Monday, March 25, 2013

Bourjois Fan-Tastic Volume Mascara...aka my new favourite mascara

Fan-Tastic Volume* is the newest mascara release from Bourjois and it's a good one. It has become my go-to daily mascara and may even have overtaken Benefit's They're Real as my current favourite (shock horror!). 

Encased in bright purple packaging, Fan-Tastic Volume has a fan shaped plastic bristle wand which I found really easy to use. It gets right down to the roots and in to the corners. I'll let the photos speak for themselves, the first photo (sorry for the blurriness, it's probably for the best) is with no mascara and the second is with one coat of Fan-Tastic Volume and no other make up. 

Other things I like about this mascara: 
  • It doesn't take lots of layers and lots of work to get a good result. One quick layer and you're good to go. This is great when I have approximately two minutes to do my make up in the mornings. 
  • It gives a nice lengthening, fanned out effect, with minimal clumps. 
  • It's really black and glossy. 
  • The formula isn't too wet when it's new. 
  • It stays put all day with no flaking or smudging. 

One coat of Fan-Tastic Volume with the rest of my makeup.

Fan-Tastic Volume is €13.99 from Bourjois stockists. Have you tried this? Are you a fan (pun intended) of Bourjois mascaras?
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Friday, March 22, 2013

Stila Color Balm Lipstick Valentina - Spring 2013

So we know I am a massive Stila fan - in fact I might just be Stila's number one fan (OK I am beginning to sound like Kathy Bates in Misery) so I was beyond delighted to get the opportunity to hear about Stila's Spring Collection from their Pro Makeup Artist Janie Howarth - think floating on my seat and trying hard not to be a know it all about the brand.  Stila are offering up the spring gods a fantastic new range of lipsticks and in my opinion it's filling the (tiny) gap that the brand has - it's just what I was looking for and the good news is they are going to be a permanent part of the collection.

The lipsticks are called Color Balm Lipsticks - but don't let the name fool you, these are only balm in the terms of moisturisation, they are lipsticks, amazing pigmented lipsticks.  When we hear of products called balms we have to think of Revlon Lip Butters - Stila's Color Balm leave lip butters in the dust, with one swipe you have beautiful clear pigment.  The lipsticks have nourishing properties (hence the balm name) they have peppermint oil to sooth - this also leaves a crisp peppermint flavour when you first apply the lipstick (this gently fades as you wear the lipstick),  sunflower polyglygercide adds slight volume and definition to lips.  There are 18 shades in the Color Balm range - from the everyday shade to the in your face vibrant colours.  I found with the bright shades they can leave a slight stain to your lips the more often you apply the product, and a little tip - the Color Balms leave the lips with a glossy finish, if you don't like that smoosh you lips together and it gets rid of a bit of the sheen.  So its not just a lipstick, it's a nourishing balm and a slightly plumping pigmented lipstick which is long lasting and really glossy.

When I was listening to Janie I was slightly mesmerised by her lips because she was wearing the Color Balm in Valentina*, a bright and beautiful orange red -it was stunning. I was beyond excited to get to take it home to try it out.  The packaging is a metal tube with Stila written in the corresponding shade of the lipstick to make the packaging a little more innovative (it is Stila after all and innovation is their middle name). There is a handy mirror on top of the lipstick to help you apply on the go - deadly or what?

I have been loving Color Balm and Valentia has hardly been off my lips, isn't it the perfect bright shade for spring? I can imagine myself wanting to collect the shades, in fact I might have picked up 2 more shades already (on two separate visits, although I am not sure if that makes me sound any more sane).

Color Balm lipsticks cost €18.00 (which is pretty good considering how expensive chemist brands have gone) and are available from Stila's counter in Harvey Nicks, Cara Pharmacy in Sligo and (which gives free shipping to Ireland and the UK).

Stila have also launched a skincare range which was developed to be used under makeup - you know the way with some skincare you need to wait about 15 minutes before applying your makeup? Stila's compact skincare range can be used straight before makeup but has all the benefits you would expect from a premium skincare range. Stila's skincare range has been thoroughly tested at New York and London Fashion week.  I'll talk more about the skincare range as I try it - but don't you love find new ways to buy Stila?
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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Nuxe Nuxellence Jeunesse - Holy Grail

This post has taken me ages to write because whenever I think of Nuxellence I start to sing, not just any old type of song, LOVE SONGS, but not any old love songs.  Massive Power Ballads from the 80ies think big hair, massive displays of emotions, power grips.  So you can probably tell a product which brings out the power ballad in me is a big hit.

When Nuxe were creating Nuxellence - they got all scientific on us, and discovered that skin cells can be recharged daily - now I could go into the science of the whole thing (I love the science behind skincare but I know it can be a little overwhelming)  basically without giving you a biology lesson Nuxe are using Passion Flower, Poppy and Anchusa to repair the skins Mitochondrial DNA - it sounds impressive and it is - it can repair Mitrocondrial DNA up to 43%.  Of course there are more ingredients in the cream all of which have been specifically picked and developed including a natural hyaluronic acid which smooths wrinkles and fine lines.

My skin has been loving Nuxellence the product itself is a amazing cream/gel hybrid which allows the product to melt into the skin.  I have oily skin which can be dehydrated - its the Goldilocks of skin I need a moisturiser which works, some leave my skin thirsty and others are too heavy. Nuxellence is just right.  The cream has been developed so that all ages can use the moisturiser, its not for a specific age group and the texture of the cream means the active ingredients are absorbed even on oily skin. 

I love the smell of the product it makes me breath in the scent lift my shoulders and sigh, a beautifully soft and feminine mix of Linseed Flower, Lily of the Valley, Heliotrope mandarin and Nectarine notes make this almost edible.  When I first smelt the product (cause come on hands up we all smell products straight away don't we?)  I thought it smelt lovely and I was delighted to see that the scent is not overwhelming when its on your skin - you cant smell your face, if you know what I mean.

I have notices that the lines around my eyes have minimised (maybe I just haven't had that much to laugh about lately??).  My skin feels smoother and brighter I really notice the difference when I am using it.  Since I have started the blog and since i have started using creams this has been my favourite moisturiser which says a lot about how amazing it is.  Not only do I adore it more importantly my skin loves it

The cream is housed in a beautiful sleek container which you turn to reveal the pump - and one pump of this will cover your face and neck - its magic like that.  Nuxellence is a pleasure to use between the consistency and the light fragrance I look forward to using it - of course the fact that it has diminished the fine lines around my eyes and makes my skin look fresh and radiant is fantastic.

Warning side effects of this product are:

Wrinkles and Fine lines are diminished
Skin will appear to pulp out 
completion will appear more even

Nuxellence Jeunesse is my Holy Grail moisturiser its pretty fantastic - I am kinda panicking about when I run out of it.  Nuxellence costs €49.00 and for once its a cream that does exactly what it says on the packaging.

Disclaimer: PR Sample
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Monday, March 18, 2013

Vichy Gift with Purchase

I got a bit excited when I saw these bags and made immediate plans to hot foot it down to my local pharmacy in the morning to get my paws on one. Aren't they gorgeous? I'll have to cool my jets until April but one of them shall definitely be mine. 

Purchase any two products, one to be a moisturiser, from the Vichy range and receive a complimentary luxury gift pouch (designed by renowned French artist Sophie Griotto) and four travel size favourites, valued at €19.35. The offer is running throughout April in selected pharmacies nationwide (I'll update the post when I have the list of pharmacies). 

Each pouch contains:
• Purete Thermale 3in1 One Step Cleanser 30ml:
• Thermal Spa Water 50ml:
• Aera Teint Cream foundation sample (Shade 35: Sand)

If you like the look of this and need inspiration on which two products to choose, check out our Vichy reviews.  
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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Summer Scents from Marc Jacobs (and Cupcake Wars)

A couple of weeks ago we were lucky enough to attend an event launching new Spring/Summer products from Coty fragrances and NYC cosmetics. The event was held in Cook's Academy in Dublin and we got to get our bake on afterwards. It basically turned into Cupcake Wars. More on that later. To the serious matter in hand first (not that cupcakes aren't serious) - new perfume. 

We have two of the three new Spring/Summer fragrances from Marc Jacobs to tell you about. Oh, Lola! Sunsheer Edition* incorporates delicate floral notes and a creamy vanilla drydown but is lifted by fruity top notes of pear and raspberry. If you like the original Oh, Lola! you'll like this too - it doesn't stray too far... just a fruitier, more summery version.  50ml edt €59.77 / £47.00

Daisy Sunshine* is a vibrant interpretation of the original Daisy, featuring an infusion of juicy red fruits, spring blossoms and tender lychee, with a drydown of blushing apricot skin and radiant musky woods. I was never a fan of the original Daisy perfume - it was way too floral and, well, daisy-ish for me, but I LOVE this. 50ml edt €57.23 / £45.00

Both are available nationwide now. Have you found your summer perfume yet? Probably not as we are still in the depths of fecking winter. We recommend giving these two a whirl. Just look how beautiful the bottles are too!

Now. Cupcakes. We were given instruction in how to make cupcakes, two types of icing, and decorations, then we were split into teams and let loose in the kitchen. The task at hand was to create a batch of cupcakes and decorate them, taking inspiration from the new Spring/Summer fragrance and cosmetic launches we had just seen. Each team had to bring forth their best cupcake at the end, Great British Bake Off style, and there were prizes for those deemed the winners. Nothing like a bit of competition! Cupcake Wars!! Mags and I were paired together and made some pretty amazing cakes if we do say so ourselves...we even came first in the competition - I know. No one was more surprised than us. 

Extreme baking from Andreea of Art Donatella. She bakes so fast, she's a blur 
Our naked white chocolate chip and rasberry cakes. Droooool....
Mags getting her bake on. That's the Stila Periwinkle eyeliner she's wearing right there. 

Learning how to make cute decorations
The judges deliberate! Paul and Mary eat your hearts out. 
Our winning cupcake. Ta Dah! It wasn't really deliberate at the time but definitely inspired
by the Oh Lola! Sunsheer bottle! 
It was a good night. Oh yeah. 

Apologies for my iphone pics which look like they were taken under water. Apart from learning how to make proper cupcakes, we were also reminded of the simple pleasure that is eating raw cake batter and icing from the bowl. Yum.

Stay tuned for more gorgeous new summery products news! 
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Monday, March 11, 2013

Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Tan Review

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you may know that I'm an avid fake tanner. I'm not a tanorexic by any stretch of the imagination but I do like to have a light glow at all times - it just makes me feel better.  Mags doesn't understand my devotion to it, but she's naturally blessed with a skin tone that I need a week in Marbella to achieve. My natural skin colour is milk bottle white with a blue tinge. Nice. 

Given that we are apparently a nation of fake tanners, it's great to see Irish brands entering the market (we've already reviewed Karora here) and Cocoa Brown by Marissa Carter is the newest kid on the block. Marissa is the owner of Blackrock salon Carter Beauty, and so knows a thing or two about tanning. (Mags visited Carter Beauty for a spray tan and wrote about her experience here). Marissa has taken that expertise and developed Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Tan*.  

The main point of difference with this tan is that it develops in one hour. Oh, and it smells good too (Tahitian Gardinia). No more sleeping in smelly tan! One hour gives a light tan, two hours a medium tan, and three hours gives the darkest tan. Of course, you can still leave it on overnight if you want to, which is what I usually do. It gives a really natural colour that lasts about four days on me before it starts to fade.

Things I love about this tan: 
  • It looks really natural - just a really nice golden bronze without a trace of orange.
  • The packaging is lovely.
  • It's easy to apply - it's a mousse formula which is not too wet and is easy to spread and blend, meaning no streaks. 
  • It dries very quickly with no stickiness.
  • It 'adheres' (for the want of a better word) to my legs better than any fake tan I've ever used . For some reason, dry skin perhaps, fake tans usually don't stick well to my legs but this one does. 
  • I don't get any of that wet biscuit fake tan smell on application (I do get a faint whiff of it in the mornings but at that stage I'm washing it off anyway).
  • Once it does start to fade, it's easy to scrub the remnants off. I hate fake tans that won't feck off when you want them to!
  • The price - €8.00 for 150ml. Great value and there are a good few full body applications in the can. 

So, it's safe to say, I'm a fan. Apparently 1 Hour Tan is the first launch in a range of Cocoa Brown products. Can't wait to see what Marissa has up her sleeve next! 
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Friday, March 8, 2013

Stila - Periwinkle Blue The Shade of the Summer

Ah Stila how you spoil me. In fact, it's like you reached into my brain and made a product that I had been dreaming about - we are so in sync like that.  As you may know bright graphic liners are all the rage for Spring/Summer, we loved Lancome's offering (read about it here), but Stila have gone ahead and made quite possibly the prettiest coloured liner I have ever seen.  

The shade is Periwinkle Blue (last time I heard the shade Periwinkle Blue, Brad Pitt was looking for a mobile home for his mother in the movie Snatch) and it's the prettiest colour I have ever seen (I quite fancy a mobile home in Periwinkle blue now myself too).  I love to look at the makeup trends that are shown during fashion weeks in fact that is where I first saw this beautiful liner in action during Alice and Olivia's Spring 2013 show - the wonder of Sarah Lucero's Instragram is you can see products when they are first in action and when they are in development. Before you say anything, I am a proud Stila Stalker.

Stila have gone one step further than just creating a liner in what I think is The Shade of Summer, they have given us options, that's right, there is the Smudge Stick Waterproof Liner and also the Stay all day Waterproof Liner, so it's really up to you which type of liner you prefer.  Both liners give a matte Periwinkle Blue shade which is simply stunning.

The Liquid Liner gives a more precise line - perfect if you want to line your eyes with black liner and double line with periwinkle blue - something I am going to master if it kills me.  The Smudge Stick is brilliant for quick application and I am a longtime fan of the formula (I have tighten lined with this and it adds a subtle brightness to the eye).  I find the Smudge Stick offers more colour payoff but that may be because more pressure can be used when applying the Smudge Stick - even so I personally can't work out which one I prefer.

 The top heart is the liquid liner and the bottom is the smudge stick. As you can see both leave the exact same shade so the preference is really how you like to apply your liner.

Periwinkle blue is such a stunning shade that gently brightens the face, and really brightens and widens my eyes.  I am obsessed with it and have had so many compliments when I wear it.  It creates such a pretty look.  The colour is so stunning, it's like a cure for SAD disorder in a piece of makeup - how can you not smile when you look at it?

Stila's liners are part of their Spring collection which you can pick up from ASOS (where I got mine) (here remember Stila give free shipping to Ireland and the UK) or from the Harvey Nick's counter in Dundrum where they cost €17.50.   Stila also have a fabulous new counter opening this week in Sligo the rather brilliant Cara Pharmacy are opening a beautiful new Stila counter this week and rumour has it the counter is even more amazing than the counter in Harvey Nicks.  How brilliant is it Stila is coming to Sligo? A little bird tells me there is another amazing shade coming out in the Summer. God Stila you really are spoiling us - and I love it.
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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Mane 'n Tail

So I am going to start this post about Mane 'n Tail by avoiding anything obvious. I will not mention Father Ted or Christy Moore's Ride On (I don't know why that springs to mind) and because I know the moment you read the name of the product (Mane 'n Tail) those images and songs will be dancing around your brain anyway.  Instead I will tell you my simple dream ... well it would be simple if I won the lottery... and it's this.. I want to get my hair done by Chris McMillan creator of Jennifer Aniston's hair (well apart from Jennifer herself).  That's right I am a huge Jennifer Aniston hair fan, I even had a "Rachel" although it only really looked like a "Rachel" the day I got it cut the rest of the time it looked a like a layered helmet (in a totally hot way of course).  I love her hair colour and have spent years trying to recreate it with my hairdresser. It's the perfect beachy hair and that's what I should be like if it wasn't for the fact that I live in Ireland where you would need a rain hat to survive on the beach.

For many years Jennifer Aniston has been a fan of the brand Mane 'n Tail (as well as many other great haired celebrities such as Kim Kardashian) so I obviously have wanted to try it.  As the name suggests the product was initially created to be used on horses but they discovered that it can be used with great effect on celebrities (after all its best to test on celebrities before it's tested on real humans).  Mane 'n Tail has finally made it to Ireland and I was delighted to try it out.

Mane 'n Tail have a range of shampoos and conditioners (Original, Colour Protect, Herbal Grow, Anti Dandruff and Deep Moisturising) that are now available at your local chemist at an exceptional price of €6.96 for a massive 335ml. I tried out the Deep Moisturising Shampoo* which treats dry and damaged hair (it can also be used on hair extensions so I expect it's what Kim Kardashian uses).  I want to start by saying that I have a lot of hair and I mean a lot, my hairdresser has been seen weeping quietly when she is doing my highlights.  My hair is also highlighted so can be a bit dry, usually after I wash my hair it resembles hair that has been removed from a hairbrush, all gathered and knotty.  When I first used the shampoo it was like I had used another brand's shampoo and conditioner - my hair felt better already.  When I followed on with the conditioner my hair was soft and sleek and as if it had already been combed out.  For me this is magical because it cuts down on the time I need to comb out my hair.

The shampoo and conditioner are both a light blue colour. I love that the bottles have not been jazzed up , they are the same simple bottles with a horse on the front - some people will hate it - but I love that they have stayed true, celebrity following or not.   The products can also be used on animals (of course) which is great because if you have bought dog shampoo you will know it's quite expensive for a small bottle (I only wish my dog was still with us he would have felt so soft and fluffy with the help of Mane 'n Tail - except he did like to roll in the dirt after a wash).
Part of the Mane 'n Tail Range is the Detangler* and this has become a Holy Grail hair product for me, I like to liberally spray the product on my hair and then wrap it back in the towel for a couple of minutes (I use this time to apply my body lotion). I can then brush through my hair so easily.  As I have mentioned when I use Mane 'n Tail Shampoo and Conditioner* they automatically make it easier to comb through my hair so I tested out the detangler a number of ways and with different products and it works a dream.  Even if I just use shampoo (no conditioner) the detangler works brilliantly.  This has replaced Orifluido oil in my hair routine - which I had been using for about 2 years.

If you're like me and have a number of shampoos or conditioners on the go (I like to stock up when there are special offers) and don't need a shampoo or conditioner at the moment I highly recommend giving the detangler a go. Don't forget after you apply to give it a moment to do its thing. It slides through my hair even if I don't condition.  

I am really impressed by the range and if you see somebody floating around Dublin with suspiciously looking Jennifer Aniston hair it's probably me.

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Monday, March 4, 2013

February Favourites

I know that February is a short month but last month went ridiculously fast - has somebody invented time travel without telling me.  Zoom and it was over.

I spent most of the month feeling crappy and looking like a mess and one of the things that was like CPR on my face was Smashbox new Halo blush In Bloom*. It's a beautiful pink in a dinky pot where you shave off fresh product each time you use it.  The blush adds a luminosity to your skin as well as colour and let me tell you I needed that during February.  The range of Halo Blushes will be available on Smashbox counters in March.  During February this was less a luxury and more a necessity.

I have been using Lancome's new breakthrough foundation Teint Visionnaire* which is a three in one product - it really deserves its own post (which is coming soon), the foundation is not just any foundation, it's also anti aging and in the lid there is a corrector.  It has a lovely consistency which lasts all day on my oily skin.

You know I LOVE Stila but they have never really made a great mascara until now their major MAJOR lash mascara is fantastic. I wrote a post about it (here) but the pictures don't really do the mascara justice.  The mascara leaves you with wide eyes, long separated lashes with added volume.  Lash perfection.

I was so excited when I got this Dior Lipstick in the shade Marilyn for Christmas (I didn't post about it because it was part of the Christmas collection and was no longer available). The shade is a perfect red/pink.  You can wear the shade light or intense and even thought I have been washed out in February it's a beautiful shade which is very flattering.

Ah the Kardashians - who would think they would create such great makeup - I love how well thought out the colours in this palette are and to be honest the quality of this bargain shocked me. (Read about the palette* here).  You can pick up Khroma Beauty from Cloud 10 Beauty a wonderful Irish site with a great range of beauty brands.  Did I mention the palette costs €16.95 - amazing value no matter how you feel about the Kardashians.

February might have been bad health wise but at least I have been smelling fantastic with the help of Roger & Gallet Gingembre  which was a gift from my pal Karen (Lovely Girly Bits). It's a amazing scent which manages to be refreshing and gingery all at the same time.  I adore it.

Finally a special award has to go to NYC's new fantastic  Expert Last Lipsticks* (read about them here). Not only are they pigmented, feel fantastic and smell lovely they are an amazing price, €2.49 - at that price you could pick up every colour from the 14 shade range.  Gold star NYC.

I have a disappointment of the month. It's not exactly beauty related but allow me to rant none the less - I can't wear costume jewellery (even though I love it) because I break out in a rash so bad it makes my skin leap off my body so himself got me a Tiffany Onyx Bead bracelet last Christmas (so I have it a year) like the one pictured below but black.  I was sitting watching Hollyoaks, enjoying the last of Brendan Brady (he is great by the way and I don't know if I'll be watching when he is gone) when the flipping thing fell off my arm.  The string it was on broke, what alarmed me more than anything was it was on a piece of string.  I brought it back to Tiffany's in Brown Thomas (where it was purchased) and they said that it costs €30 to restring (literal string here people) and that it should be done every two to three years.  I asked is it supposed to just fall off your arm after a year (when I was sitting minding my own business wondering how much food gets caught in that monster tash).  The girl said that it would be complementary IF I COULD SHOW PROOF OF PURCHASE (even though I said it should be on loyalty card).  I understand when you're purchasing something from a brand such as Tiffany's you're paying the majority of your money towards the brand name but I was under the illusion that you were also paying for quality.  €30.00, money for old rope (or string to be more specific).  I seriously doubt I will ever buy anything from Tiffany again.

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Stila Major MAJOR Lash Mascara

You may know that myself and Stila have an epic love story going on... its has spanned years crossed continents and even lasted through a vast and devastating separation - but if you love something set it free and if it comes back to you.... buy ALL the makeup.  So although we have big love and mutual respect (I might be imagining the love and respect on their part but don't ruin the dream for me) we understand that we are not perfect.  Stila knows that although I love to eat cake, I cant really bake it (not at all not a bit, melting chocolate is difficult for me) and I realise that although Stila creates some of the most fantastic makeup products in the cutest containers they haven't make a mascara that rocks my boat.  This isn't something that is going to make us fall out our love affair is far to epic for that after all nobody is perfect.

During the sales I picked up a great bargain from Stila, the Best of Stila box (read the post here to see what else is in the set).  While rooting through the masses of makeup in the kit I saw there was a mascara, now although you may think I look at Stila products through rose tinted glasses of love - you would be wrong, see I could admit that they never had a mascara that I liked.  The mascara in the Best of Stila was the major MAJOR lash mascara.. I am thinking that it should be pronounced in a Victoria Beckham "This is Major" kinda way, well Sarah Lucero is Victoria Beckhams makeup artist and Vicky B is a huge fan of the brand.  I was going to pass the mascara along to a friend but its Stila I have to give it a try.

The first thing I noticed was the wand was massive, really massive - this terrifies me because I have tiny eyes and often when the wand is massive its doesn't coat my tiny lashes. 
For reference I had been using the YSL Shocking Mascara which I loved, Shocking is a mascara which thickens out the lashes and can leave they a little lumpy but I liked how it covered my lashes and added volume and lenght.  When I started to use Major MAJOR I was a little surprised, the mascara covered my lashes all the way down to my fair coloured roots (I didn't think a big wand would be able for this) the wand tapers down which makes it much easier for an even distribution of product.  The mascara opens up the lashes creating doll like lashes with added length and volume with no clumping or messing around, Just swipe the mascara wand on the lashes and you have length and volume which lasts all day.
On the top I have no mascara and on the bottom Major MAJOR - to be honest this picture doesn't really do the mascara justice - but can you see how it opens up my eye, the mascara leaves me looking awake, wide eyed with separated doll like lashes.  I am so impressed with Major MAJOR that YSL Shocking has been tossed over my shoulder (its still a good mascara but can clump the lashes) and myself and Stila pretty much have a perfect relationship (they have to ignore my flaws). 

Stila are really hitting it out of the park at the moment and from the images of the Spring Collection (check it out here) I will be burning up my credit card in the next few weeks - Seriously the Colour Balm Lipsticks look AMAZING.

Stila Major MAJOR Lash Mascara costs £15.00 (click here to check it out) and is available at Stila Harvey Nicks Dublin and also at which free shipping to Ireland and UK Pin It
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