Saturday, April 28, 2012

Oriflame Visit: Willy Wonka's Makeup Factory!

A couple of weeks ago we were lucky enough to be invited to tour Orilflame's Research and Development facility in Wicklow (or R&D if you know the lingo). Brilliant - but what exactly is Oriflame?  We could both remember that our Mams had some Oriflame products in the nineties, but that was about it. Founded in Sweden in 1967 by two brothers, over 1000 Oriflame makeup, hair, body and skincare products are now sold all over the world and the company has 3.6 million independent sales consultants world wide. They are relatively unknown in Ireland, despite the fact that their Global R&D is based here. In fact they have a long history in Ireland, opening a manufacturing plant in Sandyford in 1979, this closed in 2000 but that same year they opened the research and development facility in Bray. Here, they have more than 100 scientists working in different areas from formulation to claims support.

Oriflame R&D is a wonderful cross between Willy Wonka's makeup factory and Derek Zoolander's School for People Who Don't Look Good.  If you have a problem, they can fix it with amazing and innovative products.  It has to be said they are a rather gorgeous bunch of people working out there. You can tell the staff love to work there and that says a lot for any brand, plus they are excited about the products and when people in white coats (scientist types) are excited about using a product - you know you're onto a good thing. Oriflame products are based on natural ingredients and are never tested on animals. 

It was fascinating to get an insight into how products are developed; the whole process from the inception of the idea for a product, through to formulation, testing, and finally the product being released onto the market.  As well as touring the labs, doing a little bit of brainstorming of our own in their innovation suite, and getting the opportunity to meet some of Oriflame's great staff, we also visited Ori-Derm. Ori-Derm is Oriflame's in house testing facility, where experiments are carried out to test the efficacy of products and verify the claims that the brand makes for their products (if they say a mascara gives 16 times more volume, it really does!).  

This little video gives a great overview of exactly what goes on in Oriflame R&D.

I suppose the closest thing that you could compare Oriflame to would be Avon, in that the products are sold through catalogues and independent consultants. 

Recent Oriflame catalogue. Oriflame have some high profile people endorsing their products, such as tennis player Caroline Wozniacki (perhaps better known to us as Rory McIlroy's girlfriend!)

It was great to have our eyes opened to this brand - there are some really great products that have our names written all over them. Go Sleeveless Anti-Gravity Upper Arm Gel? Oh yes please! All of the Oriflame staff (including Emma Kearney, Principal Scientist in Ori-Derm) were excited about an upcoming product in their Bioclinic cosmeceutical range (this range powerfully targets specific skin concerns) which is formulated for more mature acne prone skin - it targets spots and even helps to clear up old acne scars, but without drying the skin. Can't wait to try this! 

If you would like to find out more about Oriflame, visit their website, or to order a catalogue or products, you can contact the lovely Carol Fitzpatrick at, @CarolsOriflame or through her web page. If you are interested in becoming an Oriflame Consultant, you can also contact Carol

Ori-Derm are also constantly looking for volunteers to test out Oriflame's new products before they hit the market. If you are between the age of 18-65, live in or have easy access to Bray and are in good health, Oriflame would love to hear from you. We can definitely recommend Oriflame as a lovely place to visit (truthfully, we wanted to move in). Interested in making a contribution to future beauty products? See for the details! 

We're currently trying out some products so keep an eye out for reviews. Have you tried any Oriflame products? Let us know in the comments! 

x Mags & Síle 
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Friday, April 27, 2012

Well Hello Beautiful WOW

By now you must have heard about Benefit's new liquid foundation.  Benefit have everything a girl could want but until recently they only had a stick foundation/concealer and for a brand that have some brilliant concealers it was about time they gave us ladies something to make us look human in the mornings.

Benefit planned and developed this for two years (I am thinking sexy scientists) and the result is probably one of the longest and funniest foundation names ever...Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow.  The foundation is anti aging and feeds (nom nom hungry skin) the skin with with vitamins C and E as well has having SPF 25 PA+++ - which means that even if you walk on the sun your skin is protected (it doesn't actually mean you can walk on the sun - it does however mean you're getting the best sun protection technology).

The foundation comes in 9 shades - personally I find it so hard to get a matching foundation, I think they could expand the shade range.  I was matched with "Cheers to me Champagne" - on my hand this looks quite yellow but blends in beautifully to my face.  Benefit recommend using the Porefessional primer before you use the foundation - to be honest you could skip this step but I happen to think the Porefessional leaves your skin silky smooth (if you haven't tried it, next time you're at a counter try some on your hand and you will oooo and ahhhh at how smooth your skin becomes).

Benefit recommend using a synthetic foundation brush to apply the foundation and I agree a brush gives an even, smooth finish. The foundation is quite sheer initially so if you're using your fingers or a sponge you're just wiping the foundation off your face.

WOW Foundation                The Porefessional

I found it interesting that Benefit had stepped away from their usually quirky and vintage packaging and presented us with quite a sleek looking foundation bottle.  When I spoke to Sharon from Benefit at the launch (read about the launch here) she was glad I mentioned it as she thinks the new packaging introduces the brand to a new wider (possibly more mature) demographic.  What is funny about this is my Mam is a huge Benefit fan and she has swiped some of my products and has bought some of her own (I obviously have an immature Mammy).    When I tried the foundation on my Mam (a blind test, not showing her the brand) she loved the feel on her skin and that it felt like she had some coverage on but it was light (exactly what she likes - but then she has amazing skin).

If you love heavy coverage this is not the foundation for you, however if you're like me and like sheer to medium this is perfect.  The foundation feels light on your skin, it covers imperfections without masking the skin.  If you having a particularly bad skin day you might need some extra concealer.  The foundation gives the skin a luminous sheen which I love (again if you're not a fan of sheen you will need to powder). 

As you can see from above and below the coverage (left side has foundation - right side is a hot mess)
You can see quite clearly here that my chin is having massive breakouts and that the foundation covers the redness without a cakey effect (I notice that the foundation is not blended in very well - sorry about that).
What I really love about this foundation is .... you can see the person, not the foundation.  I would reccomend checking out this foundation if you like sheer glowing skin. 

Benefit's new foundation is available at Benefit counters now.

*PR sample Pin It

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bronze Goddess mmmmm smells so good

I suppose it's because I am a confused Gemini but I love winter Christmas scents like apple and Cinnamon but I also love summer scents that are fresh and smell like a beach holiday and coconut (maybe I just like smelling of food).  Anyway back in 2007 Tom Ford collaborated with Estée Lauder and created a summer collection which included the fragrance Azurée Soleil Eau Fraiche (bit of a mouthful).  I had never really bought anything from Estée Lauder but when I caught the scent from the counter I WAS OBSESSED.  It smelled like a tropical holiday with holiday lotion and coconut. Since my birthday is in June I asked himself to get me a bottle (he actually bought me a bottle of white linen as well - WHITE LINEN... REALLY? - which I promptly returned in favour of another bottle of Azurée Soleil). 

Gratuitous Tom Ford Picture (with his dog- Source)

The original
Azuree Soleil Eau Fraiche Skinscent Estée Lauder for women

The following year Estée Lauder kept the fragrance but renamed it Bronze Goddess - that summer I was in New York and I picked up 4 bottles (see how obsessed  I am with the perfume - plus it was less expensive over there) for myself and others.

If you love coconut and fresh smells you should go and have a sniff, it is a very light scent (not in the least overpowering) that you would have to reapply during the day. It is the kind of scent that people asked what you were wearing and soon people were obsessed with it (including Sile). I just love to smell myself when I'm wearing it (anybody else do that) and since we don't really get much sun here its great to smell like you're on holidays - it just brightens your mood.  Every year for a limited time (when it's gone, it's gone) Bronze Goddess is available and for the last couple of years they have released both the original and a special edition (I always go for the original).  This year the limited scent is Bronze Goddess Capri.
 Bronze Goddess Eau Fraiche

For summer us Emerald Eyeliner girls will be smelling of Original Bronze Goddess.  It is a recognisable scent that truly smells like summer (one of the ladies I work with asks am I wearing Golden Princess). 

The fragrance (as well as the makeup collection) is exclusively available from House of Fraser now (here) where it costs €59 (it only costs £40 so there is a Euro price discrepancy) and from May will be available from everywhere Estée Lauder is sold, but get it fast before its gone.  (You will probably bump into one of us spraying ourselves while saying oooo it smells so good).
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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Brilliant Balms

The weather has gotten *slightly* better lately, (actually scratch that, just heard a flood warning on the way in to work this morning), that is, it's not quite so Baltic out, but no one gave my skin the memo. It seems to be going through a prolonged 'Winter phase' and that means tight, dry, dull, flaky skin. It's nearly May for feck's sake. Anyhoo, the two products above have been helping me to cope.

Avene Cold Cream Lip Cream
This stuff is brillliant - one of the best lip balms I've ever used. It's really, really thick so a little goes a long way. It's so thick in fact that if you have it out with you in cold weather, it can be difficult to squeeze out of the tube. It feels lovely on the lips (not a bit sticky), gets rid of flakes and prevents them if used daily. Love it! €10.17 from wherever Avene is sold. 

Weleda Skin Food
This stuff has been around since 1926 and was the first skincare product developed by Weleda. It's a favourite of loads of celebs and models including Helena Christensen, one of my long-time girl crushes. Again, this is a really thick balm and it smells amazing - its ingredients include sweet orange and lavender. I've been using this as a night cream for the past few weeks and the results have been brilliant. Normally I have to practically manually manipulate my face in the mornings to get the creases out but these days I'm waking up with smoother and plumper looking skin. It's also been working a treat on the sand paper skin on my knees which no other moisturiser has made a difference to. If you have dry skin, definitely give this a whirl. Skin Food is €6.25 for 30ml and €11.25 for 75ml from Nourish Health and Beauty Stores, and selected health stores and pharmacies. 

*PR samples

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Viviscal Hair Repair - Secret Weapon of Supermodels

When we received an email a few weeks ago about Viviscal I immediately dismissed it - I mean Viviscal, that's for bald people?  Right?  A few days later I was reading Allure magazine (God I love that magazine) and there in print was a supermodel talking about her secret weapon, Viviscal .  I mean I think it's just fair that everybody gets swishy healthy supermodel hair.

Viviscal use all natural ingredients (Amino Mar C, a marine complex as well as grape seed extract, selenium, folic acid and zinc) which work from the roots to repair and replenish dry and lacklustre hair and of course a bonus of this nourishment is the scalp is healthy and therefore the hair is healthy.  The hair is so healthy it grows like wildfire.  The idea of Viviscal is repairing from within after all there is no point using expensive hair products if the hair is not getting the nutrients that it needs.

According to Allure magazine if your hair normally grows half a inch a month Viviscal will help it grow an inch - impressive claims but when the product is loved (and the secret weapon) by supermodels and  Hollywood royalty like Reese Witherspoon you know you're onto a good thing.  

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Friday, April 20, 2012

More Minaj Nails

I thought you might like to see the other half of the Nicki Minaj Minis in action.  The set contains 4 mini nail polishes (If you want to see the other duo check here).   For these nails I decided to use Fly (a beautiful teal) and use Metallic 4 Life (a multi size and dimensional gray glitter) as an accent nail.

I love the teal but I am not crazy on the glitter (although I never say no to an accent nail).
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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pop of Colour - Stila Long Wear Lip Colour- Caprice

Hands up who has beauty purchasing OCD? I can never seem to purchase just one product at a time ESPECIALLY when I am purchasing online- I can't do it, I hate the idea of one lone product winging its way to me and I think I am saving money on postage (even if the postage is free - figure that one out).  During a recent ASOS promotion I bought the Stila In the Garden Palette (read about it here) and when I spied this fabulous colour I added it to my basket.  When you think of Stila you tend to think of glowing skin and looking naturally radiant and pretty, you don't tend to think of bold in your face lip colours.  Ladies and Gentlemen let me shatter these illusions by introducing you to Stila Long Wear Lip Colour in Caprice.  Let's not forget that Stila is an artists' brand with a great deal of work with fashion so of course they have vibrant pops of colour in their arsenal.
Caprice is one of those lipstick/lipgloss/longwearing hybrids not unlike Chanel's Rouge Allure Laque or YSL Rouge Pur Couture Vernis a Levres, at a fraction of their cost.  Stila's version is definitely more a liquid lipstick/stain than the glossiness of YSL.  Honestly I hadn't noticed that it was a long wear product when I was buying - what can I say I was sold on the colour.

Onto the product- I have Sahara dry lips - they are easily cracked and long wear formulas are not the best on me. This product is an interesting mix.  Although it's not overtly moisturising like many of the latest lip products it's not at all drying.  My lips didn't feel uncomfortable at all and it's one of those colours that will have people asking "what are you wearing on your lips?".

To fully test the product I thought I would try a few things and see how long lasting it was:
Breakfast (porridge and a big juicy apple - Lidl do the best Pink Ladies).  Passed with flying colours
Peck on the cheek - Passed with flying colours
Blowing Raspberries on my nephew - Passed -  there was a slight mark from the wet bit of my lips but raspberry approved.
Big Dirty Snog - Fail- but hey it was fun seeing himself wear pink lipstick

Be afraid, be very afraid.....This is the testing face - coming at ye.

I am woeful for reapplying lip products throughout the day- although I always have a lip product in my pocket.  I loved that I didn't have to reapply and yet I still had colour on my lips.  I Love Caprice lip colour and I am interested in trying out some of the other more neutral colours in the range.  You can pick up Caprice from Stila's website (here) or from ASOS (here) where it costs £14.00.
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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Stila Palette Winner!

Thanks a million to everyone who entered our Stila In the Light Palette Giveaway. The winner was chosen using, and without further ado, that winner is.....

Jenny Quigley!

Congrats Jenny, we'll be in touch :-) 
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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Help Benefit to set a new World Record!

Ever wanted to be part of a creating a new Guinness World Record? Well here's your chance!

This Saturday, 21st April, Benefit will attempt to set a new Guinness World Record for "the most eyebrow arch services performed in a 24 hour period around the world." Benefit Brow Bars around the World will be participating, and the Irish contribution will be happening in Arnotts, Dublin.

If you would like to get involved, you can get your brows done on the day for €14 and as well as participating in a World Record attempt, and getting gorge brows, you'll also receive a free mini Bad Gal Lash Mascara.

Call Arnotts on 01 8050400 to make your appointment.
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La Roche-Posay Solution Micellaire

If I am being honest my favourite way of removing my makeup in the evening is in front of the TV.  I want stress free easy removal but better cleansing than wipes (don't want much do I?).  My skin loves Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish but if you're living in my reality - I have a few half finished cleansers on my shelf to get through before I attempt to repurchase Cleanse and Polish.  My big problem with these cleansers is they don't remove eye makeup - without removing half of my eyeball.

To combat this I tend to use a separate eye makeup remover - but again, I am fussy.  I hate the oily removers and the two phase cleansers that leave you with the sensation of what cataracts must feel like (I am watching TV, I don't want to be blinded).

A while ago I picked up La Roche-Posay Solution Micellaire which is one of those fancy clever micellaire waters that grabs dirt and whisks it off your skin.  If you look at Pixiwoo and many other YouTube gurus you have heard them talk about  Bioderma Micellaire Solution - this is the same but a different brand (many of the French pharmacy brands have micellaire solutions in their range).

If we get beyond the fact that it's "Magic Water" not  "Magic Beans" cause this water really is magic.  I pour a little on a cotton pad and wipe my eyes, and without a sting or any sensation most of my eye makeup is gone.  If I have tight lined like crazy or used a lot of makeup I will need to go over each eye again.

La Roche-Posay Solution Micellaire costs about €14.00 from most chemists and Boots.  Would I repurchase it?  Yes I would, but I would probably wait for a special offer of some kind.  If I was rich I would repurchase in a moment (but if I was rich I would probably pay somebody to remove my makeup).
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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I had a dream I was In the Garden with Stila

The wonderful thing about meeting the Wizards of Stila (besides them securing places on my Fantasy Dinner table, move over Steven Fry - yes they are that charming and interesting) is they showed me some wonderful new products that will be coming our way soon.  Like many beauty junkies I like to stalk browse the website (here).  Oh the pretty things that you see, some of them call to me like a siren's song.  One night I had a dream about the "In the Garden" palette.  What I found funny about the vivid makeup dream was that I was dreaming about the In the Garden palette... It's gorgeous but Stila also have released the In the moment Palette which is a purple based palette, something that I normally love because purple is very flattering on my blue/green/can't make up their mind eyes.  It would be silly to fight my subconscious and when ASOS had a St. Patrick's Day discount it would also be unpatriotic.
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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Illamasqua - Human Fundamentalism

A couple of weeks ago I went to Belfast where I bought a massive amount of beauty goodies (read about it here), since we no longer have an Illamasqua stand in Dublin I always pay a visit to the stand when I am in Belfast.  I have spoken before about how much I like Illamasqua (read about it here). They really dance to the beat of their own drum and the imagery of their collections is just breathtaking.  The Human Fundamentalism collection was just released and I picked up two items from the collection.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Friends with Benefit

While Mags is a Stila Freak, I'm definitely a Benefit Girl. So many of their products are ever-presents in my daily make-up bag and loads of their products are my all time favourite of their type; Coralista is my fave blusher ever, Posie Tint is the best and prettiest cheek stain, their Creaseless Cream eyeshadows do exactly what they say on the tin, High Beam is the most natural looking highlighter ever (and was my favourite highlighter, 'til last week that is - more on that anon) and I reckon They're Real is as close to the Holy Grail as I'm going to get in a mascara. Yes, Benefit is expensive, but I actually use the products, as in use them all up, which unfortunately can't be said for a lot of other products I buy.

We were delighted to be invited along to a preview of Benefit's new and first liquid foundation Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow at an event in Brown Thomas last Friday week. The foundation sounds amazing - oil free, SPF25, brightens and hydrates, and has anti-ageing ingredients - what's not to like there? We're currently trying it out so watch out for a review soon.

Lisa Potter-Dixon, Head Make up and Trend Artist for Benefit, demonstrating the new foundation on Benefit's Gemma
Karen doing some Kung Fu with the goodie bags
Andreea and Mags
The Benefit team were all lovely and great fun. Sharon from Benefit had the most amazing glowy cheeks - seriously, they were glowing at me from across the room. We had to ask her what she was wearing - it was Benefit, but of course. She was wearing Watt's Up Highlighter with Bella Bamba on top.  So I hot footed it up to the Benefit counter and got myself some Watt's Up and it is a seriously gorgeous combo that I've been wearing almost every day since. 

Winning Combo!
Mags with Sharon and her gorgeous cheeks. Pic via the Benefit Cosmetics Ireland Facebook page.

Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow is available now where ever Benefit is sold, and if you pick one up this month you get a free deluxe skincare sample as well as the The Porefessional sample that comes with every bottle of Hello Flawless. Check out Benefit's new Irish Facebook page for latest product launches and special offers. 
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Monday, April 2, 2012

Zoya Lotus

I am having a bit of Uhh Oh moment, I recently picked up a Zoya polish, and I like it, I really really like it.  The consistency of the polish is spot on and the colour choice is phenomenal.  Great for my nails - bad for my purse.  Zoya is a natural range of nail polishes which are Formaldahyde, Tolune and Dibutal Phthalate free (you may have noticed some brands advertise that they are "3 Free" Zoya is "4 Free").

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