Be a Style Queen

The release of the Boots’ Christmas catalogue marks the official run up to Christmas. Each week during this run up to Christmas, Boots offers up one of its “star” gifts for half price. This weeks’ is pretty good and guaranteed to cause a stampede….

Frontcover Style Queen Reduced from £35 to £17

Frontcover Style Queen is a bumper beauty collection for eyes, lips and cheeks. It includes all the products, tools and techniques you’ll need to rock a new look and is great for party season.

The Frontcover Style Queen Colour Set includes:

  • 6 lip glosses
  • 7 dome baked powder eyeshadows
  • 6 pressed powder eyeshadows
  • 2 fine-line baked powder cheek domes
  • Double ended mascara/sealer
  • 2 iridescent pigments
  • Shadowline
  • 6 make-up brushes
  • Mini lash curler
  • Double pencil sharpener
  • A mirror in the lid

All that for just £17! I can personally vouch for their eyeshadows – I picked up a bumper collection during last Christmas’ star gist. See the review here.

Offer ends Thursday 20 October 2011, whilst stocks last, which won’t be long!

Love it Share it

I don’t normally blog about my fashion pieces but this bag’s so cute, and a bargain, I wanted to share it.

I went to a charity ball in Glasgow last week and had just one week, and not much budget to find an outfit. I opted for a safe LBD (that’s LONG black dress) but really wanted a statement box bag. I spotted some gorgeous ones in Reiss, Coast and Dune but cost between £80-150. Luckily I stumbled across this gem in NEW LOOK.

It retails for £15.99 and I had a 20% discount voucher! It looks much more expensive than it was and is very well put together. Love the diamante clasp and optional gold chain strap.

It wasn’t too small like many box clutches, I managed to squeeze in my camera, lipstick and hairbrush. Here’s how it looked in action…

My make up doesn’t show up so well in the picture, but I’m wearing the Kate for Rimmel Lipstick in 08.

Been Shopping!

I popped to the shops yesterday to make some last minute essential holiday purchases and ended up picking up a few unexpexted extras along the way -  I just didn’t bank on seeing so many bargains!

No7 Soft and Soothed Cleanser £3 Boots

It’s No7 voucher time again and this is my all time favourite cleanser. It’s great for dry skin and leaves a lovely moisturised glow. Normally £8, just £3 with the voucher.

Revlon Nail Enamel in Facets of Fuchsia £4.49 Boots

Words or pictures can do this nail polish justice, it’s seriously HOT! Part of Revlon’s Autumn/Winter 11 collection, it’s a grey polish jam packeked with Berrylicious specs of glitter. Currently on promotion at Boots, save £2. Here’s a quick swatch on my finger.

Rimmel 3 Looks Volume Mascara and 60 Second Nail Polish £1 each Poundland

Poundland can be great for picking up branded cosmetics for, well £1. It can be hit and miss but pretty rewarding when you discover some gems, like this Rimmel 3 Looks Volume Mascara in Black and 60 Second Nail Polish in Desert Beauty.

GOSH Professional Eye Brush £5.99 Superdrug

I’ve been on the look out for a slanted, precision eye shadow brush with firm bristles and this fits the bill nicely. I didn’t want to spend too much and thanks to GOSH, I didn’t have to. Made from synthetic bristles – it’s great for shadow and liner.

Tail Comb 99p Superdrug and Travel Bottles £1 Primark

I have my tangle teezer for battling the holiday hair tatters, but this tailcomb I need for backcombing. And last buy by no means least, these handly little travel bottles so I can decant some shampoo and conditioner – they even come with little lables.

Holiday Beauty Essentials

Whether you’re going abroad or just kicking back in your garden, we all love a bit of sun! But with the sun also comes frizz, burns and melting make up. Here are my top tips and beauty products to help you channel your inner beach babe.

Skincare

 Suncream (Obviously!)

Suncream is sooo important – if you want to tan you’ve got to do it carefully and gradually – the lobster look looks good on no one when you’re older, who wants to look like Donatella Versace?

If you’re going abroad go armed with a range of factors. I normally start on 30, then drop to 15 where I can (gone are the days of, oh I’ll just use a factor 6 oil). I use a separate, non-greasy high factor on my face.

Boots’ Soltan family collection is really good value offering 3 factors and an aftersun for £12.99. I love a high factor sun lotion that is non-greasy, absorbs quickly and doesn’t block pores like Piz Buin In Sun Lotion SPF 30, available from Cheapsmells

Lipbalm, preferably with SPF

So many people forget to protect their lips, but if you want to rock that colour popping lipstick at night you need to protect against chapped, burnt lips – SIMPLE!

Moisturiser

After a days sunbathing you need a great moisturiser to lock that tan in! I’ve never know if it’s better to use after sun or a regular body moisturiser, but I’ve tried both and got the same results. I’ve always been a big fan of Palmer’s Cocoa Butter and Soap & Glory’s Righteous Butter – unfortunately so are FLIES! In Egypt last year I stuck to Soltan aftersun with insect repellent, which was still very moisturising. AVOID aftersuns that market themselves as a tan prolonger. If it contains self tanning ingredient, I find it doesn’t mix well with the natural tan and leads to premature pealing.

And I’d never go on holiday without Elizabeth Arden’s Eight hour cream – for burns, dry skin and chapped lips. Keep it close during the flight - it’s the perfect antidote to the moisture zapping, dehydrating aeroplanes. 

Make Up

I love holiday make up. You can take all your current routines and rules and throw them out the window cos if you can’t experiment in a foreign country where no one knows you, when can you! Even if you’re not feeling so daring, the heat and humidity forces you to change it up anyway.

I do think holiday make up should be kept to a minimum, not least because those pesky airlines get stingier on luggage allowance every year, but who wants to waste their time applying the wall paint (only for it to slide off during that first cocktail) and with your bronzed holiday glow you shouldn’t need as much, right??? I wouldn’t bother with it during the day, but if you have to make sure it’s waterproof and opt for cream products over powder.

Cream Blush – my number one holiday hero!

A cream blush is great for adding a pop of colour on the cheeks without clogging the pores. In the heat they last longer and look fresher. I love Mac Blushcreme in LadyBlush (read review) and Stila’s Convertible colours – both can be used on the lips too.  Tip – keep them in the fridge so avoid theit textured becoming too liquefied.

A Multiple Stick

Multi taskers are really all you need for beach glamour.  I love Topshop’s Cheeks in Prism, an all-in-one shimmer stick, which is super-easy to apply and looks lush on any skin tone. It can be used on checks, lips and eyes or apply in a ‘C’ shape around the temples to lift the face and complement a tan.

HOT nail varnish and lipstick

Holidays are the perfect opportunity to sport that bright lipstick you’ve been wanting to try but were too scared to. Try a bright fushia or coral – perfect compliment for a tan. I love Mac’s Girl About Town and Cost Chic.

The same goes for the nails, step out your pale pink comfort zone and reach for something eye popping or sparkly! I might even unlease the Ciate Mohita (aka shrek green) that I received in my Glossybox.

Waterproof mascara

If you can go without, do! If not, whether there’s water involved or not, better make it waterproof. The heat and humidity can be just as damaging – panda eyes is never a good look, especially on a hot summers day… or night.

Hair

A salty/touselled/ texturising type spray

You’re on holiday, frizz and waves are inevitable so save time and effort blowdrying, straightening and trying to combat the kink and ride those beach waves. Some type of saltly/touselled/texturising spray will help you look all beachy and fabulous.

I like Umberto Giannini’s grunge glamour tousled salt spray or make your own DIY spray with actual sea water!

Tangle Teezer

I don’t know how I coped without this for so long, home or away. Great for teasing out those sea salty tangles without breaking hair.

And don’t forget your toothbrush!

Diary of a first time False Eyelash wearer

I said I never would, but I finally succumb to the false eye lash trend. I realise I’m seriously late to the party…  a party I never thought I’d be going to!  The thing is, I always thought I had quite good lashes. They’re long, could be thicker, but with mascara usually look pretty good. BUT now that everyone’s running around with giant Jessica Rabbit esq falsies, suddenly mine are looking a little deficient. The tipping point came a few weeks ago at a wedding when I realised that, other than the vicar, I was the only female without va va voom lashes!

False lashes have improved a lot in recent years, they don’t really look that false anymore, unless you apply them Katie Price style. Friends had warned me off the strip lashes and recommended individual ones; they take a little longer to apply but tend to look more natural.

I was stunned how many eye lash options there was out there – long, short, black, brown, sparkly, CURLY… it was like a sweet shop! I settled on Eyelure’s Individual Lashes. I wasn’t looking for a semi-permanent option, but I figured, if I’m gonna do it, I might as well get a few weeks out of them. This pack has a selection of long, medium and short lashes. You can get all one size but for a first timer I decided to experiment with all 3.

Back home, a few hours before a night out, I started the application process. As well as the eyelashes, the pack contains a veil of glue, some removal lotion and the all important instructions. You’ll also need some tin foil and tweezers. In short, the instructions tell you to;

  1. Place a dollop of glue on the foil
  2. Use tweezers to remove a cluster of lashes
  3. Dip the “bulb” end in the glue
  4. Starting with the left eye, hold the fakie on to the root of your lashes, as close to the lash line (without touching it) and hold for a couple of seconds until attached.
  5. Repeat, from the outside in, until you’ve finished the eye, then move to the next one.

I found it a tricky to start with, but I am a beginner. Applying to the right eye was actually easier for me, being right handed. I actually wish I’d started with that one; I might have been a bit more confident by the time I got to the left. The instructions advise applying 7-14 eye lashes per eye, I went for around 9 per eye – you’ll see from the pics I could have added more, but I didn’t want to overdo it!  I put small ones in the inner eye, one larger to the very outer eye and medium in between. It was fiddly, one of those things that hopefully gets better with practice, but after I struggled through the left, I flew through the right.

A couple of tips, don’t apply too much glue to the foil, it dries quickly, and if you can, use old, less sharp tweezers. They get covered in glue and my Tweezerman’s are so sharp they snagged a few lashes. It took around 30 minutes to apply both eyes, with practice I reckon I could get it down to 15.

The results…

One eye (excuse the lack of make up and eye brow grooming – I’m growing them out, more about that later)

Both Eyes

 

I have to admit to being quite surprised by the results. They looked more natural than I expected – very feathery and quite long, BUT I wanted volume NOT length. I left them for a few hours before having a shower.  The instructions tell you to wash your face gently with cold water. I half expected to see dozens of spiders legs in the shower afterwards, but they appear to have survived the wash… that was UNTIL I dried my face. I lost a few lashes to the towel. Great, 4 weeks, more like 4 hours!

I re-applied the ones I lost and got ready as normal. I found it quite tricky to apply eye liner, I couldn’t get close enough to the lash line – partly because of the clumps of dried glue and partly because I was frightened that I’d drag them off. Mascara was pretty tricky too. I didn’t apply as much as normal, but found I really didn’t need to.

The results WITH mascara… pretty impactive!

I had spent most of the day faffing around with them, but was finally pleased with the results.

They were surprising comfortable to wear – I wasn’t aware of them at all… that was, of course, until I came home and washed my face. I really didn’t think the lashes could stand up to a post night out scrub, so I gently washed around them.

Day 4

By now I’ve lost a few and not replaced them. You can see some gaps but they look ok. I’m feeling a bit frustrated because I can’t properly clean and cleanse my eyes, but I want to leave them alone and see how long they’ll last.

Day 5

Lost a couple more! The glue is starting to show and a few have slipped down the lash shaft – still hanging on, but looking a bit messy. My frustration has got the better of me. I need them out!!!! I wash my face and use them removal lotion to get rid of the last stragglers. CAUTION, the lotion STINGS!

Finally they’re off – it’s such a relief to be able to clean my eyes properly and touch them without worrying I’ll pull out a few clumps. So, was it worth it? The first night, with mascara, the lashes looked fab! But afterwards they were too difficult to maintain and certainly don’t last as long as advertised. I’m not put off, I think I’d try them again, perhaps for a holiday or weekend away. Other than that, I think I’ll stay au naturale.

REVIEW: MAC 130 Duo Fibre Brush

I popped into Mac last week to buy a new brush and check out the Surf Baby collection. I’m sad to report I was pretty disappointed with Mac’s latest offerings – the packaging looks cheap and the colours are quite dark for a summer collection, but I cushions the blow with a few essentials.

Starting with Mac 130 Duo Fibre Brush. This is my new BBF (Best Brush Forever)! I’m a big fan of duo fibre brushes and I’m very attached to the 187. It’s great for foundation and cream products and highlighters, BUT I find it a little too big for apply cream blusher to my cheeks. The surface area of the brush head is quite large, almost as big as the Mac blush pots, making it difficult to contour or brush on small circles onto the cheeks. It can also look a little heavy handed.

130 compared to 187

The 130 Duo Fibre brush has a flat head and a mixture of both natural and synthetic bristles. For me, the 130 and cream blush are a match made in heaven. The surface area is much smaller, enabling you to be much more directional – I can dab a little on the apple of the cheeks or use small circular movements along the cheek bone. It also fits into the compact much more comfortably.  The brush itself is very dense and doesn’t streak; I’d compare it to 109 contour brush, which is my favourite for powder blush. It would be great as a foundation brush, but will take longer to cover the full face.

130 compared to 109

£28

Pop back soon to read my review of Mac Studio Sculpt Foundation and Blushcreme in Lilicent.

Say GOODBYE to panda eyes with Revlon Makeup Eraser Pen

Here’s a product you won’t want to live without and it’s got me screaming How didn’t I know about this?

Have you ever applied your make up to perfection, then during that final coating of mascara you sneeze or knock yourself and end up with lash imprint all over your foundation? Then armed with cotton buds and baby wipes in your attempt to fix the solution you end up rubbing off  half your foundation and smudging your eye make up in the process?

If that sounds familiar you’ll be ecstatic to know that Revlon have come up with a magic make up tool… The Makeup Eraser Pen.

It claims to magically remove mistakes and smudges. Simply dab the makeup remover pen on the mistake and it will remove the smudge without destroying the rest of your make up. Works with mascara, eye liner and lipstick and is oil free.

Now I’m not normally a sucker for gadgets and gimmicks, but for £2.50 (from Cosmetic Diva and Amazon) I’d say it’s worth a shot. If it does works it’ll be my magic weapon to pop in my purse for  touch ups on the go.

Let me know if you’ve tried it.

Urban Decay 15th Anniversary 24/7 Glide-on Eye Pencils Set

To celebrate their 15th anniversary, Urban Decay have just released this mouth-watering set of 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils.

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils are one of their best selling and most coverted products. Famed for their soft, creamy, yet longlasting texture and plethora of vibrant, on trend shades.

The range of shades includes lush tropical hues, deep metallics, and unusually vibrant neutrals. Favorites like Zero, Bourbon and Electric sit side-by-side with SIX brand-new shades like Asphyxia, Stray Dog and the pi¡ce de r sistance: Perversion a blacker-than-Zero black. Each pencil is stamped with UD15 . The whole collection (and a sharpener!) comes packaged in a silver foil box.

Individually these pencils would set you back over £160, so at £60, £4 per eyeliner, I’d says it’s pretty damn worth it! Available now at Debenhams, form an ordely queue ladies!

Ten Under a Tenner – Best Budget Beauty Buys

Proving that you don’t need a celebrity bank balance to look like one, I’ve tried and tested some of the best budget beauty buys and they’re all under a tenner!

Barry M Nail Paint, £2.99 each

Great quality, great price and available in a rainbow of colours it’s no wonder Barry M nail varnished have just won In Style’s Best Beauty Buy’s 2011 “best inexpensive nail varnishe” category. Available from Boots and Superdrug stores.

L’Oreal True Match Touche Magique £7.19

The minute I stopped comparing every under eye concealer to the wonder that is the YSL  touche eclat, I discovered lots of great alternatives. Cheaper versions are never going to be the same, they’re usually thicker, more pigmented, but that aint necessarily a bad thing! L’Oreal’s Touche Magique is great for dark bags and also packs enough punch for the odd blemish, and at £7.19 you can bag 3 for the price of 1 touche eclat.

Topshop Kohl Eye Pencils £4

Deep, intense colour in a gliding and soft pencil to give easy and precise application. Velvety finish and deep colour with just one stroke of this soft kohl pencil. Avilable in fantastic shades including Dragon Fly and Petrol.

No7 Limited Edition Spring Collection Lipstick £10

New to the No7 range for Spring/Summer 11. These soft moisturising lipsticks available in two shades – Brigitte a pale and pouty pink shade and Grace, a warm, peachy pale coral. You had me at the packaging. Catch them quick in Boots stores now!

Perfection Colour Intense Lip Lacquer M&S £7.50

Super shiny, highly pigmented gloss that glides on and stays put. Available in vivid shades: pink fizz, pink magenta, vamp, red nude, scarlet, orange fizz, wild plum, claret, pink parfait and jewel. Available online and in store.

Girls Aloud Party Lashes by Eylure £5.10

Since hitting the market in 2009, these falsies have gone down a storm. Five styles available, each designed by your favourite member of girls aloud. Featuring an easy application design, with a glue adhesive and a contact lens friendly design. I highly recommend Nadine’s bambi esque lashes! Available from good chemists and department stores.

Urban Decay Big FATTY Mascara Colour Collection Minis £9

It’s big, it’s fat, it should be illegal. Big Fatty Mascara creates the fullest, fattest lashes imaginable. Infused with hemp oil to moisturize & keep lashes soft, this thickening mascara takes lashes to a new realm. The creamy formula thickens, lengthens & glosses lashes. Step away from bog standard black and try out Purple Haze or Electric Blue…Just one try and you’ll be hooked. Available at Asos.com.

Models Own Powder Eyeshadows £5

Over 60, yes 60 colurs available in stylish matt, sexy shimmer and glam glitter for every look and mood. The colours are intense, rich and vibrant and you don’t need to use much to create fab looks and effects. Right now on Models Own website, buy 3 for £12. Also available at Boots and Superdrug stores.

Carmex Cherry Lip Balm £2.50

Available since 1937, this culy beauty buy has sold over 1 billion jars Worldwide, now available in Cherry flavour – yum yum! Perfect for soft, kissable lips. Never be caught without yours, I have on in my bag, one on my desk and one next to the bed. 3 for 2 now at Superdrug.

No7 Eye Shadow Blend and Contour Brush £6.60

I’m a big fan of No7 brushes, in my opinion they’re every inch as good as many expensive rivals. High quality, super soft bristles and large head area make this brush perfect for blending eye shadow along the lid area and beyound. A great go-to brush for everyday use. Also highly recommended in this range, the foundation brush, but at £12, doesn’t qualify in this category.