Tried and Tested – Volumising Mascaras

I’m falling in love again with mascara.

For many years I’ve been a one mascara kind a gal. That one being Lancôme’s Hypnose, which I still love, but after playing the field and discovering the wonderful Falsifeye by 17 I realised that mascaras had moved on, and without me! With new ones hitting the market all the time it’s difficult to keep up, but in an attempt to update my knowledge, I’ve road tested some of the new kids on the block. They all have one thing in common – they promise the World, they don’t all deliver.

No7 Lash Adapt £12.50 7ml

I had high hopes for this mascara, especially since Boots rolled it out with a huge marketing campaign and tied its release with the £5 off voucher. The second most expensive mascara on the list, it certainly wasn’t anywhere near the best. This one markets itself as offering buildable volume. The first thing I noticed was that it didn’t coat the lashes generously enough, I had to keep dipping the wand back in for more. It took around 3 for 4 coatings to achieve what I’d call volume, but by this point the lashes were starting to look spidery, feathery and a tad clumpy, see the pic. It did have separating and lengthening qualities, but it didn’t have the WOW factor. I’d say this one is a good everyday mascara, one to two coats gives a natural flutter, more and it looks clumpy. It did last well with no smudging.

Good for: Seperating and fanning the lashes

Bad for: Quick application

Score: 6/10

Revlon Custom Eyes Mascara £9.99 5ml

Whilst it doesn’t market itself as a volumising marcara, it does promise drama. The first point to note is that this mascara has two settings 1. Length and Drama, 2. Length and Definition. You twist the wand handle to change between the two, but in reality I’m struggling to notice what difference it makes. The second point is it had a RUBBER wand, a wobbly rubber wand at that, which I’m not a fan of. Despite this, the mascara was fairly easy to use, you get used to the flexi brush and it was good for getting right down to the root. The mascara separates and fans out the lashes. It added length, layers well, but definitely no drama here.

Good for: Length

Bad for: Fiddly rubber wand

Score: 6.5/10

Revlon Grow Luscious Plumping Mascara £9.99 10ml

What sets this one aside from other mascara is it’s size! The tube is large, the wand is large and the brush is HUGE.  It seems unnecessarily so, it’s certainly longer than the eyes width and I imagined it would end up all over the place. But it was easy to use and not too cumbersome. The formula I liked – no clumping or smudging and lasted all day. It coats the lashes quickly and generously, but not excessively. Again I found it created more length than volume. It was buildable but certainly didn’t have the WOW factor. My main criticism was that some how, it made me look like a had less lashes. I guess the bulkiness of the brush means it doesn’t separate or fan the lashes. It was also difficult to wash off, I needed to use eye make up remover as well as my usual face wash.

Good for: Quick application

Bad for: Washing off

Score: 6.5/10

 Maybelline Volume Express Cat Eyes Mascara £7.99 10ml

Cat eyes by name, cat eyes by nature. This one did live up to the hype. Like a moth to a flame I was drawn to this one by its appearance – bright yellow fat tube with a band of leopard print, you can’t miss it! Now the brush takes some getting used to, it’s very small, curved and quite fiddly. I didn’t feel like I had great control, but it is good for getting down to the root of the lash and inside the inner corners. The formula I like, it immediately and generously coats the lashes and is very buildable. It separated the lashes, fanning them across the upper lid for that wide-eyed/cat eye look. It lengthened and curved the lashes with no smudging and no clumping!

Good for: Separating and curving the lashes

Bad for: Fiddly brush

Score: 7/10

17 FALSIFEYE Mascara £6.49 9ml

Everything about this mascara is BIG –the name, the chunky, bright pink tube, the results and unfortunately the wand. That’s my only criticism the wand is quite fat and cumbersome and I found it difficult to get in to the inner corners of the eye. BUT it’s that same fat wand that makes this mascara quick and easy to use. A quick coating really does add heaps of volume and creates that wide eye look. Add two or three coats to create a dramatic false lash effect. No clumping, no smudging and washes off with my regular face wash. Whats’s more amazing about this mascara is it’s price! It was my favourite mascara, for about a week until Lancôme released Doll Eyes, but remains a firm favourite and is pretty safe in my beauty hall of fame.

Good for: Volume and value for money

Bad for: Clumpy brush

Score: 8/10

Lancôme Hypnôse Doll Eyes £20.50

I’m a life long fan of Lancôme mascaras, for years Hypnose has been my favourite, but I haven’t loved their every offering – Amplicils didn’t do it for me, nor did Virtuose but with Doll Eyes they’ve hit the spot, well mine at least. This mascara has the holy grail WOW-factor. If you’re looking for drama – this one has it! It coats lashes generously, gives instant volume, separates, fans and creates the illusion of having more lashes than you do. One coating is all you need, but if you’re looking for the false lash effect, a couple more coats will do it – but be warned, mine end up poking my eye brows! I especially love the brush; it’s tapered at one end making it easy to get to the small lashes in the inner corners and separate the clusters at the outer edges. The only downside I can find, is that it’s prone to some smudging beneath the lower lash line, but I did road test it in the Greek heat! It’s pretty expensive too but I’m hooked! Doll eyes is now my number one mascara and secret weapon when I need some va va voom!

Good for: Volume, Drama and speed

Bad for: Smudging

Score: 9/10

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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.

Pretty in PINK

Help, I think I’ve had a Barbie girl moment. When I blogged a few weeks ago about my favourite summer nail colours, I realised I had lots of hot pinks, but was pretty deficient in the light/mid pink area. Off I popped to Barry M…

Barry M knows good colour! I love their polishes – they’re cheap and pretty good quality. With a rainbow of shades on offer it’s tough to choose, but after much deliberation I opted for Stawberry Ice Cream and Bright Pink. Normally £2.99 each and Boots had an offer on 2 for £5.

Stawberry Ice Cream is a really pale, milky pink. After the first coat I worried that the shade was a little too close to those tacky fake nails, but after 3 coats I achieved the bottle colour. Not normally my bag, but the shade is cute and very summery. The glossy finish lasted around 3 days and since it’s pale, a couple a chips didn’t do any harm.

Bright Pink caught my eye straight away. I’d describe it as the perfect Barbie pink. It is bright, but not too in your face. It screams summer and cheered my nails right up. Barry M polishes do tend to be a little thin, again it took three coats to achieve perfect colour and coverage, but boy was it worth it.

Without the flash

With the flash

Needless to say I’m pretty happy with my purchased. I also got ANOTHER No7 voucher, so a picked up another No7 polish, a gorgeous glittery pink, aptly named TWINKLE, which fits nicely between the two Barry M shades on the colour chart. It’s a similar shade to Strawberry Ice cream, but a little more pigmented and with added sparkle. I haven’t road tested it yet, but you’ll know when I do.

No7 Summer Limited Edition Sundowner Collection

Apparently today is the first day of summer and with temperatures set to reach the mid 20s later this week, I’m well and truly in the summer swing. As too are the make up counters with limited edition summer collections popping up all over the shop. No7’s new Sundowner Collection really caught my eye, not only is it summery, but it has a 70s vibe too – bonus!

No7 Sultry Glow Bronzer £13

Become a bronzed beach babe with this three toned palette. The bronzer is made up of ultra fine powders, which give it a light texture, perfect for blending and building colour. At first look, the terracotta shade looks a bit too red, but the three shades blend perfectly together for a mid toned, natural looking bronzer. I love the 70s sunset and leaf design but don’t love the cardboard palette.

Sunset Metallic Eye Quad Palette  £13

A cocktail of four richly pigmented bronzed metallic shades, a perfect accompaniments to bronzed skin. The shadows are quite rich and creamy, On the down side, they’re housed in another cardboard palette… No7 STOP cutting corners.

Stay Perfect Nail Polishes £10

Available in Sultry Sands (pictured), light metallic gold shade that will look perfect with a tan and Golden Palms, a glamourous gold bronze.

Lipglosses £10

Enjoy a balmy night out by the shore with show off sultry lips. No7’s new intensely moisturising gloss leaves lips with a brilliant shine and feeling super soft and kissable. Available in two shades, Sultry Nude and Sultry Red.

Overall a cute summer offering from No7, with a very similar vibe to 17’s Miami Pop collection due out later this month. Available in Boots stores now, plus take advantage of their (nearly always on) 3 for 2 offer.

SUMMER NAILS: Current Top 5

I’ve been having a serious sort out lately (once you start you just can’t stop) and I discovered all sorts of things I forgot I had, love it when that happens! Anyway, I had a good rumage through my nail polishes and selected my top 5 summer nails…

Kindly modelled by my (reluctant) little sister…

No7 Stay Perfect – Very Petal

This is a hot pink, perfect for fingers and toes, very summery. I think No7 polishes are pretty good quality – one or two coats does the job.

Nails Inc – Shoreditch

One of my all time favourite shades. A bold, hot pink that’s incredibly glossy. Similar to the No7 one but a touch more barbie pink. 2 coats with an under and over coat works a treat and lasts ages.

Barry M – Limted Edition Shade 105

The pinky/lilac shade has the WOW factor. So eye catching – it screams summer. The thin, non-glupey consistency makes it a dream to apply….Great value at £2.99. Read full review here.

Nails Inc – Bruton Street

Looks similar to Barry M’s in the pictures but it’s a more milky, beige lilac. Great for everyday sophistication.

Nails Inc – Candy Orange

A break from my traditional pinks and Lilacs, I’m loving this candy orange. Very on trend, summery and came free with this months’ Instyle magazine, yet another reason to love.

Hardly a professional paint job I know, but she’s 12 and CAN’T sit still

Barry M Crackle Paint… How to

I have to admit to being quite taken with this new nail art trend. It’s cute, it’s novel and all the brands are doing it BUT I’m not sure it’s for adults? With that in mind, I bravely tested it out… on my 12 year old sister.

Crackle polish is available in a rainbow of colours – gold, green, WHITE you name it. For your first time I’d recommend a black, plus it goes with everything. Barry M’s crackle paint is available in black,white, pink and blue and priced at £3.99 it’s very reasonable.

How to…

Firstly paint your nails as you would normally. You can use any colour, any brand. I think black works well with bright colours, so we chose No7’s Foxglove – a hot pink. Apply one or two coats, BUT make sure they’re bone dry before you start with the crackle.

Then on top of your painted nails apply with the crackle varnish, BUT and here’s the tricky part, you cannot overlap the crackle, which is difficult because the brush isn’t wide enough to do just one stroke, yet it’s wider than half your nail meaning some overlapping is inevitable. The other difficulty is it DRIES  very quickly but once on you will be impressed by the instant crackling effect – it’s like magic. My only criticism with this Barry M version is it gets very glupey very quickly. Be careful not to apply too much.

I’d say practice makes perfect with this one, by the time I got to the last nails I felt like I was finding my stride, but for a first attempt, I’d say we didn’t do too bad…..

What’s amazing is, you get a different result everytime and can vary the effect by doing faster or slower strokes.

My sister was really happy with the results and her friends were green with envy, which I think answers the question, is it for adults? Probably not, unless your name is Lady GaGa.

Avoid the post wedding blues with a few mini pick me ups

It’s back to reality with a thump this week. The Royal Wedding’s over, Easter’s over, the endless run of bank holidays are over and we’re back to the 9-5 grind – Booo!

Before we slip into another Blue Monday, hatch a plan to cheer  yourself up… WARNING, it could cost you money.

1.  Paint your nails

I’ve painted mine shocking pink today and I must admit, every time I look down at my hands I feel quite proud of my bright finger nails and they’ve caught many an admiring glance. I’m wearing No7 Foxglove – two coats with a base and top coat.

2.   Treat yourself to some summer make up

Especially important if you also happen to be having a fat day. Something like a bronzer or a bright lipstick should do the job. I just purchased a gorgeous 17 Lasting Fix Lipstick in Hawaii Pink £4.79. Perfect for that LIP N GO look. There are few things I love more than make up, but the Sun I worship. So when it’s shining I can’t afford to waste vital tanning time applying a face full of make up, nor would I want to. However I still want to look summery and fresh, so I slapped on some bright lipstick with some concealer and a touch of mascara and I’m good to go.

Here’s the lippy in action

 

I’m wearing the lipstick, L’Oreal Touche Magique Concealer and a light coating of Clinique’s high impact mascara.

A new bronzer is also a good idea. In the summer months you can normally afford to go up a shade. I love the look of Urban Decay’s new Bronzing Powder £20 and my much loved Guerlain Terracota Four Seasons Bronzer needs a little break – at £46 it’s not for daily use.

This lovely, fine bronzer is baked in an oven and even hand-finished. Great for fake tan phobics, this beauty gives a gorgeous light, golden glow for a sunkissed look. Speaking of which…

3.  Fake it to make it

Most of us look, and feel better with a summer glow. I’m all for safe sunning, but it can be a slow process and it doesn’t hurt to give yourself a head start – especially your legs! It’s pretty scary unveiling those white, spikey, scaly tree trunks at the start of the summer months, but it’s amazing what a shave and a hint of colour can do.

San Tropez, still an eternal classic, is a great false tan, but can be messy and stains your clothes. I reserve it for events – weddings, holidays etc. For frequent use, I prefer everyday tanning lotions like Dove’s Summer Glow Body Lotion.  Slap it on after your shower, wait a few minutes to dry and you’re good to go.

 

Follow these steps (or some of your own mini pick me ups) and voile, a whole new you. And if that doesn’t work, there’s another bank holiday in three weeks.

I wonder how poor Kate Middleton’s feeling a week on– the fairy tale wedding is over, her new hubby’s back at work and she’s holed up at home… except home is a palace so boo hoo.