Sunday, 25 December 2011

Happy Christmas!

Sorry I've been a bit lax on the posting recently. Law application deadlines are looming and the whole thing is like a full time job!

I hope that wherever you are and whatever you are doing, you have a lovely Christmas and New Year. This is my first Christmas with a dog, and despite my best efforts to keep wrapping paper out of her reach, she still managed to find something to chew!

Looking somewhat sheepish....
On a final beauty related note, the Zuneta and Space NK sales have started already. There are some nice bits from By Terry at the latter and if you like Guerlain, House of Fraser has some products in the sale. My aim for 2012 is to hugely reduce my spending on beauty products so I will be refraining, but to the rest of you, happy shopping!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

The wonder of eyelash extensions - Daxita Lashes

Ever since I first heard about them a couple of years ago, I have always wanted to try eyelash extensions. I am useless with false lashes and if I do manage to get them on after attempts in double figures, I am usually too scared to leave the house wearing them for fear a few hours later they will be stuck to my cheek. Although my lashes are naturally long, they lack thickness and the tips are fair so the length is lost unless I use mascara, and finding a mascara that doesn't smudge is a difficult mission. I hoped that extensions would solve this problem.

I admit I am not too keen on beauty treatments. I like them in theory, but in practise, the thought of a stranger in close proximity to my face fills me slightly with dread. Luckily, my curiosity and desire for beautiful lashes outweighed my fear and I got a full set of eyelash extensions in summer, just in time for bridesmaid's duty at my brother's wedding.

Eyelash extensions in action as a bridesmaid at my brother's wedding (would have been helpful if I had dieted before the wedding rather than after....)
Eyelash extensions have become a lot more popular in the last few years, particularly for brides, and are far more widely available, but on average they take around 2-3 hours to apply. What sets Daxita lashes apart is that Daxita herself specialises just in lashes and eyebrows and has done for years. This has meant she has developed her own technique which minimises application time. It took me less than 45 minutes for a full set (although this is advertised as taking 1 hour), which when I have considerable joint problems, made a huge difference. There is no way I would have been able to last a couple of hours.

Daxita herself couldn't have put me more at ease and she is an incredibly relaxing person, making something I had been very nervous about an enjoyable experience. There are 4 different looks you can go for with the lashes, ranging from natural to full on fake. I chose the natural but with some added length at the edges and centre. The application wasn't painful at all, maybe an odd sensation for the first few minutes but you quickly get used to it.

Daxita prides herself on knowing what will suit her clients, from face shape to lifestyle, and mine were perfect. So much so that when I went to get my hair done on the day of my brother's wedding, all the girls in the salon wanted to know exactly where I'd had my lashes done as they were so impressed. It took one brave girl about 30 minutes before she finally asked if I had extensions, as they look natural, and then everyone was gathered around having a look. 

Olivia Palermo
I have often looked at certain celebrities and wondered quite how they get such a lovely eye shape, almost like a cat eye but not using very heavy liner a la Angelina Jolie, think more Olivia Palermo and Olivia Wilde. Now I think I know the answer, eyelash extensions. The whole time I wore them I used barely any eye makeup because I didn't need it. The fullness and slight curve of the lashes gave the effect of eyeliner and it is a huge and welcome boost to the ego to be able to wake up and look far better than usual. Add to that never having to worry about mascara smudges etc, and you begin to realise their true value.

This brings me to the one downside of extensions though, they can easily become a very expensive addiction. You very quickly get used to seeing your face with this added benefit so when the lashes are finally no more, it is a bit of a shock. The lashes can last up to 6 weeks but in reality, they do need a little maintenance. After a couple of weeks, a few of the lashes were slightly askew so needed moving back into place. Usually at this stage though you would return to Daxita for maintenance, which costs £45 for 30 minutes, making them as good as new again. This, along with removal costs of £15 for 15 minutes, should really be factored in when you decide to go for extensions. As I don't live in London, I fooled myself into believing I could remove the extensions myself. Big mistake, do not try it, whatever the youtube videos say! You are much better off paying £15 than have puffy, weeping eyes for over a week. 

Wedding makeup including eyelashes
I think I have been very spoilt by having only experienced Daxita doing my lashes as I have heard many not so great stories from cheaper places. A full set costs £150 which is definitely a lot, but I would prefer to spend that and have it done well, than a little less and be very unhappy. One woman even did lash extensions herself and admitted she couldn't have done them as well as mine, let alone in such a short time, a testament to Daxita's expertise.

A few weeks after the wedding, my cousin got some lash extensions done locally and in my uncle's words, 'she had spiders attached to her eyes'. Not a look many people would intentionally want, so if you are considering eyelash extensions, don't go for the cheapest price, do your research first would be my advice.

As I was rather preoccupied with my brother's upcoming nuptials, I wasn't very experimental with eye makeup when I had the extensions as I wanted to keep them in pristine condition. You must avoid using oil based makeup and eye makeup removers as this can affect the glue, and obviously try not to rub your eyes, but other than that they are hassle free and lasted beautifully the two weeks between application and the wedding. I really regret not taking more photos immediately after I had my lashes done, but Modesty Brown has a great post on her experiences of the same lash extesnions, complete with comprehensive before and after photos, which you can see here.
Eyelash extensions 2 weeks after initial application in the context of my whole face

My eyelash extensions just before I attempted DIY removal. You can see that a few gaps are appearing and this is normally when you would go for maintenance, but the photo does demonstrate how dark the lashes are that I chose.
Even though lash extensions are a very expensive beauty treatment, I do think they are worth the price. For weddings and especially this time of year when there are plenty of parties and functions, I think they can give that extra bit of confidence and save a lot of time in terms of getting ready. To be frank, if I was dating, I would definitely try and budget (live on baked beans) so I could afford extensions all year round, that is how much I love them. Luckily for my costly Tom Ford habit, I'm not in that situation at the moment but when the time does come, I will be making another appointment with Daxita as I don't think I would trust anyone else.

Daxita Vaghela Eyelash Extensions are available at Atherton Cox, which is just off Marylebone High Street in London. For more information see here.

Full set of eyelash extensions costs £150

Maintenance costs £45

Eyelash removal cost £15

Disclosure: I was invited to try out these lash extensions free of charge for review purposes

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Favourite Nail Polish of the Year - Butter London The Black Knight

Title of the post says it all really. I tend to shy away from glitter polishes because some can seem very tacky and they can be awful to remove and often require 4+ coats to get an opaque finish. I have none of these problems with The Black Night from Butter London.

Butter London The Black Knight - £12

Released as part of the Butter London Christmas collection, it is a charcoal/black base with very fine red, fuchsia and blue glitter. It sounds like it probably shouldn't work, but it does. It is a sophisticated take on glitter, an alternative to red and metallics for Christmas and just two coats gave me a perfect finish.

I picked up Estee Lauder Metallic Sage (finally) this week as well and thought that could be a favourite, but when The Dark Night arrived through the post Metallic Sage was removed straight away to make room for this stunning colour. If you have been looking at the latest OPI Collection, which is very glitter heavy, but not necessarily the best quality glitter, I would highly recommend this. I doubt it will be coming off my nails until 2012!

2 coats of The Black Knight + top coat

I bought The Black Knight for £12 from

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Brand Favourites

Even though we are coming to the end of another month, I thought I would do a different type of favourites post this time. There are certain beauty brands that I have been using since I was about 14 so I thought it would be fun to take a look at the first product I bought from some of these brands and now which one product I would really recommend from them. I'd love it if others got involved as well, mainly because I'm curious by nature and find it interesting to see which other products people tried first and are now staples. Here goes.

Chanel - As far as I can remember, this was my first proper luxury beauty purchase. Before then I used to mainly use Boots 17, I think I owned every eyeshadow trio they did! My first piece of Chanel was a limited edition set called Les Gouaches de Chanel (I think). It looked just like an artist's palette and paints and to be honest, I barely used it but it was so beautiful! I actually still have it and will probably keep it forever, for sentimental value, and because it is such a unique kit.

Now, I buy a lot from Chanel but if I had to recommend just one item it would be either a blusher or a foundation. I used to love Teint Innocence which has been replaced I think, but all their foundations are great quality. What would be even better was if we got the wider shade selection that is available in the US. Then I would be very happy indeed!

Laura Mercier - Another vivid memory. I had read so much about this range in magazines and desperately wanted to try it but this was the time before Bluewater was built and there were far fewer Space NKs around. I first went to a counter in Boston, when I was away with my Dad and they used the Tinted Moisturiser, Secret Camouflage and a cream shadow in a silver colour on me. Courtesy of my father, these all came home with me and even though I still can't use the concealer properly, I always have a tube of tinted moisturiser on the go (and I have the eye shadow somewhere still, I am very sentimental!).

As for what I would recommend, it would have to be either the oil free primer or the tinted moisturiser, both staples.

Nars - I got my first Saturday job the day after my 16th birthday, at Body Shop, and despite being slightly terrified of the store, went into Space NK Bluewater and used my first wages to buy Lip Lacquer in Baby Doll. We weren't really allowed to wear any makeup to school back in the day but I could just about get away with this.

Although their eyeshadow duos can be a little hit and miss in terms of quality, they are still the product I would recommend, along with the Velvet Matte Lip Pencils. Favourites include Dogon, Misfit, Cleo and Rajasthan.

Some of my first Stila purchases
Stila - First product was their Lip Glaze in Strawberry and lipstick in Natalie. I haven't tried any of the newer (and cheaper) Stila range, but my favourites used to be their palettes and convertible colours.

MAC - I was a very late starter to MAC, only having access to the brand when I moved away to university in Scotland. I think my first buy was a Viva Glam lipstick in a light brown colour (very unflattering and yet I wore it to death) and Minted eyeliner.

Now I would recommend their eyeshadows and lipsticks, they aren't the very best quality but they have a fantastic shade range that can't be beaten. Shale and Patina are favourite eyeshadows and Impassioned a favourite lipstick.

Dior - First product was the eyeshadow quint in Beige Masai and despite having tried a small number of other products, this is the one I'd recommend.

Lancome - I think the only Lancome product I've ever tried is their mascara. Am I missing out?

Chantecaille- Grace London is guilty of getting me started on a number of expensive brands, this being one of them. It is impossible to read her blog and not tempted by beautiful things! The first item I bought was Lip Chic in Bourbon Rose and it is a beautiful everyday shade. I've tried quite a lot of Chantecaille products in the last 18 months but still the Lip Chics are my favourite, particularly the latest shade Violetta.

By Terry - First product was the famous Baume de Rose and I hate it. It does nothing for my lips and was a huge waste of money. It nearly put me off the brand completely but I tried the By Terrybly lipsticks and was a convert. I would definitely recommend Cherry Cherry if you like bright colours.

Le Metier de Beaute - I wish I had discovered this brand earlier so I could have stocked up before it left Europe, but my first purchase was an eye kaleidoscope in Chinoiserie Azure. The quality of it is amazing but now I have expanded my collection, this is my least favourite kit. I adore every product I have from this brand so picking a favourite is so hard, but I guess it would have to be a kaleidoscope and at a push, Le Cirque. I don't think you can go wrong with anything from Le Metier and it is one brand I am happy ordering sight unseen (thanks to lovely US friends).

YSL - First product was, obviously, Touche Eclat. Other than that I haven't tried much but my favourite is the Faux Cils Mascara, even though it smudges like crazy on me.

BECCA - First product was Eye Tint in Baroque but the one I reach for the most is Shimmering Skin Perfecter in Pearl, which I now use instead of MAC's Strobe Cream.

Bobbi Brown - Mainly because of its presence on QVC I have bought far too much of this brand in the last few years! I think the first product was a neutral eyeshadow palette or a shimmerbrick.

Benefit Face Powders
Benefit - Probably my favourite brand as a teenager, my first purchase was High Beam. I managed to smash my bottle on a flight (back when you could take glass on board) but then I became obsessed with their face powders. I own them all and would recommend any of them especially Dallas, Georgia and Dandelion, but their cream shadows are also excellent quality.

Rouge Bunny Rouge - Wen I first read about this brand on blogs I dismissed it, thinking it had something to do with the Playboy bunny! Luckily, after more and more reviews appeared I gave in and ordered the eyeshadow in Solstice Halcyon. I reach for this almost everyday and although their new cream shadows are also excellent, if you are new to the brand this is the shade and product I would recommend. Their blushers are also fabulous.

Urban Decay - Another favourite of mine as a teenager, my first buy was one of their palettes which I still have, containing 4 eyeshadows, 4 lip products and one cheek colour. What would I recommend? Probably no surprises here but it would have to be the Naked palette.

My very grotty first ever Urban Decay purchase
Tom Ford - I made my first purchase with apprehension, buying without even seeing the products in person let alone trying them, but I went for the lipstick in Pure Pink and haven't regretted it. It is one of the only products I have a back up of as it has been sadly discontinued. I haven't tried any non lip products (although their are some on my Christmas list) so my recommendation has to be lipsticks. I am not keen on the nudes or mid tone shades though so if you are going to spend a crazy amount of money on one shade, I'd go for one of the brights like True Coral, Cherry Lush or Violet Fatale. Lisa Eldridge has done a great You Tube tutorial on Black Orchid and how to get maximum use out of it, which helps go someway to justifying the astronomic cost.

I've probably left out a load of brands that later will become glaringly obvious, but these are what immediately come to mind. Which products were your first purchases and would you buy them again or has another item stolen your affections? Whatever they are I'd love to hear about them.

Finally, check out my blog sale for reductions, still Chanel, Armani, Bobbi Brown left!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Blog Sale - Tom Ford, Armani, Le Metier, Rouge Bunny Rouge, Edward Bess, Chanel, By Terry

Whilst I've been very bad at posting, I have been very good at reorganising all of my makeup. I've had a ruthless clear out and here are the results. The rules are as usual:
  • If you want an item, please leave a comment stating which item you would like with your paypal email address and then I will send you an invoice (I won't publish your email address in the comments section)
  • It is a case of first come first served.
  • Please pay promptly, if I don't hear from you within 24 hours I will re-list the item.
  • Paypal is the only form of payment accepted
  • I will ship worldwide.
  • Postage will be £2 and then 50p extra for each additional item. If you would like your items sent recorded delivery, please say so in the comments but it will be £3 instead of £2 (lots of the items are quite heavy). For overseas buyers, postage will be £4 and then 50p per additional item. I have had to estimate postage costs and I will refund any difference in actual cost if it is £1 or more.
  • Please don't rely solely on my descriptions, I have put them there as a guide, but I would suggest if you are unsure about something, to check out swatches on other beauty blogs first.
  • All sales are final.

Armani Transluminence Eyeshadow Quad - Swatched (for swatches see here) - £15

Bobbi Brown Long Wear Metallic Cream Eyeshadow in Oyster Pink (16) Used Once - £7

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation spf 15 in Porcelain - 70% left - £10

Clinique Redness Solutions Foundation in 01 Calming Alabaster - 85% left - £10

Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer and Sheer Finish Loose Powder Kit in Porcelain/white - used 5 times - £6.50

MAC Studio Finish Concealer in NW25 - Used once  - £5

    Laura Gellar Cosmetics Set - £10 + £3.50 postage as so much product
    Includes the following:
    • Blush N Brighten In Como
    • Marble Shadow Duo in Rome/Milan
    • Eye RImz in Bewitching Bronze
    • Baked Eyeliner in Creme Brûlée/ Dutch Chocolate

    Wednesday, 16 November 2011

    Le Metier de Beaute Modernist Merlot Kaleidoscope - Swatches, review and FOTD

    Finally I managed to get my hands on this limited edition kaleidoscope from Le Metier de Beaute, released just in LA (I think) especially for Vogue's Fashion Night Out. I saw it on a couple of blogs on release and loved it but knew I couldn't get it, so I finally caved and paid a stupid price on eBay to get my own. Now it's here, I think it is money well spent.

    Le Metier de Beaute Eye Kaleidoscope in Modernist Merlot
    For those who aren't already familiar with the genius that is Le Metier kaleidoscopes, here is a brief description. They consist of four carefully selected eye shadow colours that are designed to work together with a simple layering technique. You can apply them top to bottom or bottom to top, depending on how intense you want the finished look to be, the first colour going up to the brow bone, the second up to the crease, the third over the lid and the last near the lash line. I freely admit that my makeup skills are severely lacking but even I can manage a half decent eye using these simple steps as the colour selection (hard work) has already been done. Although sometimes the four colours can look a little scary or an odd combination in the palette, once combined, they create a beautiful shade that focuses attention on your natural eye colour, not the makeup.

    Saturday, 5 November 2011

    Nieman Marcus, Houston - Help needed!

    This is a bit of a strange post that probably only applies to American readers but here goes. My brother is heading off on a business trip to Houston tomorrow so obviously, I don't want to miss the opportunity to guilt trip him into picking up some beauty products for me. I did try this before but with little success, lesson learnt is I have to be very specific on what I want and where to get it from, and then continuously pester him until he relents!

    As we no longer get Le Metier de Beaute in Europe, I think Niemans in Houston stocks it. Can anyone clarify this and has anyone been to the store in Houston, i.e. is it easy to find for a 31 year old male? The address says it is in the Galleria, is that the main mall in the area? Try as I might I can't get a list of what beauty brands an individual Niemans has, only what is available online so my other question is do most Niemans have a Chantecaille and Edward Bess counter?

    Finally, Tom Ford Beauty seems to work out quite a bit cheaper in the US and it has just appeared online at Nieman Marcus. Does this mean it is unlikely to be in actual stores next week? Anywhere else I should try and convince my brother to visit whilst he's in Houston?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Friday, 4 November 2011

    Tom Ford Lipstick in Flamingo

    It was my Birthday on Sunday and as Tom Ford makeup was on my list, one of the new lip colours, Flamingo, arrived in the post from my brother. This means he actually ventured into Selfridges Beauty Hall so I'm very impressed and obviously very grateful (I thought he might have a fit once he realised the price).

    Tom Ford Lipstick in Flamingo - £36 (photo taken in very poor artificial light)
    Many, including me, are upset that Pure Pink was not part of the new makeup collection and when I visited the Selfridges counter, the sales staff tried to convince me Flamingo was a good alternative. Personally I don't think it is, Violet Fatale is more similar, but I do still like it in its own right and thought a comparison post would be useful. If you want my impressions of the Tom Ford lipsticks, you can see one of my previous posts here, this one will just be focused on the colours.

    Tom Ford Flamingo applied to the lips (photo taken in natural light)

    Left to right: Tom Ford Violet Fatale, Tom Ford Pure Pink, Tom Ford Flamingo, Tom Ford True Coral

    I would describe Flamingo as a mid-warm pink. I originally thought that it would be very similar to By Terry By Terrybly lipstick in Torrid Rose, but when the two are side by side, the By Terry looks almost cool in contrast. I was surprised at how close Tom Ford Pure Pink and Violet Fatale look but the nearest match in the Tom Ford line to Flamingo is actually True Coral. This reflects the warmth in the pink. I dug out MAC's Impassioned so you can see that comparison as well in the swatches.

    Swatches left to right: Tom Ford Pure Pink layered over True Coral, MAC Impassioned, Tom Ford True Coral, By Terry Torrid Rose, Tom Ford Flamingo, Tom Ford Pure Pink, Tom Ford Violet Fatale
    Swatches left to right: Tom Ford Pure Pink layered over True Coral, MAC Impassioned, Tom Ford True Coral, By Terry Torrid Rose, Tom Ford Flamingo, Tom Ford Pure Pink, Tom Ford Violet Fatale

    Finally I tried a little experiment, layering two shades from the original Tom Ford lineup of just 12 lipsticks, to see if it created Flamingo. Pure Pink layered over True Coral is pretty much a perfect match so in short, if you already have those two shades, there is no need to buy Flamingo. I think it also gives the best impression of Flamingo's true colour, a mix of pink and orange. Overall, the quality is same as my other TF lipsticks, very high, and I was pleasantly surprised how much I liked this shade. It doesn't quite have the same impact as Pure Pink, Cherry Lush and Violet Fatale (my favourites), but it is still flattering. I tend to avoid warmer colours, particularly when it comes to pinks, but somehow Flamingo works for me.

    I will try and do a full review and swatch comparison on Tom Ford Violet Fatale, Casablanca, Vanilla Suede, Black Orchid and Smoke Red in the forthcoming weeks. Unfortunately it is proving very good to take a decent picture as natural light seems in short supply at the moment!

    Wednesday, 26 October 2011

    Fall Favourites

    As I've been awol for quite a while I have missed a couple of months worth of must-haves and lust-haves so I thought I would roll them all into one. The must-haves are the items I've been using most recently and the lust-haves are those products that are on my wish list to buy next month (well, maybe in the next year given their high prices!).

    Must Haves

    • Clinique Chubby Sticks - I wasn't particularly impressed with these when I first got them but they have grown into a firm favourite. They add just enough colour and moisture to my very dry lips and the pencil shapes makes it easy to apply.
    • Chanel Eye Shadow Quad in Prelude - I tend to buy Chanel quads and end up very disappointed with them as they are too powdery and lack pigmentation. However, I kept hearing great things about the American formula so my lovely friend Jeanie from Makeup Merriment sent me the latest from the US and it is such an improvement on all my other. The colours are ideal for everyday wear and feel buttery soft. I'll try and do a comparison between the European and American quads when I get time.
    • Chantecaille Classic Palette - I've posted about this already but the eyeshadows are great staples, taupe with a hint of mauve, and the blusher instantly makes me look healthy. It may not have pretty embossed tigers/turtles on it, but it is still my favourite Chantecaille palette yet.
    • Rouge Bunny Rouge Blusher in Delicata and Gracilis - Gracilis is the most perfect mauve with a touch of pink, a lovely cool shade. Delicata works on me as a contour and is ideal if I am wearing a bold lip colour.
    • Ellis Faas Foundation - Hate the pen format but the foundation gives a natural finish, shade is ideal for me, so when I repurchase I will buy the pump version.
    • Chantecaille Lip Chic in Violetta - The formula of the Lip Chics is perfect for dry lips and this colour is a beautiful cool raspberry. My favourite lip colour for autumn/winter. Possibly my favourite product from the last few months.
    • Chanel Illusions D'ombre in Illusoire - Didn't get on as well with the khaki shade but this mauve is lovely and the texture is very interesting and possibly impossible to describe!
    • Suqqu Noble Nuance Powder - I think this was limited edition the year before last but it is a divine powder. You can't really see what it does but when it is on, you just notice that you look better. The brush it comes with is the best I've ever had in a compact, so soft!
    • Clinique Airbrush Concealer - the only concealer I now use around my eyes. It doesn't provide heavy coverage, but enough to make me look human whilst still looking natural.
    • Tom Ford Black Orchid Solid Perfume Compact - This came as part of a set last Christmas and although at first I thought Black Orchid may be a little too sweet for my tastes (when I sprayed it in store), it is now my signature fragrance. When I'm feeling run down I apply a touch of this and instantly feel more glamourous.

    Lust Haves
    • Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate - A high price but done correctly contouring can do amazing things to your face shape so I am prepared to pay the £55. Lisa Eldridge used this in a recent video and if she thinks it is great, I'm sold.
    • Le Metier de Beaute Silk Road Kaleidoscope - The kaleidoscope for Fall, looks beautiful as always. makes me mad Le Metier aren't in Europe anymore, as always!
    • Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille Fragrance - Tried this in Selfridges and now can't stop thinking about it. A shame it is so expensive.
    • Jo Malone Lime & Cedar Fragrance - I used up a sample of this in summer and keep meaning to by the 100ml size. Ideal for everyday use.
    • Tom Ford Eyeshadow Quad in Burnished Amber - Having seen this look so amazing on Klara from Mookie on the Bench, I now desperately need this. I wasn't too taken by the quads in person but felt too intimidated by sales staff to play around with them, but now seeing other bloggers apply them, they look a necessity.
    • Tom Ford lipstick in Wild Ginger - I'm not overly enamoured with Tom Ford's Smoke Red, so I was pleased to see a couple of new reds added to the range. This has gone on my birthday list.
    • Tom Ford Cheek Colour - I like the look of nearly all the shades on offer but to be honest, just want to try one to see how they compare to Chanel/Le metier/RBR/Chantecaille blushers.
    • Tom Ford Contour Brush - Somehow it has wormed its way into my head that to get the best use from the Shade & Illuminate, I need the matching brush. This may be total fiction but the Gossmakeup Artist rated it and now I not only want that brush but a load of others as well!
    • Suqqu Eyeshadow Brush - My aim for the next year is to develop a good collection of brushes and you can't get much better than Suqqu.
    • Burberry Trench Liquid Foundation - I have seen it described as more of a tinted moisturiser which suits me as I don't like too heavy coverage. I am always on the search for the ideal beast and even though I'm happy with Ellis Faas at the moment, I want to try this.
    • The perfect primer - suggestions please! I've recently run out of my Laura Mercier oil free primer and am looking for the best replacement. I had been contemplating the Rouge Bunny Rouge one, but it is so expensive and to me, primer is about the least exciting beauty purchase there is.

    Face of the day featuring my favourite products from the last couple of months (apologies for the poor lighting)

    Products used:

    • Ellis Faas foundation in the palest shade
    • Clinique Airbrush Concealer in Fair (under eyes)
    • No.7 Exceptional Definition Mascara
    • BECCA Skin Perfecter in Pearl
    • Rouge Bunny Rouge Blusher in Gracilis
    • Le Metier de Beaute Eyebrow Pencil in Natural Blonde
    • Rouge Bunny Rouge Cream Shadow in Atlas Swallowtail
    • Chantecaille Lip Chic in Violetta
    • Suqqu Noble Nuance Powder
    All the products featured in this post were bought by me!

    Monday, 24 October 2011

    Monday Manicure - Le Metier de Beaute Rock n Romance

    So exams are finally over (well, at least for a year anyway) and my nails are freshly painted. Everything is right with the world! To celebrate not having any revision to do, I managed to waste all of yesterday watching four Superman films back to back, and the fourth was truly awful (what were they thinking?!), but I broke out some new nail polishes in an attempt at productivity and getting back to blogging.

    I had been lusting after this limited edition set of four nail polishes from Le Metier de Beaute for ages but as it is not available in the UK, couldn't decide if it was worth the crazy international shipping. Obviously I caved (well, I deserve something for completing my exams!) and I'm pleased I did.

    The bottles are tiny, just 3.5ml each, but the polish is excellent quality and I have never used even half a bottle of polish, let alone a full one. All four shades are metallic, 2 with a subtle shimmer and 2 with holographic micro glitter.

    Le Metier de Beaute Rock n Romance Set

    I chose what looked like a graphite micro glitter from the bottle for my hands and am delighted with the result. The finish is very similar to that of Butter London's All Hail McQueen, but a bit darker. Although a dark grey, there is still a warmth to it and it can look like a mid brown in some lights. The holographic micro glitter is similar to that you'd find in the OPI Designer Series. The colour I'm wearing is called Chrome Passion. The other shade with the same finish is a mid-blue called Midnight Rendezvous, but that will have to wait until next week.

    2 coats of Chrome Passion applied + top coat

    The two shades with a metallic shimmer (but no micro glitter) are a ruby red, Heat of the Night, and a light champagne, True Romance. I think that the set is exclusive to Nordstrom in the US but it should still be available.

    My one major criticism is the brushes. As these are very small bottles, the brushes are equally small and made application very difficult. I was just about able to do my finger nails but on my toes it was far more difficult. It took about 6 vertical stripes to cover my big toe nail and made it much harder to get a uniform finish. The colours are so beautiful and the polish such good quality though that I can forgive this fault. It is worth the extra time in application for the compliments I have received on this colour.

    This just gives me another reason to mourn the loss of what quickly became my favourite cosmetics brand in the UK. I know there were rumours that Le Metier were hoping for an online presence here back in June but nothing has happened so far. Does anyone know anything more about this? I would be so happy if they returned to Europe!

    Saturday, 1 October 2011

    Leighton Denny on QVC today

    Very quick post just to let you know that if, like me, you are a bit of a nail polish addict, there is a great TSV on QVC today from Leighton Denny. I tend to skip a lot of these sets because they repeat the same items again and again but this one really appeals, especially as it contains a full size crystal nail file. Here are the details:

    It is called the 7 piece Out of this World Collection and contains the following:
    • One for all base & top coat
    • Large Crystal Nail File
    • Miracle Mist quick drying spray (new)
    • 4 new colours that I think are all exclusive to QVC. There is a shimmery mauve, a bit like Chanel Paradoxal, an oil on water dark green, a deep, dark red (like a Rouge Noir) and a light grey.
    Individual bottles of Leighton Denny polishes cost £11 and this set is £29.96 + £4.45 postage. It is also on 4 easy payments, as is everything on air this weekend. For more information and pictures of the kit, see here.

    The last few Leighton Denny TSVs have been French manicure ones or contain mini bottles of colour, neither of which I like, so I am pleased to see something different and full sizes. It is apparently his last TSV before Christmas so it could easily be split up into a gift.

    I think I'll stop now before I sound like one of the presenters! I will try and post swatches once I get my set.

    Finally, you may have noticed it has been quite quiet on the blog front in the last few weeks. I haven't been reading or writing posts because I have my law finals mid October and am madly panicking about it. At least after 4 exams my degree will be all finished with but I hate equity and trusts with a passion so not looking forward to it at all. Hopefully by the end of October I will be able to blog properly again and I have a giveaway planned for 30th October (my birthday), possibly Tom Ford shaped as am more than a little obsessed with the man!

    I can't wait for exams to be over so I can spend hours catching up on all the blog posts and you tube videos I've missed!

    Saturday, 17 September 2011

    Makeup Mavens

    This week we've got a fabulous selection of posts on skincare, makeup and nails so all bases covered. Add to that brands like Ellis Faas, Chanel, Chantecaille and Le Metier de Beaute along with a special giveaway, there is sure to be something you'll enjoy. Have a great weekend!

    The Black Panties has a new favourite in her life, in the form of Ellis Faas Skin Veil Foundation. Read her excellent review to see if it could be your own 'photoshop in a bottle'!

    Lovesong For My Lipgloss shares with us her skincare version of a cashmere sweater, Chantecaille Vital Essence. Her comprehensive review explains why it works so well.
    Lipstick Luvvies tried out the latest limited edition nail shades, Les Jeans de Chanel, and searched her collection for similar colours. See how she got on and swatches of the trio here.

    If you've always wanted to try Liz Earle's famous Cleanse and Polish, check out Raspberry Rouge's Liz Earle Giveaway and you could be a winner!

    Mookie on the Bench tempts us with more Chanel, this time sharing her favourite shade of Chanel Le Crayon Yeux, the beautiful Berry.

    Product Doctor's post on her bespoke Le Metier EOTD by Dustin featuring the latest Kaleidoscope, Silk Road, once again makes me green with envy (no Le Metier in Europe) and consider moving to New York!

    Les Jeans de Chanel Nail Colours - swatches and potential dupes

    Released for Vogue's recent Fashion Night Out, Chanel came out with three new and very limited edition nail colours called Les Jeans de Chanel. As the name suggests, they are based on denim so there is a light blue with the merest hint of subtle shimmer, a mid blue and a darker blue. In a similar way to last years Les Khakis de Chanel, the colours are designed to be worn on different fingers so you get all three shades on the one hand.

    As you can see from the pictures (along with my denim collection!), Blue Rebel is the darkest. Blue Boy is a mid blue and Coco Blue is the lightest. Blue Rebel and Blue Boy are both cremes but Coco Blue has a minuscule amount of shimmer giving it a slightly different finish. It is actually my least favourite as the other two blues seem to have a grey base to them, so the white in Coco Blue makes it quite stark in comparison. Having said that though, when worn all together on one hand, as I have done for the past week, they work well.

    Index finger: Blue Boy, Middle finger: Coco Blue, Ring finger: Blue Rebel, Little finger: Blue Boy

    For all three colours I applied two coats and one top coat of Seche Vite. The photos were taken a couple of days after application so the wear has been good. All the polishes were easy to apply.

    I have quite a few blue nail polishes in my collection so thought I would try a compare and contrast to see if I had anything similar. Out of approximately 30 bottles I felt sure I would but the only shade I would consider calling a dupe was for Coco Blue. I couldn't find anything in the same colour family as the darker blues because of the grey undertones, although the navy blues in OPI's latest Touring America collection look similar. When I get mine I will have a closer look and let you know if I'm right.

    To give you a better idea of the exact colours of the Chanel, I've photographed each polish with the nearest shades I could find plus swatches. At £17.50 a bottle hopefully it will help you make a more informed decision on whether to buy.

    Tuesday, 13 September 2011

    Makeup Mavens

    Searching for a tinted moisturizer? Check out Lipstick Luvvies review on Liz Earle Sheer Skin tint and see how it comapres to Laura Merciers. Liz Earle's might be an even better option for you.
    Now that the summer is coming to a close, Lovesong for My Lipgloss has been inspired to create the perfect eye for fall and it's something definitely helpful for autumn makeup looks.

    Mookie On The Bench's highlight of the week is Elie Saab's "Le Parfum". The orange blossom and jasmine are the primary notes and even though you may not like florals, don't totally dislike it, because it's soft and seamless effect on the skin.

    Check out Product Doctor's blog on meeting Oscar de la Renta for Fashion and her overall thoughts on the Face of Fashion Kaleidoscope. You get to see her lovely face with Oscar de la Renta in an epic photo :) 

    Raspberry Rouge discusses Cliniques Black Honey Lipgloss/Lipstick Duo. 10 years ago she thought it was a bit too dark for her liking, go check to see how she feels about it now.

    Always hunting for an awesome blush brush? Stop on over to The Black Panties blog to see the differences are between Shu Uemura's #17 and #14 blush brushes, so you can see which one would be a perfect fit for you :)

    Wednesday, 7 September 2011

    Liz Earle Sheer Skin Tint vs Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser

    I know there have been a lot of posts recently on the first makeup product from Liz Earle and having used the Sheer Skin Tint for a month, I can honestly say it deserves all the attention it gets. However, to give it a real test, I thought I would pit it up against one of my all time favourite base products, Laura Mericer's award winning Tinted Moisturiser.

    Excuse the poor blurry photo! Liz Earle Sheer Skin Tint in Bare, Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser in Porcelain
    I've been using Laura Mercier's iconic Tinted Moisturiser (I use the palest shade Porcelain) since I was about 14 and although I have about 10 base products on the go at any one time, it is what I usually return to, especially in summer when I favour lighter coverage. However, since trying out Liz Earle's Sheer Skin Tint I might have a new favourite.

    The Sheer Skin Tint is the first colour product that Liz Earle has ever produced and it is released on 15th September. It comes in just 3 shades, Bare, Beige and Beach and originally I thought this wouldn't cover my very pale, cool skin. I was wrong. I use the fairest shade and although it looks a little yellow when dispensed, it blends well and is a great match. I have pictured it side by side with the Laura Mercier so you can see that there is only a slight difference in shade, and the difference in texture and finish.

    Left to right: Liz Earle Sheer Skin Tint in Bare, Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser in Porcelain
    For me, both products offer the same level of coverage. Enough to make me look healthy but not enough to obviously look like you are wearing makeup. This is perfect when I'm in a hurry as I hate using a great foundation that once I put it on, makes my skin look so flawless I have to add a lot more makeup to look normal, if that makes sense.

    I've started swimming recently and look like a drowned rat by the end but the combination of Liz Earle Skin Tint, Chanel Bronzer, Clinique Chubby Stick Lip Balm and No 7 mascara and I am the picture of perfect health. It is quite a miraculous transformation. Even in the glaring light of an H&M changing room today I noticed how good my skin looked, and that is thanks to the Liz Earle.

    Left to right: Large swatches of Liz Earle Sheer Skin Tint, Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser (these are not properly blended, it is just to show the difference in finish)
    The main difference between the two products has to be the finish. Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser comes in 3 types, normal, oil free and illuminating. I only use the normal and that gives a relatively matte finish. In contrast, the Liz Earle Skin Tint is very dewy. At first I found this off putting as I have quite oily skin, but now I am more used to it I like it. It doesn't make my skin look so flat and it lasts incredibly well. However, if dewy doesn't do it for you, I would possibly try a different product. The Laura Mercier feels more runny and I find I need more of it to cover my face. The Liz Earle is a little bit thicker in texture and takes a bit more effort to blend, but you need less. I think the 40m tube will last me a long time. Both also contain an SPF, Laura Mercier SPF 20, Liz Earle SPF 15.

    The Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser costs £33 for 40ml compared to just £21 for Liz Earle's Sheer Skin Tint, the same 40ml size. The Laura Mercier shade range is far more comprehensive but Liz Earle is suitable for the paler end of the spectrum and at 1/3 cheaper, I know which one I will now be repurchasing. Liz Earle Skin Tint is a staple in my gym bag and now even my mum wants to try it and she can't stand anything beauty related.

    If you order the Liz Earle Sheer Skin Tint by mail direct from Liz Earle then you will get sent samples to try of all three shades so that you can double check which is right for you before you open the main product, allowing you to exchange it if you have chosen wrong initially. This saves a lot of wasted money so seems a great idea. I would love it if more brands did this.

    Ingredients List of Liz Earle Sheer Skin Tint
    I am so impressed that Liz Earle haven't rushed into makeup. By taking their time they have released an outstanding product that is in keeping with their ethos and is sure to be an award winner in the future. If you don't like feeling caked in makeup and like a dewy finish then definitely give it a try.
     The fact that it can already compete with one of the most renowned tinted moisturisers out there speaks volumes.

    Disclosure: Liz Earle Sheer Skin Tint was a PR sample sent for consideration for review.

    Monday, 5 September 2011

    Makeup Mavens

    The Makeup Mavens present makeup you may have missed. This week there's an array of products from Chantecaille, LMDB, La Roche Posay, Armani and Chanel. We've got posts on pretty palettes and blush, and one Maven shares a review on the brush that can do it all.

    Chantecaille Classic Palette

    This week Lipstick Luvvies introduced us to the new palette from luxury brand, Chantecaille. Head on over to read her brilliant review and take a peek at swatches of the gorgeous blush and shadow shades.
    Finding suitable products for sensitive skins can be a tricky task, but Klara of Mookie on the Bench has discovered an excellent moisturiser from La Roche Posay. If you're looking for a soothing product to calm irritation and redness, check out her review of Toleriane Ultra.

    In an effort to simplify her make up routine, Product Doctor went on a search for a multi purpose brush, and found Le Metier de Beaute's kabuki. Check out her great review and comparison to MAC's 182.

    Raspberry Rouge finally gave in to Chanel's Fall nail colors and shared swatches of Graphite. Hop on over and take a look at the beautiful, shimmery shade.

    After searching high and low for the perfect nude blush, The Black Panties stumbled upon Armani's Beige Violet. Check out her review and swatches of the pretty, natural shade.

    Saturday, 3 September 2011

    Chantecaille Classic Palette compared to Tiger in the Wild Palette

    Left to right: Chantecaille Classic Palette, Chantecaille Tiger in the Wild Palette
    Having already posted quite comprehensively about Chantecaille's new Classic Palette for Fall, I realised I hadn't mentioned how it compared to the previous limited edition Tiger in the Wild palette. So this evening I dug it out and did a bit of swatching.

    Left to right: lightest shade from Classic palette, lightest shade from Tiger palette, taupe from Classic palette, grey brown from Tiger palette
    Although at first glance the top two eyeshadows in both look the same, they really aren't. The lightest colour in the Classic palette is a soft pink champagne compared to a far more beige/wheat colour in the Tiger quad. Again the minky colour in the Classic palette has a subtle pink undertone to it making it a warm mauve in comparison to the cooler greyish undertoned brown in the Tiger palette. Looking at all four colours swatched on my arm, they would make a really beautiful quad together, especially if you love taupe and neutrals.

    Tom Ford Beauty now available online

    Just a very quick post to let you know that the new Tom Ford Beauty range of products is now available to buy online from Selfridges. It is also stocked at Harrods and Harvey Nichols so should be appearing on both of their websites soon.

    Loving that lip colour!

    Although devastated that Pure Pink lipstick didn't make it into the permanent range (I am buying a back up), I love the look of some of the new shades, Casablanca and Flamingo are calling my name. The eyeshadow quads look very tempting as well. When my credit card comes back to life later this month I will probably try out a few bits but until then, British Beauty Blogger and London Makeup Girl have some great posts and swatches if you are buying over the internet and don't have the luxury of having easy access to Tom Ford counters.

    Wednesday, 31 August 2011

    Chantecaille The New Classic Palette - Swatches and review

    Finally a palette from Chantecaille that I really think is worth the price. This is new for autumn and as the name says, is the New Classic Palette. It isn't one of the special limited edition ones where a percentage of the price goes to a specific charity, so you don't get any two toned effect turtles etc. What you do get is 3 wearable everyday eyeshadows and a good blusher. There are some embossed Cs on each pan and a slight shimmer overspray, but once that wears off, you are left with a more subtle shimmer.

    Chantecaille New Classic Palette
    As I have green eyes, I love anything with a hint of purple/mauve about it, so this palette is perfect for me. You get a nice beige shimmer, a beautiful cool taupe and my favourite, an eggplant shimmer which can be used as shadow or liner.

    Clockwise from top left: Beige, cool taupe, pinky peach blush, eggplant (looks more obviously aubergine in real life)

    My only disappointment is the blusher. Don't get me wrong, it is great quality and a nice shade, but a little warm for my liking and it looks almost identical to the blusher included in the Turtles palette. It is similar to Nars Orgasm but with less obvious shimmer. Compared side by side, the turtles' blush is a touch more coral, and the one included in the Classic Palette a bit more pink, but there is not much in it at all. I would have preferred a soft mauve pink shade like Rouge Bunny Rouge Gracilis, or even something like Delicata (more neutral). That is what I would pair the eyeshadows with.

    Left to right: Chantecaille New Classic Palette, Chantecaille Sea Turtle Palette
    I have complained in the past about the price of Chantecaille palettes as in the US they are about 1/3 cheaper and although I do still think they are overpriced, this is by far my favourite out of the 5 I own. I know I will get the wear from it so the price is easier to justify.

    Glancing down at the Classic Palette and the Turtles' Palette side by side, it occurs to me that you may think a few of the eye shadows are the same as well as the blush. In reality this is not the case. The Turtles' Palette is very warm and the Classic palette is definitely cool and taupe based, rather than brown based.

    Swatches left to right: Blush from Sea Turtle Palette, eggplant liner shadow from Classic Palette, Beige, Cool Taupe, Blush from the New Classic Palette (the shades look less shimmery in real life, the swatches picked up a lot of the ultra shimmery overspray)
    Two new Lip Chics have also been released for Autumn, one of which looks like a gorgeous cherry, and I can't wait to place an order the moment Space NK gets them in stock. Chantecaille Lip Chics are one of my favourite lip formulas, great for dry lips like mine and not as high maintenance as lipstick. They also smell divine! Definitely worth a look if you are in Space NK.

    Sunday, 28 August 2011

    The Makeup Mavens Weekly Round Up!

    The Makeup Mavens present makeup you may have missed.  This week we got a closer look at some of the fall collections by Chanel, Armani, and Le Metier de Beaute!  Other Maven's continue to show their love for designer cosmetics with Rouge Bunny Rouge, Chanel and By Terry!  
    The Tom Ford Cosmetics collection which is released in the UK on 5th September! (Photo from Product Doctor)

    Lipstick Luvvies shows us the Chanel Fall Nail Colors along with some great dupes.

    Interested in Armani's new Fall CollectionLovesong for my Lipgloss has swatches of the entire lineup! 

    Mookie on the Bench has expanded her brush collection with some new eyeliner brushes from Rouge Bunny Rouge

    Product Doctor is loving her lips dressed in Le Metier de Beaute's Lip Kaleidoscope in Empress.

    Raseberry Rouge looks gorgeous in the strawberry red that is Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Monte Carlo. 

    The Black Panties' review of the By Terry Seve de Rose Ultra Glow Double Serumwas so tempting you'll be running out for your own liquid crack with gelato on top!  

    Sunday, 21 August 2011

    Chanel Nail Polishes in Quartz, Peridot and Graphite - Swatches and potential dupes

    Chanel Fall 2001 has produced three new shades of nail polish and having worn them all, I can say I love one, like one and dislike one. My feelings are entirely based on the colours and personal preference, as the quality of all three polishes was excellent.

    Chanel Nail Colour in Peridot
    I'll start with the I really dislike, Peridot. This is limited edition and I can't find anything in my collection that is similar. It reminds me a bit of the kind of shades released with the MAC Venomous ViIllains Collection last Autumn, but the effect is smoother, less foiled. It has been getting the most attention and seems to be a favourite, being the first to sell out at counters, but I don't like colours which fight my skin tone.

    2 coats of Peridot applied + top coat
    It is best described as an antique gold with olive green, that varies depending on the light. It is a lovely colour in itself (reminds me a lot of RBR eyeshadow Abyssinian Catbird), but doesn't suit me. On dark skins I think it would look amazing, but it clashes badly with the pink in my skin. The good news is that you could easily get away with just one coat.

    Left to right: Illamasqua Bacterium, Chanel Quartz

    Left to right: Illamasqua Bacterium, Chanel Quartz - taken in direct sunlight

    Second up is Quartz, and this is most similar to blogger favourite Bacterium by Illamasqua. They look very similar in pictures but the Chanel is probably a bit more subtle and a fraction less opalescent. Although not identical, there is really no reason to own both. I didn't like Bacterium but strangely I can get away with Quartz, making it a winner for me. I used two coats but would probably add a third as the nail line was still visible. Quality wise, I think Chanel and Illamasqua are pretty even.

    2 coats of Quart applied + top coat

    Finally, my favourite, Graphite. This shade gives a foiled effect to the nail, a gun metal colour with a hint of gold and subtle sparkle, but with none of the grittiness that you can get in similar, cheaper brands. It was also able to be removed quite easily.

    Left to right: OPI Lucerne-tainly Look Marvelous, Chanel Graphite

    Left to right: OPI Lucerne-tainly Look Marvelous, Chanel  Graphite - taken in direct sunlight

    2 coats of Graphite + top coat

    The nearest dupe I could find was from the OPI Swiss collection and it is Lucerne-tainly Look Marvelous. The OPI is a touch darker but other than that they are incredibly similar and the effect on the nail is the same. If you really wanted to get the identical look of Graphite, you could add a minute bit of OPI's Glitterland to Lucerne-tainly Look Marvelous to get that touch of gold. Here you can see previous NOTDs of both colours.

    Left to right: OPI Lucerne-tainly Look Marvelous, Chanel Graphite, OPI Glittzerland
    All three nail colours are available now from counters nationwide in the UK and cost £17 each. They are also available online at, and www.debenhams .com.

    Finally, this is the last plug for my blog sale reductions. If you are a nail junkie like me, then there is plenty of OPI, Leighton Denny and Chanel for you to choose from, as well as some skincare, YSL and Chanel lipsticks.