19 December 2011

Nars Rebel Yell nail polish

Another of the many dark reds that seem to dominate my collection, I really can't make up my mind how I feel about this nail polish. When I first saw Rebel Yell* at the Nars Counter it was love at first sight. It then languished untried in my collection for several months until I tried it a few days ago, interested to see how it compared to the similar-looking-in-the-bottle Rouge Fatal from Chanel (though on the nails Rouge Fatal is much darker and more opaque).
I think I prefer this one in the bottle. It's kind of a tricky colour - it looks a straightforward medium to dark red - kind of like the nail polish version of Dolce Vita lipstick. But on the nails it leans almost brick like. It's pretty, and I do love the shiny formula (quite thin but easy to work with), but it is, dare I say it, a little boring? It's certainly not making my heart beat any faster. 


I'm going to have a break from reds for a while I think - my next mani will be NARS Galion, a dark, stormy grey.

What nail colours are you loving for winter?

*The rebel yell was, according to Wikipedia, a battle-cry used by Confederate soldiers during the American Civil War. So now you know!

25 November 2011

Chanel Le Vernis - Rouge Fatal

I had wanted this polish for a very long time and finally caved in and purchased it a couple of weeks ago. I have to say, I have been slightly disappointed:

a) The colour is nice, but not as wow as I'd thought it would be.

b) I'm pretty sure I have a couple of polishes like this already in my collection - I'm thinking OPI's I'm Suzi and I'm a Chocoholic (comparison below), Nars Rebel Yell (not yet tested) and Essie Downtown brown. Will post comparison pics of all three when I get round to trying them.

c) Application was difficult - and chippage after a day. Very poor show Chanel. In fact while I'm at it I am really not keen on those spindly Chanel polish applicators.

no flash


OPI I'm Suzi and I'm a chocoholic 

I actually prefer it in these pictures to how it looks on my fingertips! Overall, I'm kind of regretting splashing out £17.50 on this - I'll probably get a bit of wear out of it over the autumn / winter, but unlikely to repurchase.

19 September 2011

Mavala - Khaki Vintage

New favourite alert! I'm so glad I decided to splash out (all of £3.95 it was I think!) and buy this. I was hesitant as I've been seduced by pretty Mavala colours before then been underwhelmed when I've applied them. But I have been very pleasantly surprised by Vintage Khaki - in fact I'd say this is straight in my top ten shades of all time. I can see this working all times of year too.

How to describe the colour - Khaki doesn't spring to mind immediately. But there is something vintage about it. It's elegant and delicate.... it makes me think of vintage china teacups and lace, and has a very pretty, subtle shimmer running through this. I'd say this would suit many skintones - it doesn't feel too warm or cold.

What do you think?

Khaki Vintage is part of the Mavala Select range of six soft catwalk-inspired colours that was released earlier this year. I have to say the others look equally dreamy - Moon Grey and Rose Dust in particular.

Application was okay - think I just need to get used to this formula. Staying power not fantastic but at this price, I don't care. *EDIT: Staying power is actually pretty damn good - I think I had a bit of a wobble on day 1 but three days later it's still looking pretty good! * I have to say I do appreciate the smaller pots - I don't think i have ever used up a full sized bottle of polish before having to throw it out.

£3.95 for 5ml. Available widely online and in department stores, Boots etc.

11 August 2011

Estée Lauder Pure Colour Nail Lacquer - Tempting Melon

I love the colour of this summery polish - tempting and indeed melony.

The application wasn't that great - had to load polish on the brush and couldn't get it to apply v evenly. However it was worth persevering as it has lasted me about three days so far without chipping - pretty good in my book.

Pictured below with Nails Inc top coat.

I don't think I've seen a prettier peach than this this summer - definitely a warm weather staple (we can but dream!)

Estée Lauder Nail Lacquers are £14 for 9ml.

Essential measures #8 Dr Hauschka Cleansing Cream

A few years ago, I bought a few items from the Dr Hauschka range during a terrible skin period, hoping I think for miracles. I didn't witness any miracles, and whilst I really liked some of the products, such as the Rose day cream, I concluded they weren't quite right for my skin (the latter just too heavy sadly, as I adore the scent and consistency and the dewy look it gives on application).

This summer anyway I decided to give the brand another chance. My skin had been feeling very stressed - tight, congested and irritated - and I felt the need to try something soothing and natural. As my laser clinic had started stocking Dr Hauschka and numerous other lovely natural brands such as Ren, I decided on instinct to purchase the Cleansing Cream (and the Neem Nail Oil - truly amazing, but for another post).

I have to say, this cleanser has notably improved the condition of my skin this summer. It no longer feels stressed; rather it feels smoother, softer and much more supple. Bumps and blemishes on my skin seem to disappear and my skin looks clearer and softer. I ran out of a tube and started using a Vichy cleanser, and was very aware of how much less comfortable and more tight my skin felt, so quickly bought another tube and lo - happy skin once again. This is now cemented in my beauty hall of fame.

It's quite an unusual product - the smell takes some getting used to. I won't attempt to describe it but I've actually grown to rather like it. I love the unique consistency of the cream - it's actually more of a paste than a cream I'd say (kind of like peanut butter, perhaps mixed with a dash of houmous...)

The idea is that you mix a bit with water, then use a "pressing, rolling motion" to work the product into your skin - rather than rub it in like a traditional face scrub. I think this method of applying (though I probably massage it in a bit more forcefully than you're meant to) is partly what is causing the visible improvements to my skin. If I leave it on for too long however it does start to sting a little.

I don't use this product to remove make up, so I tend to use it in the morning only. This is a deep cleansing product but due to the slightly mealy texture I'd feel like I was working my make up, along with the product, into my skin if I didn't remove it first.

The only thing I dislike - although I actually really like how the packaging looks - is that I think the toothpaste-like metal tube results in a bit of product wastage towards the end. I might have to start doing what I do with my Eight-hour cream - cutting it in half to get every last bit of product out before discarding it. Also I seem to get through the 50ml tube quite quickly (probably about 3 or 4 weeks with daily use) - a bigger tube would be brilliant.

Encouraged by the success with the Cleansing Cream I have since bought the Dr Hauschka Toner for normal skin, which you are instructed to spray on after cleansing in the morning and evening (without using a night cream). I'm trialling this at the moment, and have to say I don't think my skin is missing not having a night time cream or serum. Will report on that when I've used it all up, and on the Neem nail oil very soon - I noticed results after using that just a handful of times.

Dr Hauschka Cleansing Cream retails at £14.95 for 50ml and is aimed at all skin types.

Do you have any hero products from Dr Hauschka?

18 June 2011

Ren Guerande Salt Exfoliating Body Balm

I first mentioned this scrub a few months ago on Amina's Bazaar, but was waiting to use up my considerable arsenal of other scrubs before I tried it. It was certainly worth the wait. Whilst perhaps not the most economical scrub I've ever bought, it's one of the most effective.

Although described as a body balm this is essentially a scrub, a thick, pasty, luxurious scrub with a lovely clean, fresh scent (it contains basil, peppermint and rosemary extracts).

I find you do have to use quite a lot of this to cover the whole body, hence my comment about it being less than economical. For example, I think I got about six or seven full body scrubs out of this (I like to do a thorough job!) plus a few touch ups here and there.

That said, the effects are definitely more long lasting than some other scrubs, like my Amina's Essentials listed L'Oreal Exfotonic. The Guerande scrub left my skin feeling equally smooth, but for longer - it's about three times the price of the L'Oreal, but about three times more long lasting. And the Ren is certainly more pleasurable to use.

In summary, a lovely, luxe scrub that gives great results. Would definitely repurchase, though perhaps when there's a special offer.

£22 / 300ml. Available from renskincare.com

9 May 2011

OPI - Bullish on OPI

From the autumn 2009 Collection de Espana. It's taken me a while to do a full mani with Bullish on OPI - I've swatched it onto one nail before while trying to choose a colour (anyone else do that and end up with 10 different coloured fingernails??) but it's never really called to me before so to speak. Today however I was trying to decide on a colour to go with a nutmeg coloured pair of trousers (Topshop's description not mine!) and decided the only way forward was a nice clashing red.

Bullish on OPI is pictured below with Nails Inc Kensington Caviar top coat.

natural daylight

with the nutmeg trouser!

Application was a doddle as with most OPIs and this shade has really grown on me throughout the day - not a complicated or outstandingly original shade.. it's just a nice, warm toned red creme that looks somehow a little retro to me too.Definitely worth checking out if you have warmer skin and like your reds...

11 April 2011

Revlon Superlustrous Lipstick - Kiss Me Coral

I am surprised how much I like this lipstick - I purchased it about six months ago and having just returned from holidays and having a bit of colour to my skin, I thought I'd try it out.

Although it is described as coral, I'd say this definitely veers towards orange!

However it's somehow a flattering shade that I think would suit a variety of warmer skin tones, and it makes a change from the usual pinks, berries and nudes I would normally sport.

Excuse the arty photos but they actually showed the colour the best! In fact they're making me want to go on holiday again, or at least waft around in a floaty kaftan wearing lots of jewellery and generally being fabulous.

I think it would look great with nude skin and a strong brow.

The formula is lovely - creamy and moisturising and stays on for ages. I've only worn this round the house so far and don't normally wear bright lipstick, but I might just have to be brave and go public with it this summer!

Revlon Superlustrous Lipsticks retail at a reasonable £7.49 and can often be found on special offer.  Based on Kiss Me Coral, I'd like to try more in the range - I do also have the cult shade Cherries in the Snow but it is even louder than Kiss Me Coral so I'll have to work up to that one I think. Have you tried any of the Superlustrous lipsticks?

6 February 2011

Eve Lom moisturiser SPF 15

This could (whisper it) be my holy grail moisturiser. It's thick without being heavy, it has a pleasant, non-overpowering fragrance, sinks in beautifully to a matt but glowy finish, makes my make-up look about a million times better and most of all makes my skin look and feel soft and healthy, and perhaps (again, whisper it) even a bit younger! Plus it has an SPF - what is not to love?

I've been using this for a couple of weeks now and couldn't wait any longer to report - will update this review if anything changes but at the moment, my skin and I just love this stuff.

At £40 for 50ml it is by no means cheap, but for me it's worth every penny, and has inspired me to investigate some other items from the Eve Lom range. So far I've only tried the Rescue Mask which I wasn't blown away by despite the rave reviews it seems to get, however I do like the sound of the TLC Radiance cream and the Kiss Mix and have been meaning to try the cleanser as well for some time.

Do you have any Eve Lom recommendations?

5 February 2011

Essential measures #7 Batiste dry shampoo

I know I know nothing revolutionary here but actually this has revolutionised my haircare regime! I have very fine curly hair that tends to get oily if I go more than a day without washing. I also like to straighten and curl the layers that frame my face quite regularly with my GHDs - however due to their proximity with my oily skin these are also these bits tend to get even more oily! Batiste is an absolute godsend for those mornings when I haven't got time, or can't be bothered, to wash my hair. Just a couple of sprays (from a good distance, this stuff comes out like a bullet train!) and my hair is soft and oil free (you'll need to brush it through to avoid the talcum powder look). It's also great for when you want to add a bit of volume - I'm quite into a subtle backcomb at the moment and this provides fantastic root-boosting effect. And all this at the fantastically bargainous price of about £2 for 150ml. I know there are other more expensive dry shampoos on the market but when something this cheap is this effective I just don't even see the point of looking elsewhere. Love.

NB Batiste is currently on offer in Superdrug: 3 cans for £3.49, making it even more unbelievably bargainous!

Sisley Express Flower Gel Mask

Despite receiving Sisley's Radiant Glow Express Mask for Christmas, I greedily purchased the Express Flower mask when it popped up on eBay a few weeks ago, having been wanting to try it for a while.

I've used this mask a few times now, normally applying it at night.  It is kind of a tricky one to review as the effects are actually kind of hard to describe. You apply in a thick layer, leave for 3 to 5 minutes then simply blot away any excess - don't rinse (apparently this is so the plant extracts will continue their 'beneficial effects'). I have to say I love the convenience factor - you can just apply it then go to bed basically, without having to worry about rinsing, toning and moisturising etc.

Sisley describes this mask as 'hydrating, toning and firming' and according to the website it is designed for  dehydrated skin, which is why I think it doesn't work quite so well for me as it has for others - my skin is on the oily side, though I have had a few dry patches this winter. Whilst I do like it, I don't like it quite as much as I do the Radiant Glow express mask (reviewed here) which is probably in my top five products of all time.

The Express Flower mask feels lovely and soothing when you apply it, and certainly makes my skin feel moisturised. My skin the next day definitely looks healthier and more hydrated and a bit more rested (not sure about toned and firmed). However the effects are not quite as pronounced as the Radiant Glow mask, which really does do exactly what its name suggests. For me I would say the Express Flower mask is more of a treatment mask if that makes sense, something I'd use to give my skin a moisture injection rather than to give me a glow for a night out or special event (although the Sisley website does say the mask is ideal before an evening out to make the skin look 'rested'). The effects aren't quite enough to make me want to forego wearing make up, which the Radiant Glow mask frequently does, however I do think my make up looks better after using the Express Flower mask.

I'll certainly use this up, and it will be a nice treat for the rest of the winter when my skin is a bit dehydrated or stressed, but I think my skin is perhaps a tad on the oily side to see the real benefits of this so whether I'd repurchase I'm not sure. If you have skin that's on the drier side however, I think this would be a real treat.

Sisley Express Flower Gel Mask costs £72.50 for 60ml.

24 January 2011

Kiehl's Original Musk perfume oil

I never used to understand those people on Make up Alley who made dramatic statements about how their lives would be ruined should a certain favourite product ever be discontinued - always seemed to be a little over the top. But so help me if Kiehl's Original Musk ever becomes discontinued I may have to lay siege to Kiehl's HQ because I love this so much it has become almost a part of my identity - it is MY scent!

I actually didn't like the smell when I first tried it in Liberty a couple of years ago.. I detected something vaguely potentially headache-inducing in it, the same thing that prevents me from using Hei Poa monoi oil even though I love the idea of it and the pretty bottle! However this only seems to last a few seconds (in fact I don't even notice it now) before the oil 'dries down' to a beautiful powdery musky floral sweet something or other. I wish I knew how to describe scents in more eloquent terms but I can't - all I know is that I love this scent and it seems to work well with my skin.

(I will however copy some of the ingredients from the Kiehl's website for those who are curious):

Our special Musk “recipe” begins with an initial creamy, fresh citrus burst of Bergamot Nectar and Orange Blossom...followed by a soft floral bouquet of Rose, Lily, Ylang-Ylang and Neroli. Finally, Original Musk Eau de Toilette dries down to a warm, sensual Oriental finish of Tonka Bean, White Patchouli and, of course, Musk...the soul of this distinctively modern scent...

Can't say I get anything citrusy - it smells much softer somehow than that but hey - them's the ingredients!

Original Musk is the only scent I've ever worn that multiple people have commented on. Not in an 'ooh, what perfume are you wearing?' way - it's not that obvious. More likely what will happen is that someone in close proximity will start sniffing the air with a slightly puzzled air, and enquire as to what that lovely smell is (cue smug flourish of wrist).

I love how the oil melts into the skin, and the scent lingers. Something about it is just more sensual than spraying some harsh sneeze-inducing perfume on your skin. I wear this year round; it seems as appropriate on sultry summer days as it does on cold winter ones.

I also adore the glass vial, pictured above (although the label has faded away somewhat). Unfortunately Kiehl's has changed the packaging of it's perfume oils to a roller ball format (and they're now called Essence Oils) which I am a bit dischuffed about. Something about upturning the small vial, and how it sits on my dressing table like a secret potion, I love. I haven't run out of my vial yet and when I do I will purchase the roller ball, but I'm even wondering if I can somehow transfer said rollerball contents to my vial - that's how much I love it.

The oils come in three other scents - Grapefruit, Vanilla, and Coriander. If the vanilla one is anything like Kiehl's discontinued vanilla body lotion which I absolutely loved I would certainly love to try that, and I like the sound of the coriander one too. I think the oils used to come in Cucumber too as I purchased a cucumber roller ball off eBay a while ago. However it smelled so unpleasant and artificial I threw it away - maybe a dud or had just gone off or something. Anyway I digress...

Have you tried any of the Kiehl's perfume oils, or are there any other musky oils you'd recommend?

Kiehl's Essence Oils with roller ball applicator retail at £21 for 7ml.

9 January 2011

Sisley Eye Contour mask

Oh Sisley. Just for once I wish you would come out with a product that isn't amazing! I'm trying so hard to curb my beauty spending this year, but alas, having tried a sample of the Eye Contour Mask over Christmas, it is only a matter of time before my bank balance is £70 lighter (and my eye contours are considerably smoother).

My boyfriend received a sample of the Eye Contour Mask when buying me the Radiant Glow Express Mask for Christmas (amazing product - you can read my review of that here). I'd never used an eye mask before, so was intrigued and also a little dubious if I'm honest. I should have known better - this is Sisley, after all.

You apply the mask thickly all around the eye, including the lids and underneath (the 'contour' area if you will). You then leave for ten minutes, and wipe or tissue off without rinsing (I used a cotton wool pad). After that, you apply your normal skincare regimen.

After wiping the mask off, I was a bit bemused. Something was definitely different, but my eye area just seemed to look shinier. Then I smiled, to see if the fine (and less fine) lines under my eyes looked any different. And they'd gone. Not only that, but the whole cheekbone area seemed to have been lifted - the skin there looked tighter and firmer, almost botoxed. I applied my normal skincare afterwards, a touch of undereye concealer afterwards and some eye make up, concerned that it would all look a bit greasy, but I actually think my make up looked better. My eye area looked revitalised.

According to the Sisley website, as well reducing fine lines, puffiness and dark circles the mask also offers protection against free radicals. Personally I'm more than sold on the effects alone. I'm only mildly exaggerating when I say this stuff is like a demi face lift in a tube, and the effects lasted a good couple of days as well. Now if Sisley could only invent something like this for the chin and neck I'd be a very happy girl....

Sisley Eye Contour Mask can currently be bought from Harrods for £64.95 but it seems to retail from between £65 - £95. The tube contains 30ml.