Friday, 21 May 2010

Make-up Product of the Month: April - NARS Sheer Matte Foundation

I wanted to review this product for a while, i.e. the day I got it, as when I really love a product I want to share with you straight away. However, I don't think I should review a foundation without giving it a few weeks to see how my skin reacts to it and how the overall condition of my skin improves (or gets worse) over time first.
Most of you are familiar with this foundation in the Sheer Glow formulation. This is essentially the same foundation but called Sheer Matte, with a slightly different formulation suitable for oily and combination skin. I can't compare the two because I've only tried the Sheer Matte but I don't think there's a huge amount of difference between the two. The idea is that Sheer Matte still gives you that same "glow" even if you have an oily complexion. I would say I'm more on the combination side that oily, it's my T-Zone that suffers, and I was recommended in the store that I could use the Sheer Glow if I wanted as it would be suitable but I feel like I know my skin best and could imagine as the day wore on I would have more of a shine than a glow. Not a good look.
There is a great selection of shades available, I'm sure there's something for everyone there. I was matched with Fiji which is a light-medium shade for yellow undertones. It's perfect for my skin tone as I tend to go a golden yellow sort of tan.
I apply the foundation with my fingertips rather than a brush. I prefer the control I have over the coverage by using my fingertips, it's easier to apply it lightly. I shake the bottle upside down well before using, then apply a pea sized amount to the back of my hand and dip my fingertip in a few times until I've used all the foundation to cover my face. It's a lot more labourious without the pump I've grown used to with MAC foundations!
Not only does this foundation have excellent coverage, but it lasts ages! After a day at work I'm still shine free, the only area that might need touching up being the bridge of my nose. The real test was when I wore this at the weekend. The hottest weekend the UK has seen so far this year, and I expected my face to be a big shiny disco ball when I looked in the mirror, but I was pleasantly surprised, it really wasn't that bad.
What's particularly great about the formulation is that it doesn't leave you feeling cakey-faced. You put it on, it does it's magic and you forget about it. I also don't worry about what this might be doing for the health of my skin. My skin isn't shiny after a few hours' wear but that doesn't mean my skin can't breathe. I think the same rules still apply with this foundation in terms of it's still important to thoroughly cleanse at the end of the day and make sure you wipe it all away, but I know my skin isn't getting clogged up by using this foundation. I've noticed considerably how the condition of my skin has improved lately. I'm not going to attribute that entirely to the foundation, I have changed my skin care, using entirely Purity and Lush products now but I know this is doing my skin some good. The foundation comes with a little booklet so you can find out exactly what's in it, and it's clear there's a lot of healthy things in there, so much so, that I'm using less foundation than I would before, just because it's not needed any more.
As for any downsides, I will have to talk about the price. £29 for 30ml. Yes it's a quality product, and there's something quite satisfying about buying a product like this. Every time you use it, it feels kind of "safe" like you trust the brand because it's got such a good reputation. But £29 for 30ml? I wouldn't spend more than this I'm sure (don't quote me). It's a whole £10 more than MAC SFF and Select foundations, and I can't say that I think it's worth it. I love the skin benefits I've gained from using NARS, but unless you're really struggling with MAC, this won't really be the miraculous product I think a lot of people expect it to be. If your budget stretches this far, I'd recommend trying it, but I think there is possibly a few cheaper alternatives.

Monday, 17 May 2010

MAC To The Beach Collection

I waited for this collection to hit the shops before I purchased anything, purely because I don't trust the website for accuracy of shades or finishes to the products. It turned out the products I wanted from looking at the website were the ones I liked in real-life and ended up buying anyway.
I could have quite happily gone a little crazy with this collection to be honest, a lot of it really appealed. I was subdued though and just got what I went in for, I do find it hard to part with a lot of money in one go which isn't too terrible I suppose. The only part of this collection that I would have avoided is the eyeshadows. The only colours that grabbed my attention were Shimmermoss and Humid, both of which are permanent items, and one I already own. Sweet and Punchy is a limey yellow colour, it's pretty but not something I'd see myself wearing, I own one yellow eyeshadow which rarely sees the light of day, so didn't want another to add to it. Yellow is a very hit or miss colour, I think I only need to ever own one yellow.
Both of the eye kohls were gorgeous colours, but I have dupes of both of them, (check out the GOSH Velvet Touch eyeliners if you're after a dupe) so again not something I needed.
The blushers in this collection are Hipness and Getaway Bronze. Hipness is a repromote from a previous collection and is a vibrant coral pink and Getaway Bronze looked more golden than anything else to me. I think I'd go lightly with either of these blushers.
The bronzers are both available from the permanent line, I'm still using my Refined Golden from the Style Warriors collection! It is beautiful and still a firm favourite of mine. There are also two cream bronzers with this collection, which I didn't expect to like, I've never been a fan of cream blushers, possibly due to the incompatibility with my skin type. But these seemed to be different, the formulation is one where the product goes on creamy but turns to a powder like form once you've applied it. I think this would have great staying power, so if you're actually going "To The Beach" you might like this!
The highlight powder "Marine Life" is possibly the item from this collection on everybodys wish list. It was on mine too. Then I saw it and realised I really am too sad to actually be able to use it, it's too pretty and sparkly. The gold sheen on top is only an overspray and wipes away after the first couple of uses. As much as wanted to buy it, £20 is too much to part with something I know I daren't use. I think this would be more suitable as a blush than a highlight product, the lighter part used on it's own might pass as a highlight, but the darker, coral part is more of a blush I think would look great on the apples of your cheeks.

So that's an overview of the majority of the products, now on to what I actually did purchase. I loved the colour of Beachbound lipstick. I thought it was both unique yet wearable at the same time. It's an orangey golden shade in a glaze finish which means it's not so pigmented. I bought Flurry of Fun to go over the top of it, which you can see from the pictures the outcome. While I like the two together and thought the colours complimented each other, I don't really believe that a glaze lipstick needs a lipgloss on the top and that these products are best worn separately. The other lipsticks were a little too dark for my liking, whilst Lazy Day was just a little underwhelming. I chose Flurry of Fun from the Lip Glasses for being the most interesting to look at and completely different from anything I already own. It's again a tone of orange which might sound scary, but I think Lip Glasses are the best place to experiment with new colours as they're never as intense as a lipstick. It contains glitter particles which are multi-coloured, with mostly a greeney blue glitter. Sounds weird, but it's actually quite a nice effect. It reminds me of the way sand reflects the sun, not sure if that was what MAC were aiming for, but that's what I think of! I think it works well with a neutral eye make-up look as it can look a little busy on your lips, but is a nice playful look if you don't over do it with busy eye make-up.
Hope this helps anyone thinking of buying from this collection.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Beauty Product of the Month: April - Lush Shower Jellies

I currently have two shower jellies on the go so just wanted to share my love of them with you. I got one as part of a Lush gift set, and the other was given to me for free from a Lush store that was about to be renovated and they needed to clear a lot of stock. Sweetie Pie was from a gift set I was given a while back and is overpowered with the smell of blackcurrant and a hint of bergamot. It also has glittery bits in which are more for an aesthetic purpose and wash off before you notice them on your skin.

The one I was given was called Whoosh which has contains a blend of lemon, lime and grapefuit juices as well as rosemary and geranium making it a very fresh scent, one that I immediately associated with a masculine smell so this is a great one to buy for your man.

When I first used the shower jellies, admittedly I was not impressed. I found them messy, and very difficult to use. On the packet it recommends how to use them, by crumbling, freezing or storing at bathroom temperature. I froze Sweetie Pie, which made a nice treat during the brief hot spell we had a few weeks ago (where has the lovely spring weather gone by the way??), it didn't freeze completely due to how it's made which is from a seaweed derivative, but it hardened and was easier to break a piece off. For the most part though, I store this in the bathroom, and use it with a shower poof. You need to crumble off a generous amount, probably a little bigger than a pea size amount, and bury it in the shower poof, hold it under the shower and then it's ready to use. This technique means it lathers pretty well and you don't end up wasting a load of product. Now I've found a manageable way to use it I can comment more on the product's value for money and am able to say at £2.30 this is actually brilliant value. It's lasted longer than a bottle of shower gel, and like the majority of Lush products, the smell lingers long after you've used the product, not something you find with conventional shower gels, but something I appreciate since I choose my bath and shower products based almost solely on the smell, and would like them to last longer than the duration I'm using them! The carrageen extract which holds them together helps to infuse the ingredients and acts as a natural surfactant which helps the product lather up which is why these have long lasting smelling power!

The only down side I'd bring up about this product is the choice. I've mentioned two of the shower jellies available, and asides from these, there's only The Joy Of Jelly left to try. I know Lush are famed for their bath products, most notably the bath ballistic, but I would like to see a brand that I deem to be one of the most "green" out there, to recognise most people shower, since it's quicker, cheaper and overall better for the environment. So I would like to see a wider range of the shower jellies available, maybe featuring some of Lush's classic, signature scents.

Has anyone tried and liked the shower jellies?

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