Friday, 24 May 2013

Nails Inc- Rimmel Kate Dupe

Just a quick one for you today- Last month I brought you a review of Rimmel Salon Pro in Hip Hop. Well I say review, it was a bit of a rave. 
If you like your fashion magazines *hands up whoever spends a shameless amount on them each month* you'll have noticed this month's InStyle comes with a free Nails Inc polish. 
Me being a magpie for red picked up the red- It's Red, Babez. Obviously. 
Except when it came to putting it on, I was thinking 'hang on a second, this looks familiar...'
Lo and behold, I genuinely can't see a difference. These are an exact dupe. 
The Rimmel has a slightly thicker, more 'gel' feeling formula and wears slightly better. 
But shade and shine wise, these are the same. 
I wore one shade on every-other nail and by the end of the day, I couldn't tell which was which. 

Although price wise there isn't much in it (Rimmel Salon Pro retails for £4.49, InStyle is £3.80), I thought it was worth giving you a heads-up about this. 
Whilst you get more product in the Rimmel, with the Nails Inc comes a free magazine. 
Or you could do a 'me' and just have both..

Because we all know just one lot of bright, corally red polish isn't enough.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

#Listen to the Hype 2- Real Techniques Brushes

Yes, it's time for another one of those 'How have I let myself go this long without these?' moments.
Just like with my NBF Healthy Mix Serum, these have come in to my life and things, facially, will never be the same again.
Yes, in case you haven't guessed it already- I'm talking Real Techniques brushes.
*Yes, I have just used them...

My favourite is the buffing brush- a sentiment echoed by most bloggers who talk about this set.
I've always been a fingers girl. That sounds rude.
But when it's come to blending in base, digits have always been my go-to tool.
I've always been a fingers girl. That sounds rude.
Well not anymore!
I think the reason for my finger preference is that every foundation brush I've ever used has left me disappointed. Streaky results and not the same after brush-washing.
My favourite for foundation is the buffing brush- a sentiment echoed by most bloggers who talk about this set.
I can't believe the price of Real Techniques. Considering the quality, it's hard to believe the core collection will set you back just £20.99
For me, the buffing brush alone is worth the investment.
The finish it gives to the skin...well, no fingers can work that well!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Benefit They're Real! Mascara

*Winces with pain* I really, really want to like this mascara. 
And having read such good reviews, I was seriously considering splashing out the full £18. 
So when I saw Elle were giving it away as this month's freebie, I thought there was no better time to test it out.
And I'm glad I did. 
Because, guys, *hears a thousand hearts breaking...who am I kidding, as if 1,000 people read this blog*- I don't love it. 
And to be honest, at first I wasn't even sure I liked it. 
This product gives the following statistics-
94% saw dramatic length and volume
90% saw base to tip curl
94% saw visible lift
100% saw long-wearing results.

...Well apart from the last statistic, count me in the minority, because I didn't see any of those things.
I curl my lashes every day and I didn't even feel this held the result of that very well.

The wand is plastic, which I've found never tends to work as well on my lashes as fibre ones.
I don't know... maybe it's because the wand is smaller? Maybe it's better in the full-sized version? Can anyone help me out there?
But if this is as good as it gets, I'm disappointed.
And I really didn't want to be.

Anyway, these are my lashes, coated in They're Real! mascara
In my mascara-wearing experience, this didn't add anything (and in some cases, less) than your average drugstore mascara. 
There's no significant curl or volume here and as you can see, several of the lashes are clumped together. 
And as you can see, it left quite a bit of residue on my eyelid and under the lower lash line.
Yes, maybe these are all things I could correct with another go of my eyelash curlers, an eyelash comb and some make-up remover.
But if I'm paying £18 for a mascara, I'm not really willing to do all the extra faff work.

I feel a bit like I'm sticking my oar in an unwanted place, as I don't think I've seen one bad review of this (okay, literally I've seen one).
But I want to be honest because it's important that anyone considering making such a substantial mascara purchase have all the information they need. 
And on the basis of what I've seen, this isn't the be-all-and-end-all mascara for everybody.


Saturday, 18 May 2013

1 DAY REVIEW- Clarins BB Cream

Back by popular demand *cough* from me *cough*
It's the one day review! Yay.
And today, we're trialling the Clarins BB Skin Perfecting Cream.
Now, I don't have the best relationship with BB creams. So I was coming in to this with a bit of a tainted heart.
The one thing that consistently lets me down is the colour.
So I was a bit scared when I saw the shade of this.
To be fair, this is the medium shade. But in the name of blogging, I persisted.
And with some blend, blend and more blend- it actually worked okay.
My skin isn't looking great at the moment, so I first I covered myself in Collection Lasting Perfection concealer.
That made me look as white as a sheet, so I think the orange of this balanced it out.
Either on their own would have looked ridiculous.
I used my Real Techniques buffing brush to blend this in.
It took some work, but we got there in the end.
 What It Says

Revitalises, protects, evens skin tone and provides coverage.

Well, simply- it does everything it promises.
Coverage-wise, this is the best BB I've tried so far.
More than that, I'd say it's on par with foundation.
It gave a nice finish to the skin and filled in my (open) pores well.
It looks nice in all lights and lasted well.
It does need a top-up and I did notice half way through the day there was some 'sliding'.
As in 'oh, skin looks as though it's sliding off...' mmm, yes. Just the look I was going for.

It didn't 'lift' my skin as much as my favourite foundations might- but for a BB cream, it did a really good job.
I'm looking forward to trying this in the light shade because without a lot of work (and a lot of concealer) this is too dark for my skin.
And despite it's good points, this product retails between £22 and £28.
And there are (a lot) of much cheaper foundations which do a better job.
So would I purchase this product? Mmmmm....I just don't know.
It is a great all-in-one. But I can't say it's worth its asking price.
If you're determined on BB creams as opposed to foundation, I'd recommend trying this one.
Don't waste your money on the cheaper drugstore versions that, in my experience, don't live up to their promises. It is worth saving your pennies for- just as long as you're prepared to blend!

Friday, 17 May 2013

REVIEW- L'oreal Glam Shine Stain Splash (this is a long one...)

Mixed bag: that's how to describe the many (many) reviews I've read of the L'oreal Glam Stain Splash.
But that's probably to be expected when a product is as hyped-up as this one.
Not least because bloggers were hoping for a YSL dupe.

L'oreal and YSL are part of the same's surely got to be, right?!
Well, evidently from what I've read- wrong.
And so a lot of those who were hoping for luxe at L'oreal prices were left disappointed.

Because of all the hype, I wasn't really expecting to like these lip stains.
Everyone knows you put Cheryl Cole on a product, pass it off with the word 'stain' and voila- you've got a best seller on your hands.
But the results of my little blogger musings have amused even me...

What It Says
New Glam Shine Stain Splash: it's a gloss that acts like a stain.
Our first of its kind 30% water-based formula to finally quench your thirst for shine AND lasting colour!
Application is easy with its unique feather soft wand that matches perfectly the contour of your lips.Shine feels fresh, barely there.Colour is easy with a stain finish that lasts up to 6 hours without drying out.

Well- the first thing to say is that I almost didn't buy one of these!
 ...have you seen the colour choices?!
Besides the one I went for, Juliet, I'd probably only otherwise pick Princess if I had to.
A couple of the pinks look pretty- but the nudes and lilac shade...really? 
Is that seriously what people want? 

I hope in time they'll bring out some better varieties- maybe an autumn berry? *hint hint*
Because at the moment, the most of these I can go to is two.
If the colours caught my imagination- who knows?! Maybe I'd end up with the whole set.
But right now, most are more bland than the carpet in my grandmother's hallway.

Except for Juliet- the one saving glory. A nice pinky-red that goes well with a smoky bronze eye.

In the advert, I've definitely heard CC say this 'feels like water' on the lips.
Well this isn't true.
The product is definitely heavier than water (which is just as well- H2O would be slipping and sliding all over the place).
You can feel this on your lips for a long time after applying.
I expected it to dry rapidly, but the glossy texture stays.
Slowly, this wears away in to a stain- but I can definitely get a good two hours of shine out of it beforehand.
And it's a bit more bright and red than in the photos. 

.......As for the six hour stay claims?
Well- actually-this is definitely up there with the best of them.
On first trial, I applied it at 2.30pm.
I then had Costa, went on a long train journey, ate, and drank some more- but the colour still remained.
I ended up re-applying four hours later. 
(Unfortunately it does break up after a while and has a tendency to creep in to any lines on the mouth.
And when it comes to re-applying, your best bet is to remove all of the product from the lips and start over.
Otherwise you end up with darker patches where the older layers have crept in to your crevices. Uncomfortable for all involved.)

 I like the wand on this product though- not only does it stop you from swiping on too much product, it makes application quick and easy.
And when first applied, my lips look instantly fuller.
In fact, I really like wearing this full stop. It does, as its name suggest, make me feel 'glam.'
This colour would work well to perk up a bare face and is, I would suggest, a pretty good choice for work (if you're allowed obvious lip colours...otherwise you might have to plump for the nudes...poor you).
When I wear this, I don't have to worry about it bleeding out or getting on my teeth- despite the long-lasting glossy texture.
I know some bloggers have said they needed to apply five layers to get the colour they wanted- but I don't find that's the case at all. Two is optimum and the colour density is a lot thicker than I expected.
So yes- sorry if this review has enabled you. Or if it's out-of-kilt with others you've read.
But I'm going to say it- I really, really like this product.
Maybe that's because I was expecting to hate it- who knows?!

What I do know is that I'll be repurchasing. As soon as the colour range gets over its ridiculous obsession with all things unwearable.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Maybelline Color Tattoo in Permanent Taupe

I know On and On Bronze is a firm bloggers' favourite.
I do like that.
But ya'll know how I feel about glitter.
And unfortunately it had to be this or that (although I am 100 percent determined On and On Bronze will be working its way in to my possession sooner or later.)
But you can't go wrong with a taupe eye. Well, I'm sure you can.
All I'm saying is, the Maybelline Color Tattoo makes it extremely difficult.

And Permanent Taupe is also extremely difficult to find.
My Superdrug friend managed to help me actually get my hands on this when it finally came back in to stock.
I know not every branch stocks it. And so far since I got it, I've looked in Tesco, several Boots- nada.
When these first launched they caused quite the stir, with some shade selling out UK-wide.
But I thought the hype might have died down enough to mean I could easily get this. I was wrong. Which I guess, although annoying, is a nice thing- clearly it's popular for a reason.

And if you're in to every-day eyeshadows/ brown smokey eyes, this is definitely worth tracking down.
Well- it stays put.
My biggest eyesahdow bug-bear is creasing. It annoys me so much to put something on in the morning and have it all over my face by noon.
This stuff...I don't think it knows the meaning of the word 'crease.'

Although you'd expect something with so much stick to feel heavy, it doesn't.
To the point where I even forgot I had it on.
So I was pleasantly surprised to look in the mirror and be like 'oh yea, hello.'(Not in a seductive way...that would be weird.)
*I know I look scraggly. This is 12-hours in.

Maybelline claim it will stay on for an entire day.I don't know about you, but I wouldn't be wearing make-up for 24 hours on the trot.
I wish I was the kind of girl who was partying here, traveling there...I'm not. I definitely have time for a good cleanse most nights!
I can, however, wear this for a good 12 hours.
Which, yes, is half the time it promises- but is still pretty good.
By hour10, you do get a bit of creasing. But that by any standards, that's acceptable.

The formula is pretty similar to the Mac Paint Pots (which I'm sure you've heard before).
Except these are £4.99.
You can't go wrong!
Unless you are really bad at applying eyeshadow....

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Dove Hair Oil and Intensive Repair

Show me a Sunday night where I'm not covering my hair in conditioner, wading through it with my Tangle Teezer, desperately trying to repair the damage of another tough-on-the-hair-weekend, and I'll show you a pig that can fly.

As a great woman once said, with great hair comes great responsibility.*
And, when it comes to backcombing it to within an inch of its life, your hair will always make sure that if you do the crime, you do the time.

So when I find, come Sunday night, I can barely get my fingers through my bouffant, I have no one to blame but myself.
Thankfully, I do have someone else to rely on for detangling.

No, I'm not a mega-rich princess who has a maid to brush her long, flowing locks each night (we can dream, we can dream).
I have Dove.
Two Dove's, to be precise.
And both costing as much as a Costa.
Nourishing Oil Care.

I can't get enough of this stuff.
Whether hair's dry, wet, up, down..this stuff doesn't care. It's not prejudiced! It will still nourish and tame and leave you smelling nice.
I'm literally obsessed with it at the moment.
I did have the coloured-hair variety, but now I have the Oil Care.
To be honest- I can't see that there's a difference. They both smell the same and act the same.

The formula comes in two parts- an oil which sits on top and a watery-conditioner.
You have to shake (well) to mix the two and spritz on to hair.
The one thing I'd change is the bottle- it spritzes fine when full, but when you've just got a bit at the bottom, getting it out becomes a problem.
Likewise trying to spray at an angle (which let's face it, is always how you want to spray your hair).

These two products have become part of my regular shopping list. A bottle of spray can last for about a month (if I'm stringent) and costs around £1.73 when it's on offer (a lot) at Boots.

A bottle of Intensive Repair conditioner? Four washes, at best.
I tend to slather it on in the shower, tie my hair up and give a good rinse at the end.
It does say it's a 1 minute conditioner, which is great for in a hurry- but I tend to leave it on just to make sure.
It leaves hair much easier to detangle (handy if you actually want to sleep at night...), soft, shiny and smelling clean.
I'd really like to see Dove make this stuff in a big tub, like Tresemme does with its conditioners.
But then I guess they wouldn't have thick-haired tangle-obsessives like me splashing out on a new bottle every fortnight.

*I don't know who, if anyone, has ever said this.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Maybelline Vivid Colors in Shocking Coral

Back in February (ahh, the promise of a new year...all the things I swore I'd have achieved by now...) I was really excited to get my hands on this lipstick.
It was super-hyped up, featured in all my favourite magazines.
I thought it'd be a dead cert for Valentines night (turns out I wore a different lipstick) and an essential coming in to spring (turns out spring looked like the back end of a bad winter).

Lo and behold, I did what most of us bloggers are guilty of (let's face it, that's true) and after the initial excitement wore off, this went in my ridiculous make-up collection and never came back out.
Well, it got to the point where enough was enough.
I like to pretend I lead a glamourous life to all of you on the other side of the screen, but being honest, I've got bills to pay and a dodgy gearbox that needs sorting.
So something's got to give. And unfortunately, that has to be my personal grooming bill.
No, I'm not saying I'm going to start skimping on showers and forgetting the deodorant.
But I mean the Boots hauls have got to take a back seat for a while.
So I've decided to shop my stash instead.
And whilst doing that, I rediscovered my Shocking Coral Maybelline Vivid Color lipstick.

So what do I think?

Well, it's more coral than I expected.
Which sounds ever so stupid, considering it's called 'Shocking Coral'.

This is very creamy and very wearable and doesn't dry out the lips. However, I think I'd prefer it a little more matte because this has a tendency to slip (hence the reason it was not chosen for Valentine Day...)
Pair this with a lip liner and blot like there's no tomorrow if you too prefer the matte look.
Worn that way, this does go down well as a nice stain. 
In terms of the whole 'vivid' selling point...yes, this is 'vivid'. But is it set apart in terms of shocking colour from any of the other bright lipsticks I've tried?...mmm not really.

In fact, as far as my eyes can tell, this is pretty similar to L'oreal Color Riche lipstick in 371. Which I love.
I saw it on Cheryl Cole on the cover of Glamour May 2011 (don't ask how I remember that) and I was like..yes, yes, you will be mine.
Shocking Coral is perhaps a little more, well, Shocking Coral.
But if you already have the L'oreal in your collection, you might not want to splash out another £8.
Left- Shocking Coral
Right- L'oreal Color Riche in 371

Will I be buying any more of the Vivid Colors collection in the future?
I can't lie to you- probably.
The formulation is nice, the colour pay-off is great..
Every time I'm in Boots I have a little swatch of Fuchsia Flash and think 'what if...'
But for now, my money is staying firmly in my pocket. And my hands are rifling through my already ridiculous collection on the look-out for more dupes....

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Summer Nail Picks! (...Where Is Summer?)

I felt like a bit of a prat walking around with a different colour on each fingernail.
It had been a (one and only so far) beautiful sunny day and I foolishly thought that might mean the start of summer.
Little did I care to remember Summer in the UK Equals Rain.
I know, I know- it's a well known formula, I should have known better.
So yes, walking around in the rain with fingernails that look like a circus is F.U.N
But now, I...oddly can't get enough.
*Sigh* I'd do anything to stand out from the crowd.
I'll keep it short and sweet today, much like my nails :) *bask in own self-importance*
So without further ado, these are my top summer nail picks....

l-r Rimmel Lycra Pro Coral Romance
Collection 2000 Hot Looks Electric Dreams
Barry M Yellow
H and M Blue My Mind
Rimmel I Love Colour Pop Your Pink

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Sleek Blush- Rose Gold

SOMETIMES (okay, all the time) I want to be Carrie Bradshaw.
Is that so much to ask?!
Yes, some of her clothing choices which in their day were hailed as fabulous, well, aren't.
But the fabulousness of it all!
Sleeping in, partying late, walk-in wardrobe, writing one column a week and managing to afford an NY apartment?
But, according to my so-called 'friends', changing my name, getting a perm and upping sticks to the Big Apple would be a bit weird.
So instead, I humour myself in my delusional little world by trying to be the CB of *certain county which shall remain nameless*
And when you consider there are more cows than people in *certain county that shall remain nameless* it can't be that difficult- can it?

Well, first up, the CB glow.
Carrie's make-up is very glossy 90s.
A look, incidentally, that is very 'now.'
Every SATC fan worth their salt knows her peachy-rose glow is down to Nars Orgasm.
And every blogger worth their salt knows of a little well-known dupe.
Sleek's Rose Gold.

Could I really channel Carrie on just £4.99?
She spends more than that on coffee in a single episode.
Now, I don't I have Nars Orgasm here to show you. But from my experience, these two are very, very similar.
Except for the price, of course.
But what you lose on price you don't lose on quality.

Just look at that glow!
I won't be using this as my everyday blush (you know I love this).
But for days when I need a little 'pick-me-up', facially, *okay, maybe that is every day*...a sweep of this goes a Carrie long way.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Resolution- #Glitterbomb? MUA Review

I usually avoid glitter like the plague.
Sneaking in to all my enlarged pores and crevices and crow's feet? No thanks, sparkly friend.
I'll stay on the side of matte.

But *sigh* as you know- Imma glow getter.
And I am fangirling all over Kate Bosworth and Jessica Beale and their 'from within' sheens right now.
But, because I'm not blessed with great skin/ an A-lister lifestyle/ a facialist on call, I'm on a constant quest for products that will give me a great 'fake it until you make it' glow.

So imagine my delight when I found a nice highlighting shade nestling amongst a budget palette.
This is the MUA eyeshadow trio in Innocence.

Now, a quick Google shows me other bloggers have picked up on this  as well.

I really like this shadow-palette.
Despite my aversion to glitter.
Aswipe of the three colours suggests they're not too ridiculous on the glitter-front (despite the budget price tag).

The instructions on the back of the compact suggest using all three of these colours at once- but that, I feel, would definitely be glitter overload.
Though to be honest, the highlighting colour is probably worth the £2.50 price tag alone.

I haven't had the chance to try the new MUA highligher, but I'm wondering if it might be similar to this?

Wear-wise, these aren't the most long-lasting.
You definitely need to re-apply before they look 'bitty.' And if wearing as an eyeshadow- primer is a must.
Plus, the little brush that comes with this? Nice gesture, MUA. But just useless.
Who actually uses those little brushes?!
Do I have tiny little baby hands? No, MUA, no I do not.
Fingers and the old 'blend blend blend' technique definitely work best. 
The darkest colour (right) is the one I can least get onboard with.
Having blue eyes, I try to avoid (now that I'm not 12-years-old and in the early noughties) any product that makes me look as though I've got pink-eye.
But blended with a matte brown (and if you're on a budget, MUA actually do a nice one) I like this for an 'everyday but making a bit of an effort' look.
...On the days I don't get up late and end up slapping my make-up on during the drive to work, of course. 

The darker shade, I tend to wear as a subtle wash over the lids paired with L'oreal Glam Shine Stain Splash in Princess on my lips with bronzer, in a nod to the 90s...

...Good 90s. Not Mr Motivator 90s.....

Overall, if you're on a budget, this is well worth a look.
It's really light and easy to carry in your bag. Plus the colours are buildable- great for any 'work-to-bar' emergencies.
Not that I have many of those. My evenings mainly consist of drinking green tea and pressing the 'refresh' button on Twitter. 

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

REVIEW- MUA Power Pout

Hello, my name is Chubby Stick and I'm made by Clini...oh no, wait....I'm a Just Bitten Kissable Balm, no wait a second...what does this writing say?
Oh okay, sorry, let's start again.
Hello, I'm a Power Pout Tint and Balm from MUA.

Well to be fair to the little bright fellow, it can't be easy not to get confused when you look so much like something else. 
It looks so much like the Chubby Stick and Revlon balm stains that I had to do a double take earlier. 

Balms and stains have made waves in the blogging world of late- it's little wonder that budget brands are now bringing out their own formulas. And good on them!, I say. 
But it's all very well selling yourself as a dupe of something- you have to make sure you've got a decent formula inside.

Just like the Revlon Just Bitten, this has a minty scent.
It is slightly chemical-ly, though not at all unpleasant.
When first applied, this gives your lips a bit of a tingle.
Maybe this might be doing something? It does say it's a 'balm' afterall...

Colour-wise, this stuff is faultless.
Runway is a deep coral-red colour and the packaging pretty much matches what's on the inside.
I haphazardly applied this in my first test-run and didn't look in the mirror properly. When I did, I was really (unexpectedly) taken with the colour.
Thedensity is much thicker when applied to the lips than the hand, but even blended out, this leaves a gorgeous glossy hint of tint that really lights up your face.

The downside?
Well, this stuff slips and slides.
While the initial feeling you get from applying this is 'wow, that was so easy', look in the mirror five minutes later and you'll find bleeding right across your cupids bow.
So the best way to put this on is little layers, plenty of blotting.
Which, unfortunately, makes a product that is designed to have a seamless and quick application a bit more of a faff.
And makes it more drying...ironic for a lip balm.
The bleeding might not be such a problem with the nude shades, such as Rendevouz.
But Runway really stands out.
Especially when it's on your chin.

Inevitably, these are going to be compared to the Revlon Just Bitten balm stains.
But that's to be expected when they're such an obvious dupe.
I know a lot of bloggers are saying they're almost identical, but I...*deep breath* have to disagree.
These are definitely more of a balm than a stain.
The formulation, in my opinion, doesn't stick and comes off with one careless swipe of the back of a hand.
To be fair though, these not once call themselves a 'stain'.
So as a 'balm' and a 'tint'? Yes- they definitely live up to their descriptions.
For £3, it's definitely worth a little treat. I'll be cracking this out a lot in the summer. I'll just be be very careful about where it's applied...

View Samantha Harman's profile on LinkedIn