20 February 2012

Essie Topless and Barefoot nail polish

I must apologise for the awful application in these pictures. Unfortunately these creamy opaques are probably the least forgiving on the nail if not applied perfectly, and I found the consistency of this one hard to work with (gloopy, thick, reminds me of some of the older Essie's I own which almost put me off this brand for good..). So not one of my better manicures, but as I'd done it I thought I'd share as I don't think I'll be in a hurry to return to this shade.

Topless and Barefoot looks very pretty in the bottle - a creamy nude with a hint of pink shimmer. I'm not sure how I like it on my nails - perhaps with a better application (and some nice summery weather!) I'd view it a bit more favourably. In some lights, it looks like a good nude match for my skin. Outdoors however, I can see more of the pink and a hint of mink that seems to clash with my yellow skin.

I think the only time I'd wear this would be in the summer, as a pedicure shade, applied by a professional, with a tanned foot. And any nail polish that has to come with four caveats is in my opinion more trouble than it's worth.

19 February 2012

Essential measures #9 John Lewis Glass Nail File

I've always hated the scratchiness of emery boards so glass files are a bit of a godsend, but since discovering this jumbo sized glass file from John Lewis it is all I will use on my nails. I've tried the All for Eve and Leighton Denny smaller glass files, which are fine, but I find the longer length and thicker width of this file (its 15 x 2cm) makes it easier to manoeuvre and therefore easier to achieve the desired nail shape.

I'm not sure that there's any evidence to back this up, but I do feel that glass files are kinder to my nails than emery boards - the filing process feels a lot smoother and I think my nails split less. Plus they are super effective - it takes me no time to get the length I want.

The files last a long time too - I've had mine for a good few months and use roughly once a week and its still going strong - in fact I'm not sure that glass nail files actually wear down at all, so although a bit pricey I think they are a worthwhile investment (just make sure you don't step on yours like I did my first one - the one bad thing about the John Lewis file is that it comes in a flimsy case that does nothing other than protect the file from scratches).

Do you prefer a glass file or a traditional emery board?

The glass file is available from John Lewis* and costs £12.25.

*For non-UK readers, John Lewis is a large British department store.

18 February 2012

Nars Luster blush

Nars Luster is an interesting one - is it a blush? Is it a highlighter? On me its somewhere between the two. The colour is quite intense on - more-so than it looks in the pan. It is very pretty though and quite unique.

Nars describes Luster as a sheer golden apricot. I kind of agree with this but I don't actually find it that sheer compared to Nars matt blushers. I definitely find Nars shimmer blushers less easy to blend than their matt counterparts too.

I'm wearing Luster with Nars Barbarella lipstick in these shots.

I think I just need to figure out the best way to wear this blusher and would like to try it in the summer, over a tinted moisturiser and a bronzer. I do like it and am glad its in my collection but I don't find myself reaching for it very often at the moment - I'm sure that will change come spring / summer.

Do you have Luster? How do you wear it?

16 February 2012

Becca purchases

I almost fell over in excitement when I saw Becca were offering a 20% discount on all products (thanks Vex and the City for the heads up!). So I took the opportunity to snap up a few products that I've had my eye on for a while.

First up, the legendary Shimmering Skin Perfector in Pearl. When I visited the Becca store in Kensington last year the lovely lady there used this on me (along with Duende Bronzer and a peachy lip and cheek cream) and I fell in love with the amazing glow it delivered - however I wasn't able to buy it as it was out of stock. Since then, literally every time I've been by the Becca counter in Fenwick it's also been unavailable as it has on the usual websites. At last it is mine!

Next up, a Beach Tint in shade Fig. This is pretty identical to the cream cheek colour in Turkish Rose, which I do already own, but the idea of having that lovely shade in a longer lasting beach tint was too tempting.

I did purchase a cream cheek colour too, in the shade Hyacinth, which gets rave reviews. It does look absolutely stunning on first swatch, transforming to a pretty coral pink. I don't have many colours like this in my blush collection and am looking forward to trying this when the weather gets a bit warmer.

I bought a sheer lip colour in the shade Estella, which I'd been curious about for a while. I own one of Becca's lip colours in Gisella which is a caramel nude, and from the description of Estella I was expecting it to be much pinker. It actually swatches quite beige (very similar to Gisella in fact) and I don't see any pink in it so I'm kind of wishing I'd plumped for the new pink 'Valentina' instead.

Finally, a couple of wild cards. I hadn't tried any Becca brushes previously but have been over the last couple of years upgrading my brush collection and as I have quite a few cream blushers I decided to try Becca's cream blush brush, which also gets excellent reviews. I have tried this once with Turkish rose, and am really pleased with the results (also, how pretty are the bristles??). I also bought a concealer brush, yet to try.

So that's my not-so-mini Becca haul. I shall hopefully post some more detailed reviews of these products when I've put them to use.

If you're thinking of making use of the discount be quick - it ends midnight tonight (BBE20 - www.beccacosmetics.com/uk). Have you bought anything from Becca recently? 

Nars Gina blush

I'm head over heels with this blush. Over the past year I've become increasingly obsessed with peaches as I've realised they just suit my skintone more, and Gina has instantly been elevated to top five status.

I adore the texture of Nars matt blushes - they are so soft and silky on and never leave me feeling too made up as they sit so naturally on the skin. They somehow manage to be highly pigmented yet quite sheer and are easily buildable.

I'd describe Gina as a medium peach (Nars describes it as 'tangerine' which sounds a little more alarming!).

Here it is applied in natural light. I've applied it quite heavily to ensure I could get an decent representation of the colour (the perils of taking blog photos on grey winter mornings!).

And here I've photographed it with flash. The shots were actually take at the same time though they look wildly different!

Just a beautiful shade and works with a variety of looks. I am not wearing anything on my lips in these pictures but I like this colour with Nars Dolce Vita and Barbarella lipsticks. I'm really looking forward to getting lots of wear out of Gina this spring and summer.

I was especially happy when I discovered Gina as its the closest Nars blush in shade to the old Amour, which was a lovely, soft, light peach. The new Amour is a louder reddish peach and is a little bright for my skin tone - I love that Gina is quite subdued and doesn't scream blusher.

What peach blushers would you recommend?

14 February 2012

Nars Galion nail polish

I don't own many, in fact any greys (just greiges!), but for some reason Galion from the Nars autumn 2011 collection really spoke to me.

I love the simplicity of this colour. It's a really rich, dark grey. In some lights, it seems to have a hint of petrol blue in it. Sometimes it looks like black. But it somehow manages to be dark and striking without being too gothic or wintry. I wore it at Christmas and it felt surprisingly festive.

I think this colour complements just about any make up look except perhaps pastels - especially peaches, strong pinks and reds,  and would be fab with a bright lip.

I have to say thought that the first time I applied this I loved the formula but the second time (when I took these pictures) the application was dreadful! The polish was watery, patchy and streaky. Not sure if its because I moved my nail polish collection to inside my wardrobe where it is perhaps a bit warm - I'll give it the benefit of the doubt, but it was quite disappointing.

Galion and Rebel Yell are the only nail colours I own from Nars - none of the others particularly appeal. What do you think of Nars polishes?

£13.50 for 15ml.