22 September 2013

Liberty Ultimate Beauty Gift 2013 - What I bought and what's in the bag

I’ve indulged in a couple of beauty sprees at Liberty and Space NK this month, tempted by the beauty GWPs both stores had (and in the case of Liberty – still has) on offer with a  minimum spend of £150.

They’re both pretty impressive, but the Liberty GWP pips Space NK to the post in terms of the selection and size of products – in my opinion at least.

Here’s what’s in the bag (I didn’t get the colour bag I wanted, but I can live with that - and it's a fantastic size washbag).

I'm not going to list all of the items individually, but highlights for me include:

  • Mini Diptyque candle in a scent I love - Baies
  • A mini pot of Eve Lom cleanser - not only is this my favourite cleanser in the world but the pot is a perfect size for travelling, and I'll easily be able to decant cleanser from one of the larger pots into it when it runs out
  • Laura Mercier Foundation Primer - never tried this but very keen to and this is a very generous sample size
  • Nars Orgasm illuminator - ditto
  • Omorovicza Queen of Hungary Mist - have wanted to try this for ages and again it's a very generous size
  • ESPA body oil
  • Plus goodies from Kiehl's, Dermalogica, Ren, Trish McEvoy, Aesop, Aromatherapy Associates, Phillip Kingsley, Cowshed, Hourglass, Chantecaille and more. 

I'm really impressed with the range of samples and their sizes. It's a definite improvement on last year's Beauty Gift, and while the minimum spend has increased from £125 to £150, I think the contents more than justify this.

So what did I buy? I had a few things in mind, but all that changed when I dropped by the Trish McEvoy counter and received a mini-makeover using the two products pictured below - Instant Solutions Beauty Balm and the Instant Eye Lift.

I've never tried any Trish McEvoy products before, but the natural colours of the blushes and eyeshadows have always caught my eye when passing by the counters (I'm a sucker for delicate pinks, peaches, and soft taupes and browns). I needed a new base and concealer, so I asked the sales staff what they'd recommend, and ended up having a lovely mini makeover.

First of all the exfoliating Beta Hydroxy Pads were used on my face, which I really liked, before an eye serum and face serum, then the BB cream, eye lift and a beautiful gel blush with a powder on top. I was impressed with the results of all products, and purchased the BB cream and the eye lift, with the others all added to my wishlist for a later date. They are costly products - up there with Sisley, By Terry and Chantecaille - but I'm hoping they'll prove to be worthwhile investments - fuller review to follow soon.

I also booked a facial with Eve Lom, which brought me to (and beyond) the required £150 spend. In my opinion, money very well spent. The Beauty Gift provides a great opportunity for you to treat yourself to products you've had your eye on, replenish stocks of tried and tested favourites, and also to buy some early Christmas presents in for beauty-loving friends (the products in the GWP make great stocking fillers too). Judging by the popularity of the Liberty and Space NK beauty GWPs (and I think Harvey Nic's do one too) it surely won't be long before some of the other big departments stores start doing similar... here's hoping anyway!

The Liberty GWP is sold out online but still available in store - though I'm not sure for how long, so hurry on down there if you're interested! I'll post about the Space NK GWP and what I purchased soon.

4 September 2013

Rodin Olio Lusso Lip balm

I first bought this lip balm on impulse a year or so ago, when stocking up on items to qualify for the Liberty beauty gwp.

At £23 for a mere 5g of product, I suspected I was paying as much for the sleek packaging as I was for the product itself. But intrigued by claims that the product is a favourite of various supermodels - and by the lack of reviews on the web - I decided to give it a go.

I didn't know anything about Rodin so did a bit of googling - the brand was started by former model Linda Rodin, who, unable to find products suitable for her dry skin, starting creating her own. There were just five products in the range when I purchased this - face, body and hair oils, a body cream, and the lip balm - they now seem to have added perfumes, candles and a travel kit. Each product contains natural, plant-based ingredients (the lip balm includes jasmine, orange and also beeswax and shea butter) - as well as essential oils - marketed as 'Olio lusso' (luxury oil).

The lip balm comes in a pleasingly heavy, clear lucite case and is certainly very pretty to look at. The balm itself is a delicate rose pink shade. The texture is soft and ever so slightly greasy without being sticky, though its kind of hard to get a decent amount onto your finger and then on to the lips.

and on the lips!

The "famous floral scent" I'd read about obviously needs a far more delicate sense of smell than mine to discern - my balm doesn't seem to have any scent at all! It is marketed as a lip treatment rather than a colour - I think it does prettify my lips a little, giving them a delicate pink sheen, but that is about it.

It is meant to be smoothing and moisturising - I don't find it to be either of those things particularly, especially in the winter when my lips seem to constantly cry out for something more heavyweight such as Eight Hour Cream. I actually use this more in the summer when my lips are less dry, just to make them look a bit more polished.

Overall I'm really not sure how I feel about this product, though I did repurchase it recently so it does seem to have wheedled its way into my affections. This has been my first foray into luxury lip balms and I do feel there's a hint of the Emperor's New Clothes about it - it is so subtle it's almost invisible, yet somehow I'm happy to spend money on it. I'll use up my second pot, but I doubt I'll repurchase it as I have a brand new pot of By Terry's Baume de Rose to try next - will be interested to see how the two compare.

Has anyone else tried this balm or any other Rodin products? Despite my mixed feelings on the lip balm, the other products in the range do look rather lovely, especially the facial oil, so there may be more Rodin on the blog in future.

Rodin Lip balm is available from Liberty and Cult Beauty (cheaper at Cult Beauty!).