Monday, 30 April 2012

Facebook (plus a sneaky peek at my new RBR bits)

I'm not sure how many of you follow me on Facebook. I'm not as prolific on there as I am on Twitter but quite often I will post images in advance of a review. At the moment there are pictures of my new Rouge Bunny Rouge items on there as I wait for the opportunity to swatch and play for review. You can click on this link or the image below to see visit the album.


I realise I'm going to have to 'fess up too as there are quite obviously pictures of eyeshadows in that album. I know I said I wasn't going to buy anything because of my no-buy and strictly speaking I haven't broken my ban. Mr MB felt very sorry for me (read I begged him) and this order was a gift from him. I guess I'm going to have to be nice to him for a while...

Did you manage to place a Rouge Bunny Rouge order over the weekend? I spotted two-thirds of the eyeshadow colours had sold out by Saturday morning as well as the trio Eye Shadow Keeper. Fingers crossed they have more stock soon.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Beauty Spotlight Roundup 28/04/12

Nest of Plenty!
Oops, how did this happen?!

15 Minute Beauty Fanatic finally tried out a few Darphin Paris skin care products that she's had her eye on! Check out which ones and enter to win some Darphin of your own!

Is OPI Number One Nemesis really a dupe for Chanel Graphite? Read polish insomniac's post to find out!

Pammy Blogs Beauty embraces the "Color of the Year" with Sephora + Pantone Universe's Blush Duo in Tangerine Tango. Has she found a new favorite blush?

Possibly the most silky matte shadows you will ever try, Visionary Beauty shows us the new matte shadow offerings from Rouge Bunny Rouge

Prime Beauty shows us that the French know their skincare. Not only does she teach you about Darphin Skincare but she has a giveaway for you too and it runs until May 24th.

Modesty Brown compares two neutral Guerlain eyeshadow palettes: Rue de Passy and Les Fumes. Prepare yourself for some palette perving!

London MakeUp Girl finds out if the Topshop Eye Crayon is a good substitute for By Terry Ombre Blackstar. See if the budget buy can stand up to the big name in her post on the Topshop Crayon in Ramble.

Has Shannon at Lipstick Musings finally found a neutral lipstick that doesn't look like mud on her lips? Come learn more about Lancome Color Design Lipstick in Lucky Kiss!

Adrift in a sea of Spring's warm corals, peaches, and bronzes, Zuzu's Petals at Everyday Beauty tries to be pretty in pink. Come read about what she's loving right now.

For the sole reason that Pink Sith hates shatter polishes, Lisamarie from Beauty Crazed spent the week swatching a whole bunch of new ones from Nicole by OPI - come check them out and feel the hate love!

Ready to be blushing and glowing? Tarte Cosmetics has just the right duo to do the job right. Beauty Info Zone even shows you how to get a discount on them.

Another Le Metier de Beaute Eyeshadow single has stolen Perilously Pale's heart. Take a look at her newest love Fig True Color Eyeshadow.

Check out what Paula, from Older Girl Beauty, thinks about this weeks foreign beauty product - Skinfood Lettuce & Cucumber Water Drop Essence.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

New Rouge Bunny Rouge Eyeshadow Keepers

Sometimes my eyeshadow and nail polish purchasing ban seems like a good thing, other times it can feel like a terrible mistake. Sharing this news whilst simultaneously not being able to purchase any of it, is probably one of the lowest points. With that little pity party out of the way, let's enjoy some pictures of the new loveliness from Rouge Bunny Rouge.


Trio Keeper 3

Behold the Eyeshadow Keepers. These customisable palettes will be available in two and three pan versions and there will be a choice of nine eyeshadow refill pans to fit them: six new colours and three current bestsellers. I believe more eyeshadows will be available as refills in the near future.

Although I can't be 100% certain, this looks like it will be a magnetised system so you might be able depot singles you already own and add a magnet to slot them in. That's if you can bear to deface the pretty pots of course, it sounds a lot like cosmetic vandalism to me (gives Everyday Beauty a side long look)! EDIT: The pans for the palette will actually be slightly smaller than the single pots (I knew I should have checked the weights) so you won't be able to depot.

On to the new eyeshadow colours...

Trumpeter Koel

Trumpeter Koel - Dark lead-grey with lilac-blue iridescence

Umber Firefinch
Umber Firefinch - Iridescent dark umber chocolate

Bohemian Waxwing
Bohemian Waxwing - Iridescent bronzed champagne

Golden Rhea
Golden Rhea - Iridescent pale gold

Lilac Reef Curassow
Lilac Reef Curassow - Pale lilac with iridescent effect

Olive Violetear
Olive Violeteare - Smoky olive with satin finish

The new colours that really grab me are Olive Violeteare and Bohemian Waxwing. I'm sure that Trumpeter Koel would look great as a liner too.

The three current eyeshadow that will be available in pan form are: Abyssinian Catbird, Solstice Halcyon and Unforgettable Oriole. I already own Abyssinian Catbird and Solstice Halcyon which allowed me to check the accuracy of the promotional images. They look pretty spot on to me so I feel confident that the new colours will look as shown above.

Abyssinian Catbird+Solstice Halcyon1
L- Abyssinian Catbird R - Solstice Halcyon

Abyssinian Catbird+Solstice Halcyon
L- Abyssinian Catbird R - Solstice Halcyon

Abyssinian Catbird+Solstice Halcyon3
Direct sunlight

Abyssinian Catbird+Solstice Halcyon2

As excited as I am by the new colours, if I was able to make a purchase, Unforgettable Oriole would definitely be on my list. It's rare that I buy light shimmery colours but I like the RBR formula very much and I feel this is something lacking in my collection.

Unforgettable Oriole
Unforgettable Oriole

When they do roll out more of the eyeshadows in pan form, I hope that they include some of the matte eyeshadows. I think that would be perfect for making a really versatile custom palette. Of course, when and if that happens we'll all be demanding bigger Eyeshadow Keepers!

The Eyeshadow Keepers will cost £12 for the duo and £15 for the trio. The eyeshadow pans will cost £16. All of these items will be available from Zuneta from tomorrow. Are you plotting a purchase?

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

NARS Orgasm Blusher

It feels like a very long time since I wrote this post about cult beauty products that I hadn't tried. Among the items on that list was NARS Orgasm blusher. This blusher still makes a very regular appearance in magazine 'must have' and 'best of year' lists and my SpaceNK N.dulge birthday gift gave me the opportunity to try it for myself. And...I still don't get it!




Orgasm is a pinky peach with rose gold shimmer. There are some fairly chunky bits of shimmer but I'm not sure if this is true of the full size blusher. This sort of colour does seem very popular, I think Le Metier de Beaute's Echo is also quite similar, but despite the hype I just don't believe this colour is universally flattering. I have often wondered if there's an element of the Emperor's New Clothes about the popularity.

On me, this sort of colour makes a very obvious blush rather than enhancing my natural colour. I tend to prefer colours that are more natural to the body as I predominately use makeup to fake a more youthful (and awake) appearance. If I do feel like adding a bit of colour, I will apply to my lips or eyes, rarely my cheeks.


Top - Chantecaille Sea Turtles blusher, Bottom - NARS Orgasm

When I do want to go for this sort of shade, I reach for the blusher in my Chantecaille Sea Turtles palette as I find the refined sheen more flattering. It also has a superior texture and pigmentation to the NARS.


I have included this last picture as I wanted to show you just how dinky the mini-blusher is. Whilst I might not love the colour, I am drawn in by the cuteness. Just because I'm a grown women it doesn't mean I have to be sensible ALL the time!!

It was really interesting looking back on my old post and seeing just how many of the cult beauty classics I still haven't tried, particularly the Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer and the YSL Faux Cils. Which cult beauty classics have you never tried? What are your thoughts on Orgasm, are you a lover or are you just puzzled like me?

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Edward Bess Radiant Lifting Serum

This post is so overdue, I feel a little embarrassed. I try and use any new skin care product for 28 days before reviewing. In this case, I 'tested' the Edward Bess Black Sea Radiant Lifting Serum for a month, started a new cycle with another serum and I'm almost ready to review the new one. So, if it seems like I'm reviewing a lot of skin care all at once, I am but I promise I'm not cheating on my 'rules'. I'm just slow!

Anyway, with that confession out of the way, let's talk about the Black Sea Radiant Lifting Serum. I'm rather taken with the packaging, it's stylish in a masculine kind of way. The pump dispenser makes it easy not to waste product too. The texture is like a slightly milky gel which becomes more watery on contact with the skin. The more watery texture allows it to glide on the skin and it feels pleasantly cooling. I do find that it sometimes feels slightly tacky as it dries: I like to wait for a minute or too between applying serum and moisturiser to allow it to absorb and minimise dilution of any active ingredients. This sticky feeling disappears as soon as I apply my moisturiser. 



I wouldn't say this serum made my skin more radiant. I think you either need something with a slight peeling effect or light reflective particles to do that. However, what it did do was hydrate my skin sufficiently to plump out my fine lines so that they looked less obvious. It is perhaps unsurprising that the only active ingredient that I really recognise on the ingredients list is sodium hyaluronate, which does help skin hold onto water.
The benefits of the Black Sea Serum are transient but I like how it feels and, as someone that suffers with dehydrated but not dry skin, I really appreciate a product that hydrates my skin without leaving me with a greasy face.  I also like that it doesn't include any silicones, instead they use ethylhexyl palmitate as an ingredient to provide slip. I do think it is a little on the expensive side at £50 but on a positive note, it is £50 for 47ml so the bottle will last quite a while.


It's hard for me not to feel the urge to compare the Black Sea Radiant Lifting Serum to the Dr. Perricone Advanced Face Firming Activator that I'm currently using but this is an unfair comparison. The two serums have quite different functions. The Perricone is a lot more active, refining the skin and improving existing signs of ageing whereas the Black Sea Serum is good for hydrating the skin and cosmetically improves the appearance using 'natural' extracts rather than refined active ingredients*. In fact, I have started to use the Black Sea Radiant Lifting Serum on the days which I do not use the Advanced Face Firming Activator and this seems to suit my skin well.

EDIT: I've brooded on this one overnight and really wanted to come back and add a few more thoughts. This serum is OK but the ingredients list is not really worthy of a £50 price tag. I was also really disappointed to find the Made in Taiwan sticker on a product from a luxury brand. I think you can find better products in this price bracket. 

The Edward Bess Black Sea Radiant Lifting Serum is available from Zuneta and costs £50.

Disclosure: This items were sent to me without cost for review purposes.

* I really hesitate to use the word natural. I desperately need to find an alternative as I think the word natural is frequently misused in the beauty industry. In this case, I'm referring to the fact they use extracts rather than purified chemicals. It is worth noting how far the ingredients list these extracts appear.

Sunday, 22 April 2012


I thought it would be nice to have a general catch up today. I spent a huge amount of time battling with technology yesterday (I won on most fronts with the exception of our home phone line) so I lost quite a bit of swatching time. I'm not sure I'll get much opportunity to catch up today either.


Last weekend I caved and finally bought myself a Kindle. In all honesty, I bought it because I'm impatient and I desperately wanted to read some of the books that were recommended to me as a result of this post. I'd finished Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult with only an hour left before the shops shut and somehow buying a Kindle seemed the most sensible solution. I don't regret it at all. Granted, it's not the same as reading a book but it is very convenient. I've already finished The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler (excellent once you get past the strange choice of tense) and I'm currently catching up on some Tempe Brennan.


In an even more unusual turn for me, I've bought some running shoes. I gave them their first outing yesterday, I ache a bit today but it was nowhere near as hard as I expected. I'm using the NHS Couch to 5K podcasts to get me started. I've no end in mind, I just want to improve my fitness and lose some weight.

Vernis in Love

Rouge in Love

I'm normally quite reserved about sharing products before rigorous testing but I'm afraid I couldn't contain myself in this case. I'm especially excited about to show you colours from the Lancôme Rouge in Love* and Vernis in Love* collection, hence the sneaky peek above. Skincare wise, I have some items from Ormorvicza* and Perricone MD* to try, so you can expect reviews in due course. As an aside, I spotted that Cult Beauty have a lovely GWP with any Ormorvicza orders over £30 from today which is worth a look if you're interested in the line.

I bought some lovely Antipodes products whilst I was on holiday (I'm a sucker for the GWPs!), I tried the Aura Manuka Honey mask last night and I really like it. I actually wished I'd bought their night cream too as it felt beautiful and I suspect that will niggle away until make a purchase.



Finally, I wanted to share something that my husband will probably kill me for posting. He was away for a conference this week and returned home, to much ribbing, with this...

The geek crystal

Apparently that bit at the top that looks like a lump of coal is a Blue John crystal. As much as I made fun of the award, I'm rather proud of my geeky husband for winning a prize. I think he was pretty chuffed with the £100 cheque too.

What have you been up to over the past week? Do you have any exciting news to share?

Disclosure: The items marked with * are PR samples.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

London MakeUp Girl shows us what's in her....

It's London MakeUp Girl's turn to do What's In My... and she's taking us to her special skincare corner. What are the skincare products that find a place in the corner of her bathroom, rather than sitting in a cupboard? These are the items she reaches for daily or weekly. Click on the picture to find out what they are!

skincare teaser

Friday, 20 April 2012

Bookable Hourglass Masterclass at Liberty

I just spotted this on Twitter and thought I would share. Hourglass Cosmetics are having a Masterclass evening in Liberty's Heritage Suite on Wednesday 25th April from 6-8pm. There's a £25 booking fee (I'm not sure whether this is redeemable against purchases) and you can call to book on 02077341234 ext 2632.

I'd highly recommend going if you're available and interested in Hourglass products. I had a makeover last year with Gina Brooke in Liberty and it was a really enjoyable (and wishlist creating) experience. If anyone does go along, I'd love to hear how you get on!


Hakuhodo K024 and Kokutan ML Eye Brushes


I was finally prompted to write a post about these two brushes after using the Hakuhodo K024 the other day and feeling rather disappointed. Being disappointed by a Hakuhodo brush is such a rarity that I thought it was is definitely worthy of discussion.

These eyeshadow brushes are at the opposite end of the price spectrum. The Kokutan ML eye brush is a blend of blue squirrel hair and synthetic fibre and costs $48. The K024 is a horse hair brush and currently costs $17 (I paid $12 as I purchased before the January price rises).  It is probably unsurprising that a brush that retails for under £10 has some imperfections but I suspect that it's the type of hair that I don't get on with in this case.



Looking back at the pictures of the K024 when it first arrived, it is clear to see that it has lost its shape through washing. It has altered further since I took these pictures. The oval paddle shape has gone and instead it is wide and splayed out just before the tip. The hairs no longer feel smooth at the end, some have taken on a kink and the brush feels quite bulky at the tip. The hairs no longer feel as soft on the skin: they have blunt tips and feel more like cut ends rather than the usual natural tapered tip of the hair. I'm not sure which, if any, of my other brushes are horse hair to compare with but it is possible the slightly rough texture is typical for this type of hair.

I particularly noticed how scratchy the brush felt after washing. I wondered if it might benefit from being washed with moisturising shampoo rather than my preferred BECCA brush soap. It did indeed feel a little softer after washing with the shampoo so I will have to remember this in future (or more likely skip using this brush).

The K024 still picks up product with no issue but I feel it doesn't apply colour on the lids as well as some of my other brushes. I actually did one eye using the Kokutan and one with the K024 yesterday, so I know I'm not just imagining the difference in performance.

Kokutan ML

The Kokutan ML eye brush is a completely different story. I love this brush and it was worth every penny for its luxurious feel. It feels silky soft to the touch and maintains its lovely oval paddle shape after washing. I wouldn't have realised that it was a blend of hair and synthetic fibre had I not checked on the Hakuhodo website as it looks and feels like 100% hair. It also has that faint animalic whiff when it is washed.

The Kokutan ML applies colour on the lid beautifully: it doesn't pack it on like the MAC 239, instead it is perfect for adding colour in layers and because of this I don't end up with a blunt line that I need to blend. It holds on to shimmery eyeshadows well, applying without fallout. It has a shorter handle than many brush makes but as I've mentioned before, I rather like that.


Top to bottom: MAC 239, Kokutan ML and K024

Top to bottom: RBR Large Shader, MAC 239, Kokutan ML and K024

I have included pictures of both of the brushes next to the MAC 239 and Rouge Bunny Rouge Large Shader 003 for size and shape comparison. As you can see, both are quite large lid brushes and closer in size to the RBR brush than the 239. The Kokutan ML is also much flatter in profile than any of my other brushes.

So there we have it, one love and one 'meh'. I can't say I hate the K024, it is serviceable enough and cheaper than many other lid brushes but I think there are better alternatives available and this is probably one to skip.

Hakuhodo brushes are available from Be aware that customs charges my apply for those buying from outside the USA.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Lanolips Triple Buttermilk Body Balm


Up until recently my only experience of Lanolips was their tinted 101 lip ointments. I know opinion seems to be divided but I really like the lip ointments. I have mentioned before that I often used Lansinoh nipple cream as an overnight treatment to repair my lips but the Lanolips formula is infinitely less gritty!

The Triple Buttermilk Body Balm is one of the new editions to the line along with the Herbal Body Treatment Oil. The Body Balm comes in a large squeezy tube and has a medium thickness cream consistency. I find it spreads easily for a balm product and the moisturising feel is long lasting. I use it on my legs post shave and also on my hands when they are feeling particularly chapped. I regularly use it on Miss MB's very dry skin too. She proffers a leg now whenever she sees the tube!

I have to say that I am a little addicted to the scent. It's not a particularly strong fragrance but there's something about the smell which transports me back to being a little girl. It is a comforting sweet powdery smell and I'm still struggling to bring to mind exactly what it reminds me of.  

The Triple Buttermilk Body Balm costs £14 for 170ml and is available from and Zuneta.

Disclosure: This item was sent to me without cost for review purposes.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Guerlain Les Fumes Quad versus Rue de Passy

I think there are probably more pictures in this post than are strictly necessary. I won't apologies for this as I'm a neutrals palette perv I'm not ashamed to admit it, I'm also fairly certain that I'm not on my own! This Guerlain Les Fumes Quad was generously gifted to me by a very kind blogger friend and it definitely softened the blow of my eyeshadow no-buy. I mentioned this palette in my recent holiday makeup bag post and I thought it might be useful share it in a bit more detail.



The colours that I use most of all in this palette are the metallic silvered taupe (shocker) and the satin pinky tan shade. So, it came as a surprise when I swatched the other two eyeshadows that they looked so similar when applied. In the pan they look quite different: the eyeshadow on the far left looks lighter than the eyeshadow bottom centre, but when swatched, I can detect no real difference in the depth of colour. The eyeshadow on the far left has a khaki green undertone and subtle shimmer whereas the eyeshadow on the bottom left is more ashy brown. Both of these eyeshadows are a little drier in texture compared to the two lighter colours. All of the Guerlain palettes that I have tried seem to suffer to a certain extend with this variation in eyeshadows quality.

L-R: The colours were swatched from the top centre pan moving round clockwise.

Despite the variable texture, I do use Les Fumes quite a lot as I like the colours and I find it easy to put together a look with this quad when I'm in a rush. It reminded me a lot of Rue de Passy palette so I thought it would be interesting to compare the two side by side.

Left - Les Fumes, Right - Rue de Passy

Putting them side by side like this, the similarities and differences are more clear. Obviously the Rue de Passy palette has more colours than Les Fumes. From the swatches, I can see that there isn't one single identical eyeshadow (I thought from the pans that the pinky tan might be the same colour). You can achieve similar looks using these palettes and for most people, owning both would be unnecessary.



Unhelpfully of course, I can't decide which I prefer. In terms of colour and versatility, I'd probably recommend Rue de Passy. However, Les Fumes is probably better in terms of the consistency of eyeshadow texture. The packaging of the Rue de Passy is stunning but I find the packaging of Les Fumes more practical to use (the Ecrin 6 colour is a bit of a nail breaker). There is also the small matter of the cost to consider. The Rue de Passy Ecrin 6 couleurs palette costs £53.50 and Les Fumes Ombre Eclat 4 couleurs costs £37. Obviously you get more colours for £53.50 but the net weight is the same.

Both palettes are part of the permanent collection and are available from Guerlain counters as well as online from Debenhams and Escentuals. Which do you prefer? If you own both, can you pick out a favourite of the two palettes?

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Illamasqua FOTD with Vernau and Obsidian

I recently received a few items from the Illamasqua Human Fundamentalism collection to try. I thought it would probably most useful to show them applied along with a couple of other Illamasqua products that I already own. I have included swatches of all the products too.

L-R: Obsidian, Sealing Gel, Vernau



Vernau is a yellow-hued medium brown. I think it's a bit too dark to be described as ochre but that should give you a good idea of the undertone. I wouldn't usually wear this as a lid colour but I wanted to apply to larger to see how the eyeshadow performed. Obsidian is a matte black which seems to lean a touch green on my skin. Both eyeshadows are reasonably pigmented. They are not as smooth as some of my favourite eyeshadow formulas but they do blend well. I applied Obsidian dry as a liner to start with and I was pleased with how dark it looked as I was concerned it might look a little patchy from the swatch. Obsidian is definitely my favourite of the two eyeshadows.

I had a play with the Sealing Gel mixed with Obsidian but I feel I haven't really cracked my technique with the gel yet. I tried mixing the two in a palette with limited success (I think this technique would work well with loose pigments) so instead I added the gel directly to the eyeshadow pan. I didn't manage to make a true paste, which is what I hoped to achieve, but the mix still worked ok as a liner. The line didn't budge until I removed my makeup at the end of the day.

Below are all the colour items that I used. I wasn't terribly enamoured with the final look: I think the colours jarred a little and the foundation I used wasn't a good fir, so all in all I was a bit 'meh' about it. I have included a pictures though as I know it's always useful to see products applied. That is my roundabout way of saying be gentle with me!


L-R: Fume lipgloss, Beg Blusher, Obsidian and Vernau


All products are from Illamasqua unless otherwise stated.

Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation in Porcelain
Shu Uemura brow pencil
Blusher in Beg

Too Face Shadow Insurance
Vernau eyeshadow all over the mobile lid and blended out at the crease
Obsidian mixed with Sealing Gel applied along the upper lash line
Masquara mascara in Raven

Intense lipgloss in Fume



I'm sorry that this is such a small crop but the Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder foundation really didn't flatter my skin and I was loath to share the full face. I found it settled in my pores and highlighted fine lines, accentuating flaws that I prefer to conceal! I requested a sample of this foundation with my last Zuneta order and I have to say it is a very worthwhile service. Buying foundation online is typically a risky business. As I suspected, the Immaculate Liquid Powder foundation has a powdery matte finish and would be best suited to a more oily skin type or a more youthful complexion.

Disclosure: Vernau, Obsidian and the Sealing Gel were sent to me without cost. I also bought some Illamasqua Sealing Gel last year but shamefully this is the first time I have used it.


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