Wednesday, 29 January 2014

NARS 'Orgasm' Blush Review!

Last month I made my first Nars purchase, and of course it was one of their much raved about blushes, in the cult shade 'Orgasm'.

The blush compact is a plain, matte black, rubberised compact sporting the Nars logo across the lid. I love the style of Nars' packaging, however because of the texture, I feel it will easily pick up dirt and finger marks.

I was a little disappointed when I opened the compact. Nars Orgasm is described as a 'peachy pink with golden shimmer', and it definitely had the gold shimmer, but to me it looked more of a brick-orange toned pink colour in the pan (I don't think this really translates in the above photographs), and not what I was expecting.

However, I should not have feared! On the skin it really is beautiful. It is definitely the peachy pink it is described as, and the golden shimmer isn't too much (although I do love a bit of sparkle) - it gives the cheeks a lovely warm glow.

I think Orgasm suits my fair skintone very well. A little definitely goes a long way with this blush, and in the above photo I only have a light dusting over my cheek. It builds easily though for a bolder look, or to be more noticeable on darker skintones than mine. 

I love this blush and can clearly see why Nars Orgasm is such a cult product, definitely super happy with this purchase and I can't wait to start a collection of Nars blushes (: 

Do you own Nars Orgasm? Have you tried any of Nars' other blush shades?

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Benefit Counter Makeover Experience

This post's a long'un! Hope you enjoy a good read...

Last month I picked up a couple of products from my local Benefit counter (Eye Bright and High Brow to be precise, both fab), and was invited to have a free makeover in January to try out some of their new and signature products. Of course the words 'makeover' and 'free' resounded in my ears, and I gladly put my name down for 12 noon on January 25th. 

The woman who did my makeup was friendly and clearly explained what each product was and what it was for before applying to my face. I was also asked what kind of lip and eye look I'd like to go for - I said a neutral lip with a hint of pink is usually my thing, with a bold eye, something smokey as a change to my usual liquid liner. I'm not sure this is the look I ended up with... but we'll get on to that later.

She started by prepping my skin with their Triple Performing Facial Emulsion, a light, oil-free moisturiser with SPF15 that felt nice and cool on the skin. Following that, she slathered (yes, slathered) my face in The Pore -Fessional, their well known cult primer that claims to significantly minimise the appearance of pores. It felt lovely and velvety smooth on the skin, but I can't say I was overly-wowed by the effect it had on my pores. I have a sample pot of it in my dressing table drawer but don't use it very often for that reason. For foundation their Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow was of course used (using one of their foundation brushes that felt really nice against the skin) - alarm bells rang in my head when I saw the shade she was about to use as it looked literally orange! As someone who is always matched to ivory shades, I had to say something, but was assured that it would look totally different on the face. Blended in, it did look okay (although not perfect), so I let her off. I think the women who work at beauty counters in general seem to think that I have more colour to my face than I do, however I just have a lot of redness due to skin sensitivity which gives the wrong impression. I do explain this at counters, sometimes they listen, sometimes they don't... 

The foundation was set with their Hello Flawless SPF15 Foundation Power. Now, this was definitely not my colour. When shown my face in the mirror I looked like a tangerine. However, as this makeover was free , I didn't say anything as by now I kinda just wanted to get it over and done with. Under my eyes, Fake Up crease-control concealer was used. It did the job, but didn't strike me as being particularly amazing. 

I did however ask to try out Erase Paste, their full-coverage under-eye concealer that I've been umming and ahhing over  for a little while now. It was applied under my left eye in the shade 01 Fair, while I had Fake Up under the right so I could make a comparison, and I was really impressed. My under eye area definitely looked a lot brighter, and all trace of dark circle was covered. With Fake Up, some slight darkness was still visible. Fake Up was then applied over the top for both sides to match (I guess?). 

For eyes, I was told she was creating a 'purple smokey eye' using the Sexiest Nudes Ever eye shadow palette. From all the "Oooh" and "That looks really great!" coming from the other counter assistant, I was expecting my eyes to look amazing. In short, they weren't, as you will soon see. Some winged Badgal pencil liner and a coating of They're Real mascara finished them off, another one of Benefit's cult products. I didn't think it was overly impressive, but I think that was probably down to someone else doing my mascara so precise application was not achieved - I'm a bit funny about people going too near my eyes and get into a bit of a blinking frenzy ha. I'd really like to give the mascara another go at some point, but using my own hand, before deciding whether or not it would be worth a purchase. Brow Zings was used for my brows, but I feel it didn't help improve their sparseness that much, and the colour was too warm for my liking. I'm very picky about my brows, but this product really didn't impress me. 

To finish, Benefit's new Lollitint that launched in stores today was used on my cheeks and lips. Lollitinit is a liquid lip and cheek stain in a candy-orchid pink shade. On my cheeks, I quite liked it. It gave a pretty, natural looking flush and didn't look too stark or bright, contrary to its appearance on the applicator. On my lips however, I really didn't think it suited me. I've never found bright pink shades to be my colour on my lips, and this was no different. Over the top, the corresponding Ultra Plush Lip Gloss was applied. Again, I wasn't really feeling the colour, but I did really like the feel and smell of it (not sticky at all and really fruity!) so this may be something I pick up in the future but in a different shade. 

So, finally, here's the finished result:

As you can see, the eyes are not exactly bold (or at least, not in my opinion) and I don't feel they look particularly smokey. To me, it just looks like a was of lilac shadow over the lids that gets slightly darker at the outer corners, paired with some grey pencil liner. My brows still look very small, sparse and patchy, and Brow Zings is not a product I will be purchasing. 

I'm also pretty sure I asked for a neutral lip, not fuschia. 

Plus, I'm orange. Brill haha. 

I did really like the feel and finish of the foundation (basically weightless, like I wasn't wearing any, and super natural coverage), and both the liquid and powder are things I would like to purchase in the future. However, I will definitely be visiting a different Benefit counter to get matched, as these shades were way off. I think your boyfriend telling you that you "look the wrong colour... like you've got a spray tan" never bodes well haha. Here's a another photo with the flash turned on to prove it...

... waaayyyy off. She didn't attempt to do any swatching or colour matching before going for my entire face. I think the shade of foundation contributed to my dislike of Lollitint on my lips, as the orange and bright pink just clashed with each other. Perhaps retrying it with a base that actually matched my skintone would make me see it in a different light, but for now it remains a no-buy. 

I do actually like the eyeshadow shade, it's a pretty pastel-lilac and I think it suits my eye colour. I was just disappointed as the look was not what I was expecting to have from the 'purple smokey eye' description. I'll probably be on the hunt for a dupe for this in the not-too-distant future.

As soon as I got home, I blended in the foundation more to try to make it work, fixed up my brows a little and whipped on my beloved liquid liner - I felt much more like myself again!

Despite not being overly impressed with the makeover as a whole, I didn't walk away from it empty handed. I decided to purchase Erase Paste as it's a product I've been thinking about getting for so long, and I really liked what it did to my dark circles i.e. made them invisible! For some reason I also signed up for another makeover in March. Ah well, it's free! 

Erase Paste comes in a cute little pot with a little spatula to get the product out with, and comes with a handy little instruction manual with Benefit's tips and tricks on applying it. I'm super happy with this purchase and can't wait to make it a part of my regular routine. I'm sure a full review will be on it's way! 

Hope you've made it to the end! Have you ever had a Benefit Makeover? How was your experience?

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Topshop 'Matte Nails' Nail Polish in 'Brutal' Review!

When I'm in Topshop, their makeup stands always catch my eye, and I go and have a gander at everything but always end up leaving empty-handed. I think the problem is I like the look of too many of the products, so find it easier to get nothing than to choose between them ha. On one of my (many) more recent visits however, this little polish caught my eye. Topshop Matte Nails in Brutal struck me as quite an unusual colour, being a deep, dark purple - especially for a matte formula. I'd heard a lot of people talking about matte polishes, and seeing as this one seemed to be calling out to me, I thought I'd get in on the action.

As you can see from the above photograph, the finish isn't exactly matte. It seemed to me to look almost like leather, with it's semi-matte, polished appearance. It also appears a lot darker on the nails that it appears in the bottle - almost black. It really isn't what I was expecting from it when I picked up the bottle. I don't dislike the finish, but it's just not what I thought I was buying so I was a little disappointed. 

Also, slightly weird thing happened - I applied hand cream over my hands and some inevitably got on my nails. This caused them to have the appearance of 'regular' nail polish, and the matte effect was completely lost. I thought that simply wiping off the hand cream would resolve this, but the polish remained that way and never returned to it's semi-matte appearance. 

Unfortunately, I've found that this polish doesn't last that well on my nails. After a couple of days it was noticeably chipped - chunks had come off on my index finger and thumb nails. Because of this, I think it will be a polish that I use specifically for a particular occasion as I wouldn't need it to last overly long, but not for my usual polish that I expect to last the week. 

I don't think I'll be purchasing any of Topshop's other Matte Nail polishes, but I'm not going to let this stop me from trying out their other formulations (I've actually purchased a lovely looking pastel blue glitter - fingers crossed it'll be just as great out of the bottle!) or any of their other beauty products in the future. Topshop's Matte Nails in 'Brutal' isn't an unpleasant product at all, I just think it's important to know what to expect from it before purchasing as it is very different from it's description. 

Have you tried any of Topshop's Matte Nails? What did you think of them? 

Monday, 13 January 2014

The Body Shop Vanilla Bliss Shower Gel & Shimmer Lotion Review!

Vanilla is one of my absolute favourite scents. I basically love anything that smells like a dessert - vanilla, ginger, chocolate, cinnamon, coconut, the list is endless. That being said, one of my favourite ranges in The Body Shop has always been their Vanilla products. For some reason, the full range is now only limited edition, and this breaks my heart. They offer do offer the Madagascan Vanilla Flower Range now, which is nice, but it isn't as extensive and just isn't the same.

The 'traditional' vanilla range of products was released for a limited time over the festive period under the name 'Vanilla Bliss', and when I saw it had to pick up some of my beloved vanilla-scented faves while I had the chance. 

Upon opening the shower gel, first impression was that the scent had changed slightly compared to the original. Unfortunately I no longer have any of my old bottles to compare ingredients to know for sure if any significant changes have been made, but it seems to me that the old vanilla range had a  much heavier scent, whereas the Vanilla Bliss products have a much lighter, creamier fragrance - it reminds me exactly of fresh, cold vanilla ice cream, and (as much as I loved the old range) I think it's a very welcome improvement. 

The Vanilla Bliss Shower Gel feels lovely and creamy against the skin, and very soothing - perfect for sensitive skins. It lathers up beautifully and fills your shower with a light and delicate, but also fresh, scent. Delicious!

I also picked up the Vanilla Bliss Shimmer Lotion, as with a tall bottle just like the shower gel, it seemed like the perfect partner to it.  The lotion does look very shimmery through the bottle, but when transferred on to the skin and massaged in, it gives the loveliest glimmering glow and doesn't look at all overly-glittery. This is great as it means this lotion isn't one you should avoid slathering all over yourself for your day-to-day body moisturiser. It shares the same light and creamy fragrance as the shower gel, and all the other products in the Vanilla Bliss range. It also contains skin-nourishing Shea Butter.

I couldn't help but pick up a limited edition Vanilla Bliss Body Butter as well, as Body Shop butters are much richer than lotions and I like to be able to choose what kind of moisturising product I want to use day-to-day, while sticking with a favourite fragrance (or am I just trying to justify the splurge...? ha). I haven't used any of it yet but I'm sure I'll love it just as much as previous body butters I've purchased from The Body Shop. And I didn't stop there - I also got a little Vanilla Bliss lip balm which is unfortunately all sold out online now, but you may still be able to find it in stores. It smells super yummy and only a small amount of the product offers a surprising amount moisturisation. It's also very subtly glittery, and I personally really like that about it.

If you couldn't already tell, I absolutely love the Vanilla Bliss range and I am so so sad that it was limited edition! I will definitely be stocking up on this same time next year, and in the meantime I'll keep my fingers crossed for it to come back permanently. 

Do you love the Vanilla Bliss range as much as me? Did you purchase any of The Body Shop's other limited edition ranges' products?

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

The Body Shop Ginger Sparkle Shower Gel & Shimmer Lotion Review!

I recently went on a bit of a Body Shop splurge haha, so I'll slowly be getting through the products and reviewing them all on here over the coming weeks - keep your eyes peeled! 

The Body Shop is one of my favourite shops, and I absolutely love treating myself to a few body and skincare products from them now and again, and I also regularly purchase my makeup from them (their Moisture Foundation is really great - I'll do a review at some point as I've repurchased it three times now). 

I thought I'd start off with the Ginger Sparkle Shower Gel (all sold out online now I believe, but still available in stores) and Ginger Sparkle Shimmer Lotion. I really love warming, spicy scents, so when the Ginger Sparkle range was released for the festive period I knew that I would have to get my hands on some of the products. 

The scent of the range is actually very refreshing - it's not overly heavy and reminds me of a cold glass of sparkling ginger ale. Because of this (although the range was only released for Christmas, and is now in their sale) I think the fragrance is appropriate for any time of year. I like to use a puffy body polisher such as this one when I shower, so only a small amount of this shower gel is needed to create a luxurious, delicious smelling lather that feels silky on the skin. 

The Ginger Sparkle Shimmer Lotion is a creamy body lotion containing shea butter, with a useful pump-applicator to dispense the product. It of course has the same fresh, ginger fragrance as the shower gel, making the pair the perfect duo. In the bottle, the lotion looks pretty shimmery (hence 'shimmer lotion'), almost glittery, but when massaged into the skin it leaves a noticeable but subtle shimmering glow - ideal for getting your skin smelling amazing and party ready, but not too much for every day also.

I'm in love with this pair and the entire Ginger Sparkle range(I also picked up the Body Butter and Hand Cream - both just as delicious!), and I'm yet to be disappointed with a product from The Body Shop (: Have you tried any products from this range? What's your favourite Body Shop purchase?