Sunday, 31 October 2010

Orly Out of This World

I took part in a little USA/UK cosmetic swap with Katie from My Lips But Better. Having seen a lot of beautiful swatches of the Orly Cosmic FX nail polishes, including Katie's, I thought I would ask for a couple these as part of our swap.

I received Out of This World, Galaxy Girl and Space Cadet. All of them are as beautiful in the flesh as I'd hoped.

I hope you will forgive my nail swatches. This was the second day of wear and there is already a bit of tip wear as you will see. This always happens to me, looking after children doesn't seem to be very nail polish friendly! The polish is a purple base with lots of pink and purple sparkles. The duochrome is only really visible in the bottle but I think this polish is gorgeous all the same. In these pictures I'm wearing two coats with Seche Vite top coat. As usual you can click the image to enlarge.

I'm really looking forward to trying the other colours. I will share swatches as I wear them. I made a YouTube video when I opened my parcel which if you have a spare moment you can see here. I was rather excited as you will probably gather! I shall leave you with a photo of the goodies, I'm really looking forward to trying the Wet n' Wild palettes. Thank you again to Katie for the lovely parcel, hopefully it won't be long before your package arrives.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

L'Wren Scott Collection for Lancôme

I had the great pleasure to meet Aaron de Mey yesterday, Global Make up Director for Lancôme. He was in town to promote the current collection, a collaboration with L'Wren Scott which I believe is already on counter.

There were only six of us there so it was a tremendous privilege and we had the opportunity to probe Aaron for make up tips and tricks. I love Aaron's approach to make up, he's not a fan of foundation and prefers to use concealer to maintain the natural contours and highlights of the face. I love make up which enhances natural features rather than creating a mask, so I really appreciate this ethos. I sense that Aaron likes to play with make up; using a lip balm to create an eye gloss or highlight the face, a clear mascara to tame the brows or using a lipstick as a blusher. He also introduced me to a few  products from Lancôme's range that I hadn't come across: Teint Miracle concealer, La Touche Pro concealer and Eclat Miracle. The Eclat Miracle (or Liquid Mirror) uses the same light reflecting particles that are in the Teint Miracle foundation and it is the most beautiful highlighter, it's such a refined pearl glow. Being a concealer obsessive, I'm really keen to give La Touche Pro a test drive, it has a lovely texture and coverage. I'd love to see if these products could take me back to my no foundation days of the summer. Anyway, I digress..

I was really interested to hear how Aaron enjoys working with L'Wren on make up looks for her shows. He describes her as one of very few of friends that actually wears make up and that she loves to have a new and unique item especially for her collections. One of the gems of this collaboration, the steel grey nail polish (Le Gris), was developed for L'Wren's collection last year. It was a perfect match for a dress that formed part of the collection. It is a stunning colour, I can easily see this being a best seller.

The eyeshadow quad that L'Wren designed for the collection begs a smoky eye. It would have been rude not to ask Aaron's favourite way to achieve it. Aaron described his love for the more edgy looks as well as the more sophisiticated.  His basis for all good smoky looks is to start with a favourite eye pencil and layer. He likes to use a balm to turn the shadow or pencil in to a gloss to create a less structured, more "fashion" look.  He also explained that it pays to do the eye make up first rather than after foundation, to allow for clean up afterwards. He described how to use concealer to blend the edges and to apply as a triangle underneath the eye as this is an area prone to natural darkness.

We all received an eyeshadow quad signed by Aaron and of course being a diligent beauty blogger, today I had a go at putting some of his inspiring tips in to practice. Post to come of course, along with swatches of the palette. For now I shall leave you with a picture of Aaron and myself. Do please excuse the fact that I look like a chipmunk with Dame Edna's glasses on. It's definitely not my finest hour! Even the gorgeous Ruth had a slight wardrobe malfunction during this photo session, so I will console myself with the fact that it happens to even the best of them.

Friday, 29 October 2010

My MAC lipsticks

For one reason or another, I don't seem to buy as many MAC products as I used to. This doesn't mean to say that I don't reach for the items I already have on a daily basis. I have quite a few lipsticks and remembering how much time I spent pouring over lipstick swatches in the past, I thought it might be of interested to share some swatches of my collection. All of the pictures in this post can be clicked to enlarge.

Barely Lit, Hue, Blankety, Hug Me, Patisserie
Syrup, Cosmo, Up The Amp, Plum Dandy
Patisserie, Hug Me, Blankety, Barely Lit, Hue
Plum Dandy, Up The Amp, Cosmo, Syrup

Lip swatches 

I thought it was very interesting when I looked through my collection that almost all of the lipsticks are either Lustres or Amplified Creams. I do like the Lustre formula very much for the moisturising feel of the lipsticks. I like the Amplified Cremes for the pigmentation but these aren't the most moisturising and my lips tend to feel a little dry after a days wear.

I shall start with my bare lips for reference. I was actually a little shocked by the lack of pigment in my lips these days. I still think of them as being quite pigmented but it seems that they are losing some of their natural rosiness with age.

Barely Lit was one of my first MAC lipsticks and it was a limitied edition from the Smoke Signals collection . It's a Lustre finish and the colour is a peachy, bronze nude colour. It's a nude that I can actually get away with as some of my natural colour peaks through.

I have shown you Hue before. I do worry that it is too light for me but it is a pretty pale pink. It's the only Glaze that I own. I do find it hard to cover up my natural colour with the lipstick and I tend to wear this with a lipgloss as I feel better able to carry off the colour that way.

Blankety is a dark nude on me. It's quite brown in tone which I like. It's an Amplified Creme and is richly pigmented. I find it easy to cover my natural lip colour with this except for very centre of my bottom lip. I often wear it with Bare Necessity Dazzleglass for a glossy nude lip.

Patisserie is the latest addition to my lipstick collection. This is another Lustre finish. I find it's quite similar to Hug Me but it has sparkles and is a bit glossier in finish, it's a little darker too. I know I'll get a lot of use from this as it's a lovely everyday shade.

Hug Me is a real favourite of mine. It's a nice, flesh toned pink. The Lustre finish makes it a very comfortable lipstick to wear. I reach for this whenever I want a lipstick that adds colour without making a big statement.

Whenever I have photographed Syrup the colour comes out a bit 'wrong'. To me this is slightly darker and less pink than the photo suggests. It is another Lustre finish. I like the colour but don't reach for it as much as I should.

I am very fond of Cosmo (I also seem to pick a lot of similar colours as I explained in this post). It's an Amplified Creme which MAC describes as Pink Coco. I think of it as being quite a rosy colour. However you would describe it, for me it an easy to wear, my lips but better sort of shade.

Up The Amp is another of my Amplified Cremes. I apologise for the sloppy application, you get a a bit blaze once you've got to the 8th lipstick swatch! I like this colour very much, it's violet purple shade which on paper sounds like it would be difficult to pull off, yet I find it totally wearable. It's not a colour I wear everyday but when I'm in the mood for something different, I'll pull this out.

This lipstick was part of a Christmas set that also included Angel (I gave up trying to make Angel work for me long ago!). It's the only Frost I own. It's quite an unusual shade, it's plum with a bronze frost. It's probably the lipstick equivalent of Trax. I admit the last time I wore this was Halloween last year. It's rather a good witchy colour on me. Make of that what you will!

I have had other MAC lipsticks, both successes and failures. The great successes were Modesty (Cremesheen) and Viva Glam V (Lustre) which are the only lipsticks I have ever used up. The failures were Creme d'nude, Angel and Girl About Town. In fact GAT wasn't really a failure. I like the colour but it's a very bright pink, almost neon and I wore it so rarely it was re-homed.

I hope the swatches are useful. Are you a fan of MAC lipsticks? Am I missing any must haves? Just for future reference you understand. I mustn't forget the spending ban!

Oxford Jasmine in the Friday Confessional

This week Oxford Jasmine is paying a visit to the Friday Confessional. Jasmine is a very lovely lady and I can't possibly imagine she has any beauty sins to share. I suppose I better prepare myself!

Confession is good for the soul, go ahead and unburden yourself! I promise I won’t judge..

•   I like growing my eye brows for as long as I possibly can then marvelling at how neat they are when I thread them!

•   I bought three candles this week from Jonathan Ward Candles fully intending to give them as Christmas presents, now I am not so sure I want to part with them.

•   I haven’t brushed my hair in two days (I wear it back in a plait and work from home, no one needs to see my hair)

•   I have a week off work next week fully intending to blog and video, knowing full well that I will find myself shopping or eating out instead.

•   I have the biggest pile of paper shredding to do and I have done nothing but ignore it or glance at it forlornly all week.

•   My nails are flaking and I need to stop wearing nail varnish but I am practising new techniques on them every day.  Something is going to give soon and I will be saying I told you so to myself!

•   Driven to extremes, I considered buying an at home laser system costing £1500!  Facial threading anywhere other than eye brows and ahem tache causes me to break out in horrible cystic acne! I have come to my senses and am considering going back to a qualified professional!

•   I have not been wearing SPF30 Sunscreen as much as I should.

I hope you feel better now, five *Hail Mary Quants ought to do it. Let's hope you managed to be productive on your week off, though Aunty Brown knows you must have been out shopping at some point this week....


If you would like to take a turn and unburden yourself in the Beauty Confessional you can email me at It's open to everyone: if you have something to confess, I'm happy to hear it!

 *I can't take credit for this gem. Many thanks to WelshBeautyBlog for coining the phrase, Aunty Brown will have to all hailing Mary Quant in no time.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

HD Brows

I was really interested when I received the email about HD Brows. I live with the reality TV police so I'd never come across their 7 steps to a perfect brow. I showed a friend the palette and she started going on about Katie Price. I looked it up and indeed it seems that Ms Price and her make artist have trained in the HD brows technique.

They have recently released a brow palette, the powders can also double as neutral eyeshadows. I think the range of colours chosen for the palette are very good. There's a mix of red and more ashy browns as well as a nude, flesh tone shade. I think you could mix the right brow colour for most people from this palette.

From right to left: Carbon, Cocoa, Latte, Gingerlily, Pebble and Bisque

Gingerlily, Pebble and Bisque

Carbon, Cocoa and Latte

I wanted to demonstrate how a few of these shades look on my brows. The picture below is how they look with nothing on.

Naked brow!
It's not obvious from the photo below but I have different shades on each brow. On the right of the picture, I am wearing Pebble, the lightest brown shade. I find this fills in gaps nicely without really adding lots of definition.

Pebble (right brow)
In the picture below, I've applied Latte, a medium ash brown . This is most similar in colour to the Seal Brown eye pencil I usually wear. In close up it looks a like it could have benefited from brushing through. My apologies, close ups leave no room for maneuver!

Below, to the brow on the right of the picture I added the darkest shade on top of the light brown. I was surprised how much I liked the result. It's certainly darker than I'd normally go but I like the added definition. I'm tempted to try a little darker next time!

A mix of the Pebble and Carbon
I prefer to use ashy, grey browns with my colouring but as you can see from the swatches below, the palette has warmer browns too. Bisque, the lightest flesh colour is difficult to see in the swatch for obvious reasons. It is pinky toned and would be good for highlighting under the brow. I have also used this as a base colour all over the lid. I found this palette good for doing softly defined eyes, the browns all make nice crease shades.

From right to left: Carbon, Cocoa, Latte, Gingerlily, Pebble and (hard to spot) Bisque

The palette costs £24.95 plus postage and can be purchased from I do think this a little on the pricey side. At this price point I would expect the packaging to be a bit better or better quality powders. I think a colourless brow wax would have been a great addition to the palette too. However, it is versatile and the colours well chosen and usable.

I'm still intrigued by the HD brows technique and have already looked up local salons that offer the service. I like the idea of having my brows tinted as well as shaped so they look more defined without any effort. I wonder if I'd miss the different options though when I fill them in myself? What's your brow routine of choice?

This palette was send to me without cost for the purposes of review.

Winter Series: Hand Creams

It's around this time of year that my hands start to take a turn for the worse. I seem to be washing my hands constantly and I'm terrible at remembering to pop gloves on before doing the washing up, that combined with the cold and windy weather is a recipe for drying my hands out. I'm already nursing a patch of very dry skin between my little finger and ring finger on both hands. Over the past few years I've been on the hunt for the best hand cream to keep the chapped hands at bay. This is an overview of some of the ones I have at the moment and what I think of them.

Aveeno Hand Cream
This is my absolute favourite hand cream and I have re-purchased this several times. My current tube is just about finished and I'm not sure whether to buy another or try something different. I particularly like this one as stays on your hands through several washings. The washing is the biggest culprit for drying my hands out so this really stops them getting worse. It's also one of the few hand creams that will tackle the extra dry patches round my knuckles. It's also been a success for my husband who suffers with work related dermatitis on his hands. It's sinks in easily and doesn't leave my hands feeling greasy which is a big thumbs up for me.

Eve Lom Hand Cream
I have a trial size tube of this hand cream. It's useful for popping in my bag but I will that say that I don't love this one. It's ok but I find it doesn't hydrate as much as I'd like. It has a slightly odd smell to it too. At £20 for a full size tube I'm unlikely to re-purchase. It's been useful to have the trial size to try as I'm surprised by the fact that I didn't like it.

L'Occitane Fleur Cherie
I got this as a free gift with In Style Magazine. This is a new scent for L'Occitane and I have to say it is lovely. It is quite a strong scent but I don't find that the effectiveness of the cream has suffered for the scent. This spreads and sinks in nicely and leaves my hands feeling nice and soft. However, it's not rich enough to tackle the really dry patches on my knuckles. This is better for maintenance for my hands. After learning how much I like the scent, I will be investigating the rest of the range which I discovered from A Model Recommends also includes a range of cosmetics. I'm still interested to try the L'Occitane Shea Butter hand cream which receives rave reviews.

Dove Beauty Hand Cream
This is another hand cream that I've had more than once. I find it quite pleasant to use, it has a nice fragrance and it's often on offer. It's another that is good for maintenance but not repair. It can actually go a bit watery as you rub it in which is an odd sensation. It's nice but not my favourite.

Neutrogena Concentrate Norwegian Formula
I cannot get my head around why this is so popular. For me this is a barrier cream with no hydrating properties. I accept that this would protect your hands from getting chapped whilst out in harsh conditions but I need cure rather than protection most of the time. I just find this sits on my hands and never penetrates the skin.

Some of the other hand creams I'm keen to try are: The Body Shop Hemp Hand Protector, Aveda Hand Relief (possibly because the name raises a wry smile!), L'Occitane Shea Butter hand cream and Olivina Hand Cream. The Olivina Cream come recommended by Beauty Mouth and Beauty Maze so I know it must be good! Do you have any recommendations? Which is your favourite hand cream?

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Make Up from the Sheer Cover Review

I was quite pleased with the make up I was wearing in the Sheer Cover video. I decided to repeat it so I could share with you what I was wearing. Below are all of the items I used with the exception of Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation and Rose Lanolips under the lipstick.

Le Métier de Beauté Blonzer, Edward Bess Night Romance lipstick and Compact Rouge in Island Rose

Swatch of Le Métier Blonzer (Maldives Magic)

Bourjois Healthy Mix in Vanille
RMK Super basic liquid concealer
MAC Studio Finish concealer
Le Métier de Beauté Blonzer in Maldives Magic
Edward Bess Compact Rouge in Island Rose

Edward Bess lipstick in Night Romance

(Apologies for my face looking a completely different colour to my neck in these photos. Ooops!)

Shu Uemura brow pencil H9  Seal Brown
Too Faced Shadow Insurance
Eyeshadows all from the Guerlain Rue de Passy palette
Bisque (bottom lift) over the mobile lid
Taupe (bottom right) in the crease

Beige (top left) to blend out above the crease
Rouge Bunny Rouge Raven Glaze lacquer liner
Hourglass Film Noir mascara

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Sheer Cover Make Up

I received some Sheer Cover items to look at a little while ago. I thought for a change I would do a video review, I somehow imagined it might be easier to see all the items that way but I forget the video quality by the time I upload, you probably can't see much in terms of colour. I do apolgise, I have added some pictures below to give you a better idea of the colours.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy. My voice is still a little croaky and another little person occasionally chips in as you will discover!

Sheer Cover Introductory Kit (plus Highlighter and Bronzer)

Sheer Cover Foundations in Bisque and Nude
Duo Concealer from the Introductory Kit
Pink Highlighter
Sheer Colour Palette
Highlighters from the Sheer Colour Palette

Mocha Eyeliner
Sophisticate Palette


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