23 October 2009

OPI Nail polish - A oui bit of red

Okay so I know my blog is a wee bit retro - I'm not blogging about new products, launches or even next season's looks, but I am focusing on things I like - products past and present that may not be completely new but that people mightn't have heard about or paid any attention to before.

I'm getting in to the habit now of photographing just about every time I paint my nails or try a new product, and thus here's a little picture of a red polish from OPI - A oui bit of red. This was from La Collection de France released last autumn so not too old.

This has hints of both orange and pink - you may be able to see a flash of fuchsia on the third finger. On the nails it's actually quite a true red - I think this would suit both warm and cool skintones.

IMO it's a sweet, chic red that's quite easy to wear, albeit not particularly unique. I like.

So what do you think will be the next OPI collection? We've had France, Spain.... maybe Great Britain?? (I think there's great potential there - a gorgeous purple for the Scottish thistle, an English rose red, daffodil yellow for Wales and a fab bright green for Northern Ireland??)

Anyone got any insider info???

By Terry - Touche Veloutee concealer

I must have tried just about every highlighting pen going - I'm a fan of Guerlain Issima Precious Light Smoothing Illuminator, which manages to highlight as well as provide a bit of coverage, and I also thought Dior's Skinflash was pretty impressive. YSL's Touche Eclat I just don't get along with at all - I really don't understand the hype.

But my latest discovery, Touche Veloutee by By Terry (by By??) blows all of the above out of the water - ironic, as By Terry is founded by Terry de Gunzburg, creator of... YSL's Touche Eclat!

I tried this on last time I was in Space NK in Newcastle, turned to look into the mirror and WOW! One half of my face was literally transformed - no undereye circles, just a lovely, bright-looking under eye area which seemed to make my whole face look fresher and younger.

I purchased it on the spot and I like it even more now I've had time to experiment with it for a bit. It's brilliant at concealing the broken capillaries and faded acne scars on my cheeks.

As the consistency is a bit thicker than say Touche Eclat, coverage is better, and I find I can actually dot this on my cheeks and any areas that need a bit of perfecting, blend it out a bit and I don't even need to use foundation. But it provides the same highlighting properties as Touche Eclat, eg I use it to paint a crescent from my eyebrow to cheek, and also dot it on the cheekbones, where it just enhances the facial contours and bone structure. It's a real multi-use product and I think this is going to be a staple in my make up bag for some time to come.

I hope the photos illustrate its effectiveness. Although the effect is noticeably brightening, you don't get that awful white halo effect you often see on those who've OD'd on Touche Eclat, which is particularly noticeable on photos with flash (okay the second one is veering towards that, but I had to apply a lot to get it to show on the photos as the light is fading!)

I'm hoping you can tell which side I've used it on!?!

The only thing I would say is avoid a heavy hand with this product - too much, and it does become noticeable, and if using it under the eyes I'd use an eye cream first. This is a perfect highlighter / concealer for those who have less than perfect skin - it will cover up all your imperfections but also just make your skin look, well, better.

This retails at £25.45 at Space NK - which at first glance seems a bit pricey, however the large silver pen contains a whopping 6.5ml of product - compare this to Touche Eclat which contains only 2.5ml and retails at full price at £24 (though can often be picked up cheaper at Superdrug etc) and Skinflash and Precious Light which contain a measly 1.5ml and also cost around the £25 mark.... suddenly Touche Veloutee seems the bargain of the century!!!

According to some blurb off the web, Touche Veloutee contains "a cocktail of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents and Hyaluronic-acid spheres, along with soft-focus microprisms that conceal and reflect light without being heavy." So this is marketed as a kind of skincare treatment / concealer (incidentally so is Guerlain's Precious Light). I'm less concerned about the skincare credentials as I prefer to use a targeted eye cream, but I'm certainly not complaining. Ultimately though, this is a product that really works for me.

Give it a try if you haven't yet found your HG highlighter / concealer. There are three shades - porcelain, cream (my colour) and beige.

Disclaimer - Please excuse my overall sickly pallor in these photos, just at the end of three days of illness due to unidentified bug which may or may not have been swine flu!

21 October 2009

Christian Dior Vernis Nail Lacquers - Saigon Cinammon (395) and Tonka (717)

Dior Vernis is a recent discovery of mine, and I thought I'd write about a couple of my favourites, as they don't seem to get much coverage on beauty blogs despite in my opinion having some really nice, unusual colours in there, applying very easily and having reasonable lasting power! (I'm starting to think the lasting power of all polishes is much of a muchness and testament more to the skill and technique of the manicurist!)

Saigon Cinammon (above) is a very 'me' colour - I'm really drawn to tans, browns and chocolately colours. I'd actually describe SC is more of a toffee colour - I really haven't seen anything like this in any other collections. It looks extremely classy on the nails - it seems to demand an equally classy outfit - last weekend I teamed this with a pair of khaki-gold velvet trousers and a pretty blouse and felt, like they say in America, a million bucks!

I really love this and it's definitely become one of my staples as it goes well with my skin tone also complements so many make-up looks. I definitely see this as more of an autumn colour, and I'm not sure I'd wear it on toes. I applied it here with Revlon base coat and top coat which gives it a lovely glossy finish. What do you think??

My other favourite and another Dior polish which I feel almost could have been designed for me (ever get that feeling??) is Tonka (717).

It's hard to describe the colour as in some lights the bottle looks like a shimmering purple, in others a kind of

On the nails the colour is just a lovely, subtle glimmering brown - it looks understated but polished. I particularly like Tonka as a pedicure colour.

I just managed to get a couple of photos before the light started to fade today - no top coat on these pics.

These retail at £15 each in Boots.

OPI Nail polish - Can you tapas this?

I have kind of a love hate relationship with OPI. For me I definitely prefer quality as opposed to quantity when it comes to nail polish brands - e.g. I would prefer to invest in a well-considered, luxury polish released every so often, a la Chanel, rather than a few of fifty or so polishes churned out a month, a la Opi (well, so it seems), only one of which might be a 'stand out' shade.

I've purchased many OPI polishes unseen from the US, usually based on MUA reviews, and I've been disappointed in most as the colours just haven't done it for me, and I find the consistency can vary wildly (I guess when you're purchasing off eBay, there's always the risk you could be purchasing an older polish past its best). A prime example would be I'm not really a waitress, which seems almost universally raved about and which on my nails was a totally blah pink.

But OPI does have the ability to surprise and delight. Last time I had a pedicure at the wonderful Renata Brown salon in Crystal Palace, the beautician suggested a lavender colour Parlez Vouz Opi? Sceptical at first, I caved in after she insisted about how pretty it looked on toes, and she was so right. Parlez vous Opi is now one of my staples (I may post separately on this next time I wear it, though perhaps not as I think it's already been blogged about fairly extensively!)

Recently a couple of other OPI shades have caught my eye. Since my discovery of Parlez Vous Opi? I've been slowly getting interested in more 'alternative colours' e.g. not pinks, reds, browns or nudes. I've been hankering for a while after the black/green Here today, Aragon tomorrow - I love green but have never yet worn a green on fingers or toes, and HTAT is the most amazing shade, so I'm going to track that one down soon. But I did manage to pick up one of the other colours in the Spain collection recently - Can you tapas this?

Can you tapas this? although not necessarily crazy or exciting, is my kind of polish - the kind that makes my heart beat a bit faster at its sheer deliciousness. A few years ago, I had my first ever manicure at NYNC on South Molton Street (I still maintain they do excellent manicures, albeit a bit pricey). The shade was called something like 'Mid town brown' and it was a beautiful, classy red brown. I've been hunting for that or a similar shade since, and when I saw Can you tapas this? I knew I'd found a pretty close match.

I just love this shade (it comes up more of a maroon / burgundy in the pics but I do see dark chocolately undertones on my hands). I'd only wear it in autumn / winter, and wear it I will - lots. To me it conjures up images of Scottish castles, crisp autumn walks, and good red wine! Utterly divine, and I think this would look fab on toes too.

A few of my other OPI polishes are pictured below; l-r: Parlez vous OPI?, Crepes Suzi-ette (a really unusual warm brick red which I haven't yet tried but fell in love with after seeing it on someone else's blog), Fiji Weejee Fawn which is a bit of a boring shimmery nude and A oui bit of red, a classic orange-red, though one which I think has lots of dupes (Can you tapas this? on far right).

Would love to hear everyone else's favourite OPI polishes!

19 October 2009

Airport adventures - Smashbox, Estee Lauder and Bobbi Brown

I had a couple of hours to kill in duty free in Dublin airport yesterday after a lovely weekend spent visiting a friend in the city. I was very excited at the opportunity to spend some uninterruped time make up browsing time, especially when I saw they had as well as MAC, Shiseido, Bobbi Brown and Giorgio Armani which I'd normally have to schlep to W1 to get my hands on in London. And I also got to sample Smashbox - a brand I've heard a lot about but never actually seen 'in the flesh' so to speak - more on that later.

Unsurprisingly, after almost two hours swatching and sampling, I had quite a few items on my ever expanding 'must buy' list (and had attracted quite a few odd looks at my multicoloured hands and different coloured cheeks). I didn't actually buy anything as, duty free or no, Dublin has become astoundingly expensive and the pound is worth little more than the euro at the mo.. so I'll be tracking a few things down in London, online and hopefully on eBay.

Some things that caught my eye:

Estee Lauder

I don't usually bother much with EA make-up as it never really 'calls out' to me, but there were a couple of their Pure Colour lipsticks I tried which definitely warrant further investigation. The first, Beige, was actually a lovely pinky MLBB nude with a hint of sparkle. However I have something not disimilar in my Guerlain Kiss Kiss Maxi Shine Lipstick in Beige Shine.

However, Vanilla Truffle, a true, creamy beige nude, I'm definitely going to pick up. I don't have anything like it in my collection and it just looks divine in the tube, and on the lips, really a great nude. Here's a pic which actually makes it look more pink than it is - I'll update if and when it's in my hands!!

Bobbi Brown

Again not a brand I normally pay lots of attention to, I think as I've had a couple of duff recommendations from make up artists which put me off a bit. However there were quite a few things on display that got the old heartrate going, namely the gorgeous black/green metallic eyeshadow in Forest and the sheer gloss in Sailor, a juicy pinky red that makes the lips look quite delicious. However the stand out for me was the shimmer blush Bahama Brown which is a really unique colour on the pan - sort of a light sparkly beige - and which looks gorgeously glowy and natural on, I think there was a hint of pink but it was hard to see in the airport lighting. I'm definitely going to purchase these next time I'm at a counter in the UK.


This was quite a revelation. I'd heard of Smashbox but never had the chance to try any of their products, indeed I didn't know they were available in the UK - I do however have their Face and Body Brush which I purchased off eBay based on the glowing reports on MUA and which I'm pretty impressed with. It was the face and eye products as opposed to the lip stuff that got me excited - the Soft Lights in Tint looked really unique and I can imagine it would give the face a nice glow, and I also loved some of the colour combinations in the eyeshadow trios. The tinted moisturiser which I tried on the back of my hand also seemed to have a really nice consistency - I'm either going to plump for that or the Nars Sheer Glow foundation as I'm not getting on so well with my Chanel Teint Innocence compact. Anyway I've already picked up a couple of Smashbox things on eBay where they seem to be quite cheap and have found a site - justbeautydirect.co.uk that stocks a whole load of their stuff, so I shall certainly be carrying out some further investigations into this brand, will let you know how I get on!

As I didn't know much about Smashbox including how much it normally costs, I wondered whether I should have a little splurge in the airport, and boy am I glad I didn't! The eyeshadow trios were retailing at 23.95 euros (so about £20) - when I looked them up in the UK, most come in at under £10. Although it's hard sometimes when it comes to make up, sometimes it really does pay not to rush in!!

Anyone got any favourite Smashbox products?

13 October 2009

By Terry Rose de Rose - 03 Amber Rose

Ok, the make up assistant in Space NK in Newcastle told me that the Fresh Rose was a better match for my complexion... did I listen - NO! Do I regret it? Yes, I'm afraid so.

I have to admit this blush is nice, but is it worth the £37 price tag? (wow that's actually painful to write never mind say out loud!). My personal opinion is no.

So I picked up shade No 3 - Amber Rose, as I loved how it looked in the rather lovely glass tube - like no other blusher I've seen, basically exactly as the name suggests - a kind of rosy bronze. The make up lady suggested, as my skin is as she kindly put it olive but I would describe more as pale and sallow, the pink colour would look fresher and show up more. But in my infinite wisdom, I insisted on the amber shade, without even trying it on as she had already applied the pink to my face (it did look nice and fresh but when I examined my face in the light by the door I freaked out as the pink and sparkles were very obvious).

This blush has been the choice of just about every beauty editor of late, but I have to admit (like Grace London who's also reviewed this on London Makeup Girl) to being somewhat underwhelmed. For starters I found it difficult to apply - it doesn't go on very evenly and also sinks into and highlights my pores, which aren't normally that noticeable, whilst the sparkle just seems to sit on my skin. Secondly, and perhaps this is down to me choosing the wrong colour, it just doesn't show up that much. I can see that there's something on my skin, but it's not quite a blush, not quite highlighter. I don't think it gives me the glow that many have raved about. Yes, it's pretty, but so are a lot of other blushers and highlighters that don't cost £££ (I'll be posting a review on my favourite highlighter, Shiseido Accentuating Colour Stick in Glistening Flush, shortly).

Ah yes, that brings me on to the subject of Clinique's Up-Lighting. I have a sample of this, which markets itself more as a highlighter than a blush, and I cannot see a whole lot of difference in the formulations of the two products, in fact I actually think Uplighting is slightly better (and half the price, I think it's about £18). It comes in four shades including a lovely rosy brown called 'Blush' which I've got my beady eye on, and although it doesn't smell of roses like Rose de Rose, I think it does a very similar job.

I'm going to play around with the Rose de Rose and see if I can make it work in different ways, perhaps by mixing it with a liquid foundation, but otherwise, this might be for eBay (although I'd be sad to see it go as it looks so pretty in my make up bag!). This was my first foray into By Terry - and although not blown away by this, I did at the same time purchase the Touche Veloute concealer which is AMAZING! Far better than Touche Eclat IMO - review to follow.

Thanks for reading, would love to hear your views on RdR!

PS I tried to get a decent photo of it on my face and had to apply loads for it to show up on the pic, which is either quite telling or perhaps a reflection of the awful light on this dull October morning in London! Either way it's not a great pic sorry.

11 October 2009

Dior Addict High Impact Weightless Lip Colour - Pinstripe Plum (989)

I coveted this lipstick for quite a while, swatching it on my hand every time I was in Boots, until I eventually picked it up in duty free at Glasgow airport - a snip at £15 (not really but better than the full price of £17+).

Actually, I'm a bit disappointed in it, because the texture is very hard to work with. This range is called 'weightless', and unfortunately this translates a bit too literally to the application - it just doesn't 'stick' to the lips - being quite greasy it slides around all over the place whether applied with a brush, from the stick or with finger tips.

I've taken two photos - one with flash and one without - using the most successful application for me which was patting it on with my fingers. Using a lip brush was an exercise in frustration - my lip line isn't very defined anyway and it feathered as soon as I applied it. Using Guerlain Lip Lift underneath gave it slightly more staying power but did lighten the colour. I think it would take a lip base, a lip liner, a lip brush and lots of patience to make this work!

Ah yes, the colour. In the tube, the dark, juicy plum shade seduced me - on the lips it looks more like violet. It's still pretty, and leaves a nice stain when it wears off, but for the price, I'm sure there are much better quality and more delicious plums out there. Very on trend though, and I'm sure I'll get a bit of wear out of it this autumn, winter, probably paring it with a nude cheek and subtly defined eye. Not a repurchase though.

Any suggestions for fantastic plums anyone??

10 October 2009

Dior Addict Plastic Gloss - Capricious Pink (002)

My first proper make-up review! I'm still very new to this beauty blogging business, and am so pleased that I've found an outlet for my make up obsession - for years I've been playing around with my ever expanding collection, colour swatching on pieces of paper and experimenting with different make up looks that no-one but myself would ever see... not any more!

For my first review I decided just to pick something at random out of my collection, and I plumped (very appropriate word!) for Christian Dior Addict lipgloss in Capricious Pink (002). This is something I picked up on eBay based on the great reviews on Makeupalley, and to be honest it had been languishing unused in my make up case as I was a bit scared by quite how pink it was - but after testing it out this morning for the purpose of this review, that will soon be changing - it's gorgeous!

The colour in the tube is a truly delicious shade of candy pink, and the colour stays true on the lips - it's quite opaque so your own lip colour shouldn't show up underneath with a good thick coat (and it is very thick and quite sticky, which gives it good staying power). It makes lips look plumper and is quite sex-kitteny - I think this would look fab with a matt pink blush and a soft, smoky grey eye.

If you don't like the more obvious gloss look, you can just use a much smaller amount onto your lips, which gives a much more subtle, sheer look but still with the gorgeous pink tint.

Even though I'm normally more of a lipstick kind of girl (though incidentally one of my few other glosses is also Dior - A Bite of Taffy - which I'll review separately), I think this gloss is really beautiful - unashamedly feminine, unashamedly pink! I can't wait to try this out in the upcoming party season. Oh, and it smells delicious too!