheeks – a side effect of using a highly effective hair growth stimulant but that’s been the only draw back of LiLash so far. I'll just pretend it's a new sign of femininity :) 

So yes, the tube does cost near £90 and that particular tube won’t last you longer than maybe 5-6 months but it’s fun to see how a product like this can make a difference to how you feel about yourself.  It’s been a nice little fluttery boost.

Now a word of warning to those of you who may now hit eBay and look for a tube…don’t. I did that at the beginning of the year and bought what I thought was a “right bargain”. It arrived sealed and seemed totally legit but after using that and then the genuine article I can confirm that I bought a copy. What was in it I have no idea….probably something as generic as washing up liquid. So as much as it pains me to say it, don’t pay anything other than full price. It's just not worth the risk.

Have you been trying any of these lash growth serums lately? There are so many on the market I’d be interested to know what ones you rate or even hate.

Find out more about LiLash here - Link!

Tom Ford Lips & Boys: Xavier, Patrick and Olivier

“I like the idea of lipsticks named after boys. Why commit to one when you can have several?” Tom Ford is so on my wavelength.

I read about the limited edition Lips & Boys collection and fell in love with the concept. It all sounded so appealing – the choice of 50 shades, the idea that they were smaller (and therefore more affordable) than their full-size counterparts and the fact that the brand had eschewed the typical feminine names and gone for a more masculine edge.

So I ordered three without really doing any research. Of course I did.

I would like to say that this was Tom Ford’s fault. You see that limited edition strictly applies in the case of this collection. Black Friday – 1 December provided US buyers with an opportunity for purchase and then Selfridges had a “one day only” flash sale on the 1 December.

I could have waited until the end of December for a less frantic release but I felt that LE pressure. I hit Selfridges, searched for swatches online – there were none – so ordered blind.

Say hello to Xavier, Patrick and Olivier.

Aren’t they pretty? Yes they are. Aren’t they tiny? YES THEY ARE.

I couldn’t even focus on the shades or the formula - the only thing I could do was scoff at the size: these are lipsticks crafted for the hands of a child. They are so, so tiny. 

See how it compares to a full-size lipstick....

I knew they were going to be small but when you finally get it in your hands and see £26 presented to you in the form of a micro-lipstick, you suddenly feel a little affronted.  Okay, so it’s probably a better entry-level cost for someone new to Tom Ford and I have read that in terms of weight these are better value but no, I still can’t get over it.

But onto the shades….

Xavier is Violet Fatale re-promoted and given a different name. 

I have always wanted to try the latter. It’s a mid-purple tone, not too vampy with a shot of pink to keep it bright and fun. Out of the shades I ordered I probably like this the most!

Patrick is difficult to describe. 

It’s coral but it’s also laced with pink. I can imagine this being a hugely popular shade because it’s such a pretty way to wear a bright. The formula is exactly what you get with Xavier – that rich, creamy and pigmented finish that feels very comfortable and almost weightless.

Olivier is a frosty pink-lavender and was the wild card. 

I thought this could go either way when I ordered it and sadly it went the wrong way. The frosty finish lacks the smoothness felt in the other two and it both feels and looks a bit cheap. I have absolutely no idea who this would look good on – it’s certainly not me!

As mentioned earlier these come back onto the market from 26 December, although I don't know when they will hit Dubai…probably in 2017 knowing the release times in this market.

Would I buy more? Agh…I want to say no but I also have to admit to feeling pangs for two colours: Ian and Alasdhair: the nude and the deep currant. I remain hideously sizeist on this one though so the likelihood of splurging £26 on a micro-lipstick seems unlikely. 

What do you think of this collection? 

All about that base

EDIT: The title of this blog is inspired (AKA ripped off) from a post on Melissa’s instagram. Follow her if you don’t already – Link! – expect many make up posts and general inspirational lifestyle imagery that will make you want to grow your hair long, wear jeans all the time and buy many more lipsticks. 

So here’s a weird thing. I don’t really like reading reviews until AFTER trying/buying a foundation. It’s all very backwards. I use it and only then start the process of fastidiously researching other people’s reviews of it once my opinion has been firmly formed.

I appreciate that I am probably in the minority here and that most sensible people like to do a perusal of blogs to see what the general consensus is on a product as fundamental as a foundation.

So with all that said in an unnecessarily long introduction after trying three new foundations recently I thought I would put my thoughts down.

Estee Lauder Perfectionist
Bought/PR supplied: PR supplied
Colour used: Fresco
Recommend: Maybe….

I had heard mutterings about this foundation and saw some fleeting promotions of it within a Pixiwoo video. They always have such flawless skin and that instilled some serious confidence. This product also has the most promising of names – Perfectionist for God’s sake – so I assumed that it would be one of those OMG-Holy-Grail-You-Guys products. I was wrong.

Now I am not saying that this is bad. The full spectrum sunscreen is very welcome. The finish is demi-matte but light, ensuring that skin doesn’t look heavy or caked in product. The coverage is probably erring on the side of medium and the longevity is arguably the best out of the three that I will mention here, perhaps down to the fact that it’s totally oil-free.

Despite ALL of this, for me it just doesn’t hit the mark. This is wholly down to my bias preferences. Demi-matte I don’t mind as long as it gives me perfect looking skin and with this I still feel like I can see my “imperfections”. It’s probably buildable but I just cannot get past that pungent chemical smell to try it out and I feel like this is a teeny bit drying on me. 

I wanted to LOVE this but I just can’t say that I do yet. Show me the Estee Lauder BB Double Wear All Day Glow though and it’s a different story. Now THAT is a product I can get on board with.

Clarins True Radiance
Bought/PR supplied: PR supplied
Colour used: Porcelain
Recommend: Definitely

Everything about this foundation is lovely so it's no wonder Clarins re-formulated it and revived it earlier this year. The word that best encapsulates how I react to it is “fresh”. The smell is that delicate fresh floral and the final effect on the skin is covered, but youthful, natural and maybe a teeny bit illuminated. It’s just one of those foundations that complements skins very well.

I was sent Porcelain, which is, in truth, too pink and too light. BUT I would absolutely go to a counter and hunt out a colour match because this is such a forgiving foundation. It is also one that has managed to achieve a balance similar to what we see in Dior Star – it’s a glow giver (not a grease giver), a product that feels lightweight on the skin but also, and importantly for me, still gives you a medium coverage.

What it isn’t is one of those foundations like Laura Mercier Silk Crème that will give you plastic perfection. It’s just not that heavy and that’s okay. There are days when I want to paint on a mask and days when I want to boost what I have without caking it up.

If you have dehydrated or mature skin then give this a look. If you are, by your own admission, mega oily then consider moving on because I am not sure this foundation would stay on your skin long enough for you to enjoy it.

Dior Star
Bought/PR supplied: Bought! Hurray!
Colour used: 33
Recommend: Definitely

I think this is a case of saving the best for last.

Now I have alluded to how I feel about this foundation before but I have also received many requests to give a proper review to Dior Star. So here it is.

This is a lovely foundation. I picked this up in shade 33, which was an ambitious attempt to convince myself that my post-Maldivian holiday tan would last. It has not and so I haven’t worn this for a few weeks because if I did I would look proper orange.

Even so I can tell you this...

This is a magic glow-giver that manages to also stand the test of a long day. Apply this in the morning – and for that you have to go with a flat-topped kabuki to truly get the best effect – and remnants of it will be adhered to your face at 5pm. Now it’s not going to be perfectly in tact but I don’t find myself looking in the mirror with fright.

The finish is something I have described before: “Make Up For Ever HD made glossy”. It’s that fresh, natural skin look with an added oomph that makes you look "well".

As with the Clarins True Radiance, this is more on the lighter side of medium coverage so if you have major pigmentation or skin issues then you may try this and be seriously dismayed. If however, you are desperately trying to cling onto your youthful skin like I am, you will be all over it like a tramp on chips!

Now over to you...have you tried any of these? I am really curious as to what you think about the Estee Lauder Perfectionist as this seems to be the one that elicits the most polarised of opinions...
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