Thursday, 4 April 2013

Browsing For New Brows | Illamaqua Brow and Lash Gel | Review

No matter how much time I have to get ready in a morning, there is always one step I can never leave the house without completing - my brows. I'm a lover of really strong defined brows, but as I've been lightening my hair I've found myself having to adjust my brow routine to be a lot softer and lighter. 

Naturally I have very fine, blonde brows. When my hair was dark (practically black) it was easy to just whack on some MAC Espesso powder and not even have to worry about what my actual brows looked like underneath. Now I've switched to lighter shades my actual brows are a lot more prominant, and so I've been on a 'brow mission' to get them, quite literally, back into shape.

I've been leaving them to grow out, only plucking hairs that are no where near where I want my eventual thinkness to be. I've also been trimming them - brushing them upwards with a spoolie and trimming hairs that go above the top of my brow line. But my biggest issue is that I have 'downward brows', i.e. the hairs in by brows grow down towards the arch. This means it's always a struggle to get my brows looking even remotely presentable. So I scoured the blogosphere for a good brow gel and I finally settled on the Illamasqua Brow and Lash Gel.

I've been told this gel is like 'superglue for your eyebrows', and that it keeps your brow hairs locked in place all day. My initial worries were that it would be visible on my brows and that it might leave clumps, like mascara can do on lashes. Thankfully these worries were put to rest as the product really does live up to it's rave reviews as being one of the best lash gels on the market today.

The product is a clear gel, which personally I prefer as I feel coloured brow gels can sometimes be more visible. You get 8ml of product for £11.50 (I got it slightly cheaper as the Illamasqua website have a 10% loyalty discount) compared to the 8ml for £12.50 that you get with MAC Brow Set - so price wise it's cheaper than it's most obvious competitor. The applicator spoolie isn't too big, so you don't feel like you're loading your brows up with product. It sets clear and most importantly it doesn't set clumpy or shiny - it's literally undetecable. 

It's certainy a strong gel, you do feel a bit like someone is pulling your brows up at first, but once you get use to it it's not really noticable. Over all it does what it promises to do, which is to "create flawlessly finished brows" and "to hold your look in place."

[On my natural brows]

Worth the hype?

Yes! It is a really great, not too expensive product that will keep your brows tamed and controled. In my opinion it is the best brow gel I've ever used, and definitely trumps MAC Brow Set by a mile!

What are your experiences with brow gels/waxes? Which ones would you recommend?

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Shiny, Softer Hair! | Wella Professionals Oil Reflections | Review

Hair oils have really taken off over the last few years, replacing sticky, heavy serums as the new 'go to' products for tammed and conditioned hair. Moroccan Oil is perharps the most well known and well loved oil in the Blogger/Youtube community, and although I've used both the originial and light versions I've never been completely satisfied with them. I feel they sometimes leaves my hair a bit sticky, and the smell it's exactly my favourite. Step in Wella Professionals Oil Reflections!

I picked up this product last month at the salon I frequent after my stylist advised me to use it whilst I'm lightening my hair, and with it being only £11 I decided to give it a go. In all honestly I wasn't expectiong much. I've used a number of hair oils over the last two years and I've found the majority of the ones that are in this £10 price range are bulked up with all sorts of other ingredients and silicones that weigh down hair, and tend to have an overpoweringly sweet smell. But this product really suprised me!

The scent is sweet, but not overpowering - it smells of almonds which is one of my favourite scents ever! So it was definitely a winner for me on that front. But what I love most about the product is how light it is. I put 3 pumps in after washing (2 pumps in the mornings I don't wash my hair) and a pump at night, as well as additional little pumps throughout the day if I feel like I need it. Now this seems like a lot of oil right? And taking into consideration the fact that I have fine hair I should in theory look like a grease ball - but I don't! It's truly incredible. My hair doesn't feel greasy, weighed down or sticky, it just feels smoother, softer and in better conditon.

Worth the hype?

Yes! I can't recommend this product enough! It really gives great results and doesn't leave any sticky or tacky residue - you wouldn't even think you had any product in your hair at all. The smell is devine (if you like sweet smells, that is) and just adds the finishing touch to an already great product.

Have you tried any hair oils? Which ones are your favourites?

Monday, 18 March 2013

Glitter is a Girl's Best Friend | Facebook Page and New Twitter!

Hey Guys! This is just a really quick post to let you know I've set up a facebook page and a new twitter account for the blog - just a way to keep in touch after Google Reader and Google Friend Contact close down.

It would mean so much to me if you could take the time to like the page and follow me on twitter, I also joined Bloglovin' last week so don't forget to follow me on there too! 

Thanks a lot lovelies!

Xen Tan Moroccan Tan | Review

If you've had a gander back at my previous posts, you may be aware that I've been in a long term relationship with Xen Tan for two years now. After being let down by so many other fake tans, they've really been my saviour. After finishing my most recent bottle of Xen Tan Absolute Luxe Dark Lotion, I decided to switch it up and ordered the new Moroccan Tan formula, knowing that with it being Xen Tan, it wouldn't disappoint. And I was right!

In all honesty, I didn't research the product at all before purchasing, I had some vague knowledge about the formula - the fact that it contained argon oil and provided a super dark colour - but other than that I had just expected a similar consistancy and pay off to the Absolute Luxe... and here is where the product really blew me away!

If any of you have tried the Absolute Luxe, you'll know that the colour pay off is great - it's really dark and lasts a long time without fading patchy - and you really can't fault it in that respect. But you'll also know what I mean when I say that it could be a pain to apply, as there was no colour guide and the product itself was quite thick and sticky, consiquently it took a while to dry. I had non of these problems with the Moroccan Tan, to the contrary it was perhaps the nicest and easiest formula of tan to apply that I've ever tried. 

As you can tell by the above, it's really dark in colour and so you get a reasonable colour guide. And the smell! It's advertised as tropical, to me it smells like pure coconut bliss! Which makes a welcome change from smelling like mouldy digestive biscuits. Finally, a fake tan that actually smells nice, who'd have thought?

Now for the pay off, which is really what you clicked on this link to see. The below pictures are a before and after that I took in natural light, although you can tell that my skin is definitely darker, I feel the after picture didn't really capture how dark the tan actually was.

Worth the hype?

Yes! Move over Absolute Luxe, you have been replaced. This really is an amazing product and as much as I rave on to anyone who will listen about how great Xen Tan is, it's actually because I really believe that, for me, no other fake tan brand out there right now compares. The price is a bit expensive, coming in at £24.99 for 236ml, but you're getting what you pay for. Products such as St. Mortiz and other cheap tanning products may not break the bank, but I find them drying and unreliable, where as I know when I apply Xen Tan at night that I will wake up with a beautfil, natural tan that will last a good 4-5 days (not a week as advertised but hey, I'm not complaining).

Have any of you tried the Moroccan Tan? What are you're thoughts?

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Cheek to Cheek | Ben Nye Creme Contour & Daniel Sandler Watercolour Blush | Review

It seems that Winter is not quite ready to relinquish it's seasonal throne just yet, but that doesn't mean we can't start to look forward to the warmer months ahead! In the makeup industry, Spring/Summer is all about creams - cream shadows, cream blushes, and the newest addition to the cream scene... cream bronzers/contours.

I'm an all year round cream user. Chanel's 'Soleil tan de Chanel' has been a holy grail product for me for over two years now, and Topshop's cream blushes are my go to cheek products. It's all well and good sticking to your trusty favorites (if it ain't broke, don't fix it right?), but as a makeup lover I'm always drawn to the next best thing to grace the market. After being stuck in somewhat of a rut, I decided to indulge myself with two of the most hyped cream products of 2012, and see whether they really do live up to their names.

Daniel Sandler Watercolour Blush

Not so much a cream as a liquid, the 'Watercolour Blush' is the stand out product of the Daniel Sandler range, and has gained a reputation amongst the beauty community as being the ultimate cream blush. The product is very watery and quite tricky to handle until you get use to it. I find the best way to apply it is with your fingers, and little by little (I stress this last point as a little goes a long way, and a little more goes too far!). I purchased the colour 'Chic' as I prefer my blushes on the peachy side.

Worth the hype?

Yes! Once you get use to handling the product and work out how much you need this product is a dream to work with. It provides a sheer, but buildable wash of colour that blends easily into the skin and leaves a dewy, but natural finish. Note: The product does contain a very small amount of shimmer.

Ben Nye Media Pro HD Creme Contour

Cream contours are incredible things, especially for those of us who hate to lose the dewyness of our skin to the tryant of the matte bronzer! As previously mentioned, I swear by 'Soleil tan de Chanel' and it really has changed the way I view cream products. The only down side to it is that it is an orangey based products and can, when applied to heavily, leave you looking orange yourself. I was hoping that the Ben Nye Creme Contour would be the answer to this problem, as you can see by the swatches that it is definitely more brown than orange. Hyped by the Pixiwoo sisters, I've been coverting this product from a far and had high hopes for it.

Worth the hype?

I'll stick to Chanel! It may be more expensive and have a tango warning, but it delivers -  sadly, the Ben Nye Creme Contour just doesn't for me. Although appearing pigmented on the swatches, I found it really difficult to get any colour pay off, and although it did provide some colour so far as bronzing goes, it wasn't nearly pigmented enough to create a contour. I'm going to continue trialing this product to see if through different techniques I can get a better result, but from first impressions... not good!

Finally I just wanted to finish off with a picture of both the products combined. The products are heavily applied for the sake of the photograph, as I found both hard to photograph with being so sheer.

I'd love to know any of your experiences with these products if you have any, particularly the Ben Nye Creme Contour, as maybe you've had better results with colour pay off than I have.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Urban Decay 'Theodora' Oz The Great and Powerful Palette | Review

Whenever Hollywood produces a huge blockbuster film with whimsical female characters, it's only time before one of the big makeup brands jump on its bandwagon and release a limited edition collection. With all the buzz surrounding the release of 'Oz The Great and Powerful', Urban Decay has released three limited edition palettes - one for each of the three witches. To say I was excited for the film was an understatement, and when I heard about the palettes I had an irresistable urge to buy all of them! Sadly, my bank balance wouldn't allow this and I had to settle with only one. Of the three, I felt the Theodora palette was both the most wearable and the most suited to my skin tone.

The Theodora palette boasts eight eyeshadows (four of which are compacted into duos), a black 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil and a Super-Saturated High-Gloss Lip Colour. The palette is made of a sturdy plastic, and thankfully not the velvet-like material Urban Decay are known to use which, although looks nice when first purchased, turns grubby very quickly. As well as the material, what I love about the structure of this palette is that the eyeshadows are removeable, so you can rearrange the colours to how you want and, if you're a YouTuber, you can hold them up individually to the camera. You could even put them in your own home-made palette if you wished!

The shadow colours are all of the same great standard we've come to expect. They're highly pigmented, easy to blend and have a smooth texture - although the usual fallout downside still applies. I'd go as far to say that I prefer this palette to my Naked one, as I feel the colours supply me with everything I want:

- 'Broken' is an amazing nude highlight colour

- 'Beware' is the perfect matte, mid-toned brown for crease definition

- 'Bewtiched' provides me with a cool toned dark brown, and 'West' is it's warm counterpart

- The 'Spell' duo of a black and gold shimmer are essentials for me in any night out look

- and finally, the 'Jealous' duo, a light and mid-toned green, give me a great alternative to neutrals that will contrast beautifully with my blue eyes.

Little needs to be said about the 24/7 liner, as it's reputation for being an amazingly black eye-liner which stays put preceeds it, so I have not included a swatch of it in this review. The only thing left to discuss is the Super-Saturated High-Gloss Lip Colour in 'Theodora'. I have slightly mixed feelings about this product, as I have slightly mixed feelings about any glossy lip product. I'm not a fan of lip gloss or any lipstick that it's matte. I find them irritating to wear, my hair sticks to them, they never stay put and I find them, quite frankly, a waste of time and money. Why this product gives me mixed feelings is, because against all odds, I actually really like it. I wouldn't have paired it with a smokey-eye like the palette directions suggest, but even that I supirsingly liked. It is certainly both super pigmented and high shine but incredibley isn't sticky, and what's more I had it on all day as a road test to it's longevity and it was still glossy when I took it off at night. I wouldn't run out to buy an other colours - but I'm very happy with this one.

I followed the directions for the Theodora makeup look as a bit of insight for you guys as to what you would be buying into should you choose to purchase it, and also for a bit of fun! It's nice to follow instructions sometimes as it takes all the thought out of it and lets you get on with the fun stuff. It's a lot more makeup than I would usually wear, as I never pair red lips with smokey eyes, but it was fun for a day.

I hope I've done this palette justice with this review, because it really is an amazing product and I'd recommend it to anyone who loves neutals and red lips!

Saturday, 2 February 2013

My Crowning Glory

Some of you may remember I post I did quite some time ago now about Crown and Glory. I've been an avid wearer of their beautiful hair accessories for years, and Sophie King (the creator behind the brand) never ceases to amaze me with her amazing floral designs. To add to my ever growing collection, I purchased the 'Whole Lottie Rose' Headband, having been inspired by it's uncanny resemblance to one Lana Del Rey wore in one of her iconic images. I may not look as amazing as she does in it, but I love the headband all the same. The headband, priced at £20, comes in a range of colours - I bought the mine in Lilac.

You can find the 'Whole Lottie Rose' headband and other stunning hair accessories at Crown and Glory's Website

Happy hair days guys!

Friday, 10 August 2012

Walking on Tortoise Shells

Just a quick post to show you the newest addition to my ever expanding shoe collection - I picked up these babies in the Topshop sale for £30! I'm so happy with this purchase as I have literally been pining after these shoes ever since they were first released. Well, good things come to those who wait! I love the tortoise shell heel, I feel like it makes them more than just another pair of black heels, whilst still being versatile enough to pair with pretty much anything and everything.