Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Sleek I Divine Jewels Eyeshadow Palette

Continuing the love for Sleek, I thought I’d show you the second palette I picked up at the weekend. This one is called Jewels for its rich, deep colours.
As far as I can find out about this palette, it was released at the end of last year along with Acid. For some reason my local Superdrug only just decided to stock Acid within the last month, but I’ve still not seen this one. I picked this one up from a larger city store and I might go as far as to say I like it even more than Storm! While that palettes great, it has a lot of neutral colours you can wear on the lid, and much darker colours for the outer corner and the crease. The Jewels palette makes up for what it lacks, with much bolder colours you can work with to create a brighter look as dramatic as you feel.
None of the colours are duped from Storm, the champagne colour in this looks very similar but it’s a little darker, and the black is even blacker in this palette too! The consistency of the shadows is pretty much the same shimmery, pearlescent effect, with no matte colours besides black. The mint green is more sheer, as is the silver and gold. Where the other colours have an iridescent, almost two tone effect, these give just a sheer wash of one colour, they’re just as pretty though. I wouldn’t say buy this instead of Storm, but certainly alongside it to create a wider variety of looks. Swatches:

Monday, 29 June 2009

Make-up Product of the Month - June: Sleek Ink Pots

Even though I’m not 100% happy with this product, I’ve still decided to feature it as my product of the month. Firstly there aren’t many drugstore brands that actually make their own gel liners so the fact that Sleek do one at all is pretty good, but to be able to compare it to MAC is even better.
Black eyeliner is pretty much a staple item with me. I think I used to overdo it when I was younger, but I’d like to think I’ve mastered the art of applying it now. Liquid eyeliner, namely the Loreal Superliner is one of my top ones, but I am trying hard to replace it with gel liners after hearing such great things all over the magazines and beauty television programmes. The reason why it’s supposed to be much better than liquid is that you can still create quite an intense line but it doesn’t look overdone, and much more natural compared to liquid. Admittedly liquid liner can look a little cakey. Gel liner is also recommended for older women because it’s a more toned down way to wear it. My general opinion of it is that it’s the hardest to master, and the messiest, definitely not for if you’re in a rush as you need an eyeliner brush to apply it, but once you get the hang of it, it can really set your makeup to create a flawless finished look. When I decided to venture over to gel liner territory, I started with MAC’s Fluidline because when can you go wrong with MAC? I was happy with it, but wanted more colours to create different looks. At close to £11 for 3g these are a bit too expensive to buy just to play around with colour. I was pleased to find that one of my favourite budget friendly cosmetic brands had their own version. Under £4 for 4g of product!

The range of colours available is not bad at all, and although I didn’t like all of the colours, I think there’s a colour there for everybody. My favourites were Purple Rain, an aubergine and Stone Cold a navy/silver blue. I plumped for Purple Rain, wanting to give it a try before I purchase any more.
The testers in the shop had been seriously manhandled so were pretty scutty and dried up. I assumed my untouched version would not be as dry. I was a little disappointed at first to be honest. The brush that came with it is perfect for picking up product but hopeless at applying it so was soon discarded. I used my MAC 263 which works fabulously with Fluidline, but not so well with Sleek inkpots. I had to warm this product a little before I could use it more effectively with my eyeliner brush. After a few uses, the product does appear to be loosening up and gradually getting easier to use. Perhaps it is just the top layer of product that’s a little on the hard side. The quality of the liner is still very good, once it’s warmed up, it’s much easier to work with and has great staying power, it lasts all day with no smudging. So I still wanted to rate this highly and call this my make-up product of the month because considering this is nearly a third of the price of the MAC liners, I can forgive it for being a bit on the hard side.

Friday, 26 June 2009

No more naked ears...

I had a healthy start to the day today, i’m not sure what came over me but I woke up really early, went for a jog and made a tasty, nutritious smoothie when i got back in. I love how satisfied and smug I feel when I’m jogging, in between the breathlessness and tight chest, it’s nice to feel like I’m doing something good for my body. Also, I’m not sure why but when I see a fellow jogger i want to high five them on passing! I’ve resisted the urge so far, but the thought of it makes me smile.
Another thing that made me happy today is my package arrived from allergymatters.com. At the start of May I got my ears pierced, at the ripe old age of 22! I partly blame my Mum because she only got hers done a couple of years ago and this must be the reason I never got them done as a child. I also did not really like the thought of getting anything pierced, because as I said when I was younger, I liked my naked ears! Anyway, the initial six weeks where I had to keep the starter studs in was over and I rushed to buy some new earrings to replace them. I was convinced that the earrings were allowed to be either 24k gold, stainless steel or silver, but apparently silver wasn’t on the list. I’d already bought these from a shop called Autumn and May in Greenwich market, it's a lovely little shop that sells a lot of contemporary, unusual looking pieces...I'm loving the cute box they came in....before it was too late and after reading about people with allergies to silver, I didn’t think it was worth risking putting them in whilst my ears were still in the healing process because if I was allergic I’d probably end up having to let them heal and go through the whole thing again. I wanted to find a pair of stainless steel studs rather than gold and because they have to be kept in for another 2 months I wanted to keep it simple. I really love pearl effect earrings, not just in the traditional pearl colour but all metallic colours too. So I was happy to find this pair: on allergymatters.com which are very similar to the silver, white pearl ones I bought, just a tiny bit bigger and they are a light grey pearl rather than white. I’m just really glad to get those starter studs out of my ears to be honest, and now I can’t wait til I can start buying all types of earrings, especially long dangly ones. So here's a bit of a wishlist:

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Girl's Aloud Lashes review

The Girl's Aloud Lashes have been out for a few weeks, and I remember there was a lot of hype over them. A lot of people rushed out to buy them and I saw pictures of the lashes, but I never saw anyone wearing the lashes. I wanted to know what they would look like on, so I got myself the pair I thought were the nicest. It came down to a toss up between Nadine's and Nicola's (although I didn't see Kimberley's anywhere, they were sold out in the Superdrug Strand branch and my local branch) and I went for Nadine's. I've loved Eyelure since I discovered them which admittedly wasn't long ago, a few months back, and I've been pretty loyal to this brand since they make good quality, natural, while at the same time noticable lashes.
They're great too because the glue easily peels off when you remove the eyelashes, and provided you take care of them, i.e. return them to the box in their right shape, remember to take them off at night! (easily forgotten when you've had a couple), and don't try to wash them! I learn the hard way honestly.
I wanted to show what they look like on, rather than just showing them in the box.

If you've seen pictures of my eyelashes with just mascara on, you'll appreciate what a vast difference these make to my lashes. I love the fact that they're much longer on the outer corners which gives a cat-eye effect. I thought they'd be a bit over the top because of the criss cross detailing across the bottom of them, but with eyeliner you don't really notice it, it's just a nice little touch.


I always enjoy seeing what other people are wearing so thought I'd do my own ootd. Today is a gorgeous sunny day, so I'm wearing this summery top from Urban Outfitters which I bought in the sale last year for £5, a bargain! it's by Free People and is a great light and floaty top. I'm on the short side so it comes down very low on me, I've just layered it over a really thin black strappy top from topshop. It's a problem I've just had to deal with, I've lost count of how many tops and dresses I've had to alter the straps on before I can wear them! Petite ranges are no good for me either because they make them shorter on the length and the shoulder lengths are the same. So I end up with a top that's too short on my waist and too low at the top!

I've teamed it with leggings and a gold bangle from Accessorize for a nice easy summer look.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

The Sacred Truth

I've had a lovely weekend so far, I hope you all have too. Earlier today I went over to Greenwich market to pick up a last minute Father’s Day gift. Greenwich market is a great place for gift buying, there’s so many unusual things there that you can’t find elsewhere. On Saturday I met with a friend I hadn’t seen for ages, she had a few spare hours in the city before she went home so we had a little catch-up. I also went to the Lush store in Covent Garden. Until recently I hadn’t been in, I thought it was a tiny branch and I prefer bigger stores that stock everything. I discovered that it’s actually HUGE, I didn’t realise there were stairs leading down to another floor. Downstairs it’s like a basement shop, with different sections and I think they pretty much stock everything. What I was looking for in particular was facemasks. I’ve tried a lot of products from Lush and have more often than not been impressed, sometimes a little weirded out, but mostly impressed! Lush have a long standing offer where if you return 5 black pots for recycling you get a free face mask! So I’ve been saving up my little black pots and finally reached five. These are the things that I returned.
1x Helping Hands – This was a hand cream that came in a little pump bottle, contains chamomile and rosemary, very good for dry skin.
2x Angels on Bare Skin – The best face wash ever! I’m obsessed with this, and have just got back in to using it, I wrote a review on it a while back.
1x Herbalism – the most vegan friendly, organic face wash they make, good for oily skin but I’m not too keen on the smell, and prefer AOBS.
1x Imperalis – An all rounder moisturiser, I used this on my face, and it works well, nice consistency, but probably better just for night time so it has time to sink in to the skin, it’s quite heavy otherwise.
It took me a while to choose which face mask I wanted. They all looked and smelled so good and most served the same purpose. I ruled out the ones for dry skin and the chocolate one because it smelt far too much like something I would eat, it just seemed wrong to put that on my face.
I opted for The Sacred Truth which seemed to be the best for detoxifying the skin. It contains wheatgrass, ginseng, Green Tea, fresh papaya, cleansing clays and nutritious butters. I thought the consistency of this one was the easiest to apply, some looked a bit too thick. The smell is gorgeous too, it has a somewhat floral scent to it, possibly from the ylang ylang. I was amazed at all the ingredients that went in to making it actually, free range eggs, yoghurt, honey...So Lush face masks are very fresh which means you need to keep them refrigerated. That’s why I think these face masks are perfect for this time of year. When you’ve had a hot day outside, it’s nice to come home, relax and apply this all over your face, very cooling and refreshing. Here I am modelling it!
My skin felt amazing afterwards, it was a little tightening on my face as it dried, but it meant when I rinsed it off, I felt like I’d used a strong toner. You can pick these up in most Lush stores for about £4.80, but for some reason they’re advertised on the website as £6.31, maybe they’re a bigger size? I’m keen to try out the other face masks available, but really they work out quite expensive considering they only stay fresh for 3 weeks! They make a nice treat, but I’ll probably get saving my black pots again, or maybe have a bash at making my own!

Monday, 15 June 2009

Beauty Product of the Month - June

Everybody loves body butters don't they? I remember years ago, the first body butter I got was a mango one from The Body Shop, and it smelt divine. I haven’t stopped using them since. I believe The Body made the original ones, although now a lot of brands have their own versions. I love all the scents of all the different versions, always so fresh and fruity smelling! So while credit should be given to The Body Shop for this wonderful idea, I think that the Boots Mediterranean version is up there with them with the added bonus of costing only half the price. I finished my almond and milk body butter, and have moved on to the grape, avocado and lemon butter which I’ve been using the past few weeks. They’re so great because they last a very long time, a little goes a long way, you can use just a small 50p size amount to cover your legs to make them silky smooth. What I didn’t know was that they made such a great alternative to aftersun lotion. So this weekend was another hot one, and Sunday my boyfriend and I decided to soak up some sun at a place called Pontoon Dock (which is a great little hidden gem). I used factor 15, and have not tanned in the slightest, which I suppose is a good thing, it’s healthier for my skin...My boyfriend used factor 25 and at the end of the afternoon looked like this:
There is the caring, loving side of me that was really concerned because this looks painful. But when faced with this and "Is my back a bit burned?" then the humour takes over and I have to laugh because this is pretty funny. It’s not the sunburn itself, just the shape of it. A hand outline on your back whether it’s a tan or sunburn has some comedy value!
Without after-sun lotion, I was thinking what moisturiser I could use to help with the burn. Body butter is always my preferred choice of moisturisers, so I decided to give this a go. It works well because of the way it sinks into the skin, and a few minutes after applying the product, the skin looked like this:
I know the lighting is different, but you can see the contrast between the normal skin and the affected area is a lot less. He said it felt more relieved and the next day it looked even better. Now I managed to burn my shoulder a couple of weekends ago and used no product to help it recover, so for me it took a few days before I entered the peeling stage. I wish I’d have known about this because I would have lathered it on! Obviously I know letting your skin burn is a very bad thing, and prevention is always better than cure, but sometimes it happens. I know that everyone reading this will know to ask someone to help them with those hard to reach areas, but men aren’t as clever, or just too stubborn sometimes, (or is that just mine), but if you do get burned, I’d recommend this over after-sun, because not only does it relieve and cool, but it speeds up the healing process even more than after-sun.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Sleek I Divine Acid Eyeshadow Palette

Whilst perusing the isles of Superdrug, I also noticed Sleek had a new eyeshadow I Divine palette. This is definitely not one for the faint hearted, I saw it (from a mile away), and approached with caution. These are some shocking colours!
I think because I’m aware of just how pigmented and vibrant Sleek eyeshadow turns out on the skin, I saw these and knew that the colour I saw in the palette would be the colour on my eyelid, and I’m not sure I’m ready for fluorescent eyelids. So I didn’t buy it, but now I’m left wondering about it, because whether I like it or not neon is a trend that doesn't seem to be disappearing as quickly as maybe I'd like it to. Maybe I could make neon green work for me somehow. Has/would anyone try this palette? Is this one to be left for the teens, or do I need to be more openminded?!

EDIT: I am currently selling a Sleek Acid and Graphite palette on ebay, they are brand new in box and I'm shipping internationally! Ends 13 December 2009.

Barry M New Dazzle Dusts

Currently there’s a few offers in Superdrug, quite a few 3 for 2’s, on Revlon and Bourjois for example. Also on offer are Barry M’s dazzle dusts and glitter pots. You can buy any 3 for £9.99 so it works out at almost 3 for 2. There’s a few new exciting looking shades available Petrol Black, Dark Chocolate, Gold, Parrot Green, Teal and Block Blue. I purchased two of the new shades: Petrol Black and Teal, the third shade I got was an old one called Tan. Here they are without flash and below with flash.
Swatches on my hands:

I was going to opt for Block Blue, which is a lighter version of Teal, thinking I could wear the 3 colours together for a quite intense blue eye. I decided against this because it occurred to me I never wear full on blue eyeshadow, for the good reason that it just doesn’t suit me, it’s better with just a hint. So the third colour I opted for was a safe choice and that was Tan. It’s a very pretty colour, not too intense at all but one I knew I would be able to wear a lot whereas the other two were experiments. Teal is a beautiful electric blue colour. I was surprised that it was called Teal because I always had the idea that Teal was more green. It’s a very gorgeous shade regardless. Finally there’s Petrol Black, a very interesting colour, it has an iridescent green/purple shimmer to it, in the same way petrol can appear to be multi coloured. It’s very unique, unlike any colour I’ve seen before, and will make a great alternative to wearing black in the crease. The picture doesn't really do it justice.
So here is the look I created using all three colours. I perhaps should have gone heavier with the Petrol Black for photographic purposes so you could appreciate it's true colour. I think you can imagine how it would look if I'd used Block Blue, hmm I might be regretting not buying it slightly...

Thursday, 11 June 2009

New Hair...

Yesterday I got my haircut for the first time since I moved to London. It's always a nerve wrecking experience for me getting my haircut somewhere new, I've had some bad hair experiences in the past! The most notable time being when I decided I wanted to go blonde (not the easiest transition for someone who is naturally a medium/dark brunette). Basically there was a little bit of communication breakdown, the lady that cut my hair spoke little English and I ended up with the worst shade of blonde imaginable, kind of strawberry blond-ish. It was supposed to be a base colour and then I would have highlights over it, but it was so dreadful I didn't want her to put any more colour on my hair so I left, and it worked out more expensive to have corrected somewhere else. A few weeks after this dilemma I was ready to have my hair cut again and decided to try somewhere new. The people were pretty professional but again I didn't get the hair I'd wished and hoped for. I showed the lady a magazine picture of a girl with very light blonde hair and explained this was the colour that I wanted as a highlight. The result...my entire hair ended up looking that colour. So feeling like barbie, I walked out thinking it would grow on me. It didn't, I went back and had lowlights put in. So these were my nightmare experiences during my first few months living in the states in 05. I'm glad to say my final months were a lot more pleasant and I was finally happy with a hairdresser I found. When I got back to the UK I wasn't sure whether to continue trying to convince the world I was really blonde or go back to my natural roots. I decided to carry on, and went to a hairdresser I knew about through recommendation and for 2 and a half years, is (almost) the only place I've gone.
Now in the big smoke where would I go?! I was already prepared for extortionate prices compared to my hometown, but I was lucky enough to find out about a place that wasn't too expensive and here is how my hair turned out.
In natural daylight, and below in room lighting.

I'm really happy with the colour, honestly I would have been happy if they'd just managed to match what I had before, but the girl who cut my hair has actually done an even better job than I imagined so I'm super happy. Before, I thought my hair was a little too golden, now it's been toned down to a cooler shade, a beigey blonde that I much prefer. I'm also really happy with the cut, the layers are more distinct but natural looking.

http://www.cullenandco.co.uk there's 50% off the first appointment.

Monday, 8 June 2009

MAC Style Warriors Collection

The Style Warriors Collection was released here in the UK on Thursday, so I was happy to finally get my hands on a few coveted items. I was really looking forward to this collection, there were some key pieces I decided I really wanted to have in my own collection. I also think this is a really of-the-minute, relevant collection. I know a lot of people have been put off by the packaging, I have to agree it does look slightly tacky, but the novelty of it is kind of the appeal, the animal print is very cute, and I think the tribal print on the front is very symbolic and I'll explain why.

I was reading through a Time magazine supplement, Style and Design, and it made many references to Africa and Western fashion. On the catwalk, influences from Africa have been cropping up more and more, from tribal prints to layered bangles. Designers are working closely with artisans in East Africa, using their craftmanship to produce fashionable items such as jewellery and bags. So why this change in fashion, is it just a trend?

What happens in the world, and in the economy especially, has always had a direct link on what happens in the fashion world. So in a climate where we're spending less, and (hopefully) saving more, being careful with our resources and what we do spend our money on, an important issue has been raised: how can we turn fashion into something more sustainable?

Big fashion labels are tapping into the idea that fashion is no longer just about the glamour and bling, but something that can help others and improve a global situation. Fashion is a business, but it's not only those in the Western world that are able to profit from it. By working with African artisans, items can be produced that are still rarefied and by involving communities directly, businesses can be formed, and the wealth of their success can be enjoyed.

I think this is a much better way to help build the developing world, not just to give aid donations, but create something more permanent. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but I immediately thought of this when I saw the collection. I hope that MAC were paying homage to this change, one of the reasons it's a favourite brand of mine is the fact it concerns itself with the AIDS cause. If you're interested in reading a couple of the articles here's some links:



The collection also coincides with ARISE African fashion week 12th-20th June which you can read about here:

And now, onto what I bought:
I got 3 things, and what I bought was unexpected, I really liked the look of the lip products from the website pictures and originally I thought I would buy them, but in real life they were really not my colours at all. For dark skin tones they would look amazing though. Seeing the bronzers and eyeshadows in "real-life" though, I could really appreciate how beautiful the colours were.
The first thing I picked out was this nail lacquer in Peaceable.
This is probably one of the least popular nail varnishes from the collection, it doesn't exactly catch your eye, especially next to the other two which are a very bright purple colour, and a bronzey golden colour, but it appealed to me because I don't own enough neutral shades. I love that I can just paint this on my nails and not have to work my outfit and makeup around it for the next couple of days.This is after one coat of the varnish, and what I liked about it was that if I wanted just a sheer, slight shine to my nails, this would do the trick, it was a little streaky, but I could get away with it.After two coats, this is the finished result, and this is enough to finish my nails. Excuse the messy cuticles, I'm really not great at painting nails, I tend to just aim for covering my nails, this usually includes my cuticles too unfortunately and then I rely on washing my hands afterwards to remove the excess. Lazy I know, but us shaky handed girls have to make do.
This is the outer packaging for the eyeshadow.
I picked Bright Future, which I describe as "New York can yellow" very vibrant, and for lighter skin tones, probably a bit off putting. I'm quite a firm believer that with eyeshadow, any colour can work for any skin tone, so I suppose I bought this as a little bit of a challenge to myself, how could I make it work for me. I don't own a yellow eyeshadow so it was something new and fun to try. Tempting was also released with this collection, I already own this from the permanent collection, but if I didn't I think I would have bought it as well. Along with Bright Future, I've managed to create quite a different (for me) look that's unusual but wearable.
Finally, the bronzing powder, this is in Refined Golden, very gorgeous golden brown, with gold sparkles in. The other bronzer didn't have any golden sparkles in and was a little darker. I know shimmery blushes and bronzers aren't everybody's taste, but I personally love them, and this one doesn't over do it all. The gold particles are very visible, but on the skin they're really subtle.
So there's the finished look with Bright Future and Tempting eyeshadow and Refined Golden under the cheeks and temples. Please feel free to leave comments or email, I'm always interested to hear what other people think.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Eye of the Day - black and gold

I'm not sure what's going on with the weather, London looked incredibly murky today compared to the past week. I haven't really been wearing a lot of makeup recently, because it's been so hot, but I took advantage of not feeling like my face would melt today if I put any makeup on and resorted to this look which I love.
It is a little dramatic I suppose, as in I normally wear this on an evening, but you know, it's Friday so why not. I think black and gold together looks stunning, quite a contrast between the two but because they're neutral they don't clash. I used shadow only from the Sleek palette I previously wrote about, and only used a tiny amount of shadow over primer which gives you an indication of just how pigmented they are. The black especially is very impressive, I think it's hard to find a black that gives a good colour pay off but I literally touched the brush into the black shadow and it gave more than enough product.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Neutral every day makeup with a splash of colour

If you're like me, you enjoy wearing make-up and find yourself coming back to easy neutral colours for every day use. Neutral can become quite boring though, so I will show you how to create a neutral look with a splash of colour. To see the look created live, you can visit the Youtube tutorial.
This is a look that I find myself returning to a lot of the time. It’s very easy to wear and easy to apply as all the colours are from the same palette. The palette I use is Maybelline’s expertwear eye shadow in Enchanted Forest. I bought this in the US but if you’re in the UK, similar colours can be found in one of the Revlon quads (sorry I can't remember the exact name).
The Maybelline quad has great quality eyeshadows, especially for the price. They’re not brilliantly pigmented, but they’re long lasting, and quite shimmery, and because we’re going for a natural look, they’re perfect. You can always layer up the shadow if you wanted a more intense look.
I use this quad because it contains an olive/moss green colour. The trick to wearing colour in a subtle way is to match the colour of your eye and incorporate this colour into your eyeshadow. It doesn’t have to be exact, but if you have blue eyes, look for a suitable blue. If you have brown eyes, maybe look for a coppery brown coloured shadow for the crease, and for grey eyes, a purple grey, for a subtle hint of colour.
I start off with my primer, I use two faced shadow insurance. Then, using the darker beigey gold colour take a brush and sweep it all across the lid. To build the colour up a little bit, it helps to dab the brush in to the colour, then dab it on to the lid. It takes more time but can see the colour more clearly. Next I use another brush to apply the green in to the crease. I use the dark brown on the outer corner, blending it with the green in my crease. I use this colour because I want a colour that is neutral but darker than the crease colour. If you have brown eyes and are using brown on your crease, apply black or a darker brown to your outer corner. Nothing ground breaking, just easy to wear makeup that's subtle, suitable for work/school and a little more interesting than your typical nudes/neutrals.

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