"Zest is the secret of all beauty. There is no beauty that is attractive without zest." - Christian Dior

Saturday, 28 July 2012

No.7 Perfect Lips Liner

I am a huge Lisa Eldridge fan. Seriously, if you haven’t seen any of her “How To” videos, you are missing a treat. Make-up artist to the stars, she is also a very down-to-earth and honest lady who seems to be entirely humble about her amazing make-up skillz. I also love the fact that she looks like a normal human being without her face on - she has some blotches, spots, bags, dark circles (although she is still gorgeous despite that) - but then takes you through a tutorial which turns her into the epitome of natural (but glamourous) perfection.

As an avid reader of Lisa's blog (and having recreated a few of her “looks” for myself, to varying degrees of success), I do like to try out some of the products that she uses or recommends in her videos. My “want to buy” list currently averages about 100 items, and I would probably attribute at least a third of these to products that I have seen Lisa use to magnificent effect.

That brings me on nicely to my recent purchase – No.7 Perfect Lips lip-liner. Lisa uses the Nude shade frequently in her videos, but I have also recently seen her use Blush – seeing as Boots had a 3 for 2 offer on No. 7 products when I paid a visit, I thought this was the perfect time to try out both shades to no further financial detriment.

Shade 10 – Blush is a softened berry-pink shade. Lisa used it with a feather-light touch and managed to make it look like the most perfect “just-bitten” lip stain. This shade is particularly gorgeous under a light pink lip gloss such as NYX Sweetheart – the lip liner just gives it a bit of depth and oomph.

Shade 20 – Nude initially worried me – the arm swatch looked distinctly brown (which, as we know, suits me NEVER). However, undeterred and having faith in Lisa, I tried it on my lips and lo! Behold! My natural lip colour turns this into a fantastic neutral-toned base, which will literally go with every neutral lip shade I own.

L = 10 Blush, R = 20 Nude. The twist-up mechanical pencil design is one of the best I've found.
L = 10 Blush; R = 20 Nude
10 Blush - shoddy application (my bad)
20 Nude
Out of the two colours, Nude is the creamiest and the nicest to wear over longer periods. That’s not to say that Blush is terrible, but it does have a little more tug and pull when applying than Nude. Although I haven’t worn either of them for longer than four hours, I can envisage that I will need a decent dose of Lanolips when I remove the Blush shade, but Nude (although not actively moisturising) didn’t seem drying at all.

No.7 Perfect Lips liners are currently available from Boots for £7.50 each.


Saturday, 21 July 2012

Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturising Lip Colour Balm

Sometimes, I need to wear lipbalm to soothe my flaky, scabby lips. Those are usually the days when I have an urge to wear lipstick, and unfortunately the two are generally mutually exclusive requirements.

Enter: Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm.

The colour I own is shade 13 – Mighty Mimosa, which is one of the new shades recently added to the range. According to their website, it is “…….a lip treatment with sheer colour that relieves dry, cracked lips and provides immediate moisturisation. The unique pencil-style applicator provides easy to apply sheer soft lip colour and rolls up for ease of use”.

I have been using this fairly regularly for a good couple of months now, and I must say it is fabulous. Nice and moisturising, with a lovely sheer wash of colour to give the lips a more polished look than just using a plain balm. This shade was one I received as a present for my birthday, and to be honest was not a colour I perhaps would have chosen myself, but I’m glad I got the chance to try it. It is a soft, subtle baby pink with a lovely sheen, and translates to a healthy brightening effect on the lips.

I'll say this for Clinique - they do "classy yet modern" packaging very well
Left: bare lips for reference        Right: Chubby Stick in Mighty Mimosa
Clinique is a brand which I have neglected somewhat of late. I used to use their 3-step skincare religiously for a while, until I realised that it just wasn’t doing my skin any favours – and I adore their High Impact mascara. But lip products aren’t something I would ever immediately think to buy from Clinique.

These Chubby Sticks are a tad on the expensive side - £16 for what is essentially a tinted lip balm might seem a bit too rich for some people’s blood – but you get a fair amount of product for the money (3 grams, which is a little bit less than a “normal” twist-up lip balm, which are normally about 4g). A little of this goes a long way – and the colour can be built up into a pretty intense shade if you want, although that would kind of defeat the object.

I can see me getting a few more of these – there are some gorgeous shades available in the range (eight new ones have recently been added), and I currently have my eye on Chunky Cherry, which looks like a pretty, sassy, sheer red, and a great way to wear a little pop of colour without going too far outside my comfort zone. Bountiful Blush looks like it would be the perfect MLBB shade.

Chubby Sticks are available directly through the Clinique website (which currently has an offer on, whereby you buy two Chubby Sticks and get a free “chubby coloured pouch”, whatever that is!).

Have you tried these? What do you think?


Thursday, 19 July 2012

NARS sheer lipstick - Tzigane

I love all things NARS. I know, I know, I have expensive taste. I even love the products which perhaps aren’t worth the money……….. (Brightening Serum, I’m looking at you). But if there is one NARS product that is definitely worth a look, it’s their lipsticks.

There are four formulas available – satin, sheer, semi-matte and pure matte, and I love them all. Even the mattes (which I would normally back slowly away from without making eye contact, for fear of my lips flaking just by being in the same room as a matte lipstick).

This is one of my favourites – Tzigane.

One of the sheer formula lipsticks, Tzigane is one of the most moisturising lipsticks that I own, and despite it’s formula title is actually quite an opaque colour on my lips. Staying power is slightly above average for me – a couple of hours (which, considering I am such an inveterate tea drinker, is pretty damn good), but I can eke it out to three hours if I apply a lip-liner underneath (I like NYX Peekaboo Neutral with this one).

NARS describe the colour as a “pink brandy”, which is cute but not entirely correct. It’s a slightly rosy muted brown, leaning slightly warm as it has a hint of peachy undertone. If I recall correctly, this was originally part of the Spring 2011 collection.

The black, rubberised packaging picks up every single fingerprint and speck of dust. Robust, though.

Left: bare lips            Right: NARS Tzigane
It works fabulously with a simple neutral eye (I usually go for a wash of champagne shimmer on the lid and a mid-taupe blended crease, with lashings of black eyeliner), and the NARS Gilda blush as it suits the undertones of the lipstick perfectly.

My heart tells me I need to get a load more of these lippies, although at £17.50 a pop I may have to take out a third mortgage (I have already got a second mortgage on the go after having bought a couple of NARS blushers…..!).

Next on the list to try – Pago Pago, Dolce Vita, and Outsider.

NARS lipsticks can be purchased directly through their website, or at Space NK

Which NARS lipstick formula do you prefer? Or do you think they are overpriced nonsense….?


Friday, 13 July 2012

MUA eyeshadow palette - Heaven and Earth

Is anyone superstitious out there?

In order to try to alleviate some of the Friday 13th blues, I thought I would introduce you to my new favourite eyeshadow palette (for now, at least!).

I love neutral eyeshadows. They’re just so easy to wear – either just as a wash of colour over the lids for the daytime, or built up into a smoky eye for the evening.

This 12-shade palette has got a great mix of work-appropriate as well as more dramatic shades. I feel as though this leans slightly warmer than other palettes I’ve got, but cool-toned ladies will be able to work with this too (unlike the Naked palette…!). The finishes are all satin-shimmer, so if you’re after some matte shades this isn’t the one for you. However, none of them venture into disco-glitterball territory so ladies of all ages and dispositions can wear this with pride (although I personally don’t subscribe to the whole “older-ladies-can’t-wear-shimmer” mindset – who made that one up?!).

I have taken to wearing one of the lighter shades all over the lid during the daytime, as it takes about five seconds to apply (more time in bed!) but the subtle shimmer really gives your eyes a boost, and makes them look more awake and twinkly.

Some of the darker shades would benefit from being applied over a primer as they do crease a little, but to be honest I tend not to bother on a day-to-day basis.

There are loads of these in the MUA store. I’ve currently got my eye on the Undressed palette (‘cos a girl can never have too many neutrals, yano?). Apparently it’s a fabulous dupe for the Naked palette; although I already own Naked I would be interested to see what the differences are. I also quite like the look of the Glamour Days palette, it seems to have some interesting purply-colour shades I’d love to try. And for a mere £4.00 each, I think this is an addiction I can afford to fuel….!

Anyway, let’s have a look at Heaven and Earth:

Top row
Bottom row
Are there any others you think I should try?


Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Make Up Academy - mini haul 2

Having got over the initial shock of the cheapness of the goodies I ordered last week, I thought it now time to have a more in-depth look at some of the items. Blushers first.

I tried to go for those which looked as though they might suit my skin tone….. but that’s the problem with buying online I suppose; it’s a bit “sight unseen”. Unfortunately it’s the only way I could get them – although MUA products are sold in my local Superdrug, whenever I have been in there it’s as though people are expecting some sort of Apocalypse and the shelves have been picked bare of anything useable, with only the odd forlorn lipstick left like a lone survivor amidst the chaos.


I still haven’t had chance to roadtest all of the lippies yet, so that will be a review to come in the next week or so. I have had chance to test out these fabulous blushers though – and yes, they are fabulous.

In the end, I went for three shades, which are numbered rather than named. I found all three of them to be relatively finely milled, and nice and “buttery” feeling.

Shade 1 is the lightest of the bunch and (in my opinion) the prettiest. This is a fantastic everyday shade, in a cool-toned light pink which suits my skintone perfectly. This one had the lowest pigmentation of the three, which is no bad thing – I get the feeling that this one will be my go-to daily shade (once my NARS Sex Appeal finally runs out). Application is easy peasy, and you can be as heavy handed as you like due to the low pigmentation.

Shade 2 is a warmer shade of pink, a tiny bit darker than Shade 1 and with rosier undertones. This one still suits my cool skin, weirdly – it is still quite sheer in terms of pigmentation so I suppose that helps. This is still day-time appropriate, too.

Shade 3 is the darkest of the bunch, and is definitely not one I would have bought had I seen it in the flesh – a much browner shade (almost mahogany) with distinctly warm undertones, this one is also the most pigmented so you have to have a light hand. This would probably better suit ladies with darker skin tones (I might like it a bit better if I had any sort of tan!).

For the princely sum of a pound each (yep, you read that correctly - £1), you can’t go far wrong with these. I see a few more on the horizon…….

Apologies for the big gouge mark on Shade 1 – I mistakenly dug my thumbnail into it as I was lining them up for their picture. 

L-R: Shade 1, 2 and 3

See any you fancy?


Sunday, 8 July 2012

Make Up Academy - mini haul

A very, very quick one -  I was very excited to place an order on Superdrug’s website last week for 13 items, and for it to cost me the princely sum of £17.

Yes, you read that correctly – seventeen pounds.

I think I am a bit late to join the Make Up Academy (MUA) bandwagon. Lots of other beauty bloggers have got there before me and probably evaluated them a lot more clearly, succinctly, humourously and sexily.

I couldn’t wait for this package to turn up – I was desperate to see how the £1 lipsticks could be anything more than coloured blobs of wax. As well as seven lippies, I invested (ha!) in a few blushers, a mascara, a nail polish and an eyeshadow palette (the highly acclaimed set of neutrals, “Heaven and Earth”).

So far I haven’t thoroughly road-tested anything, but was so excited by the whole prospect that I ripped the package open and swatched the first things I could get my hands on – the lippies.

Detailed reviews of everything, along with slightly better swatches, will be coming over the next couple of weeks – watch this space! In the meantime, cast your eyes over this pile of cheap and cheerful gorgeousness.

L-R: Shades 7, 8, 10, 11, 14 (Bare), 15 (Juicy), 16 (Nectar) - yes, some of them are just numbered but the newer shades have names, too
MUA cosmetics are available directly through their website, or some branches of Superdrug. I for one will probably buy one of everything – I’ve definitely got my eye on the new Undressed eyeshadow palette, which is hailed to be one of the better dupes for Urban Decay’s famous Naked.


Friday, 6 July 2012

NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer SPF30/PA+++ - Finland

Phew, bit of a mouthful.

I’ve been wanting to try this for ages – what with the summer potentially happening this year (although no sign of it yet, bah), but was initially a bit dubious. I’m so attached to my Estee Lauder Double Wear Light (reviewed here), I thought “Surely there’s no point even trying it? It’ll never be as good.” Well here it is in my possession, so my resistance is once again proven to be futile.

Before we hear what I think, let’s see what NARS say:

“Your skin – almost bare, but better. This advanced, oil-free formula provides a translucent veil of colour and sun protection while helping to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation and dark spots in just four weeks. Infused with lush, naturally derived botanicals and ingredients to immediately help thirsty skin feel hydrated. Kopara from French Polynesia and mineral rich seawater revive and re-mineralize skin for a softer, smoother, and brighter natural glow. Skin is transported.
·       Advanced sun protection
·       Hydrates and helps reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation and dark spots for a brighter natural glow
·       Oil-free. Dermatologist tested. Non-comedogenic. Synthetic fragrance free.”

I umm’ed and ahh’ed about which colour to get, but in my traditional foundation-buying fashion I just plumped for the lightest shade in the range – Finland. It’s usually a fairly safe strategy. In actual fact, when it arrived, I thought it might be slightly too light but it seems to blend in seamlessly with my skintone – I suppose with such sheer coverage the shades are a little more forgiving.

Finland is described on the NARS website as having “a neutral balance of pink and yellow”, and that’s fairly spot on. Although I thought the hand swatch looks a little on the yellow side, again it seems to blend in nicely on the face.

Coverage is fairly typical of a tinted moisturiser, i.e. there’s not very much of it. It feels divine though; soothing to my dry skin, and the moisturised feeling lasts all day. Despite its sheerness, I do feel as though it evens out my skin tone a little. With a touch of concealer on my under-eye bags (suitcases?) I feel as though I could leave the house without scaring small children.

A bit of powder over the top and it lasts around six or seven hours.

Just a quick review today – unfortunately exam marking waits for no man (or in this case, woman). So here are a few pics to whet your appetite.

Not great lighting, but a relatively real-life portrayal of the colour
Buy directly from the NARS website here for £27.00, or from Space NK.


Sunday, 1 July 2012

Old faithful – Diorskin Nude Natural Glow Hydrating Make-up

Don’t you hate it when everything runs out, all at once? Well, no, actually. I love a good Boots splurge, me. My wallet isn’t so keen, but I find there’s no greater feeling than wandering into Boots with a product list and a determined look on your face.

Part of the point and purpose of the trip was to also try out a new foundation, which I’ve had my eye on for a while – Chanel Vitalumiere Satin Smoothing Fluid makeup – unfortunately, although the texture felt divine and coverage was fabulous, it was far, far too yellow for my skintone (I tried it in the palest colour, Limpide). Shame really, I was a little bit gutted.

Sigh. Back to the old faithful, then. Back to the only foundation I have ever repurchased, and several times at that. I’m talking about Dior’s Diorskin Nude Fluid foundation.

Boots had got a fab offer on, where a £50 purchase of premium beauty products entitled you to an instant tenner off. Not sure how long it will last, but my sister and I loaded up on stuff and managed to qualify twice for this promo (by putting the purchases through in two separate transactions).

Anyway, back to the foundation. Diorskin Nude is the only foundation I’ve tried which fulfils the Holy Trinity of Foundation Purchasing – right coverage, right colour and right for my skin type. Coverage is medium-sheer, the colour has is a lovely neutral beige undertone and although it doesn’t seem to actively moisturise my skin that much, it certainly doesn’t dry it out or go flaky at all, which is a mini miracle.

If you haven’t tried Dior foundations before, their numbering system is actually quite good. They use three digits, which is a bit superfluous really. The second number indicates the intensity (how light/dark it is) where 1 is the lightest. The third number indicates the undertone, where 0 is neutral, 1 is warm (yellow/olive), 2 is cool (pink) and 3 is peachy (warm, but not olive). As a word of warning though, not all intensities are the same in the different Dior formulas – in the Diorskin Sculpt, for example, the 010 Ivory is almost white, whereas in Diorskin Nude it is a tad darker. The undertones do seem to run true, though.

My perfect colour in Diorskin Nude is 020 – Light Beige. Please bear in mind, that this foundation does oxidise ever so slightly – not so bad for me, with super-dry skin, but if you’re slightly oilier this may cause you an issue (having said that, if you’re oily-skinned, I wouldn’t recommend this foundation anyway).

From the Boots website:

“Containing nearly 40% water, this fluid foundation offers an instant sensation of well-being and complete skin hydration. A very natural looking foundation that illuminates your face for a healthy glow. With daily use, the skin becomes more beautiful for an ever more natural and radiant result day after day.”

Let’s have a look at it in 020 - Light Beige:

I prefer to apply this with either my fingers or a stippling brush to blend out the edges seamlessly; having said that, this foundation doesn’t take that much effort on the blending front. I can apply a second coat without too much caking, but generally I tend not to bother – the medium-sheer coverage of this foundation is its major selling point, so putting on an extra layer would probably defeat the object.

It definitely gives a glow to the skin, without being overly dewy (which usually means “shiny”). I can get away without powder, but do usually put a little bit on round the nose and mouth in order to up the staying power, which is actually not bad even without the powder (about eight hours-ish on me). A little touch up of powder mid-afternoon and job’s a good ‘un.

Using this every day, I will get a good few months of wear out of this – a little goes a long way. One good, solid pump is usually enough for my whole face.

Diorskin Nude Natural Glow Hydrating Make-up is available from Boots.com for £31.00.