Tag Archives: beauty

PRODUCT EXPERIENCE: KIEHL’S MIDNIGHT RECOVERY CONCENTRATE

Today I’m reviewing this overnight oil from Kiehl’s. Read all about it over at anez.me!

PRODUCT EXPERIENCE: KIEHL’S RARE EARTH MASK


Lately I’ve been loving Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque. Head over to anez.me to read the full review!

FACE OF THE DAY

 

Part of my Super Busy Week Of Awesome (Which Unfortunately Gave Me The Flu) was going to a a gig where a friend of mine was playing. Because I was going to a club, I decided to amp up the makeup a little and give the Rock Chick look from Charlotte Tilbury a try– smoky eyes, nude lips, etc. Here’s how it turned out:

fotd19

I was pretty happy with it overall, although because I was over-nighting in a hotel, I only brought travel size foundation, and you can see by the comparison with my neck that it was just a tad too dark for my skin! You can also see the messy, un-made hotel beds behind me, oops. Mother would be so ashamed that I didn’t make my bed that morning, but I was just so ill that it was a struggle to dress and do makeup, much less anything else. I’m pulling such a weird face in this photo, too, mostly due to trying to look awake and like I wasn’t going to keel over and throw up at any minute. I can’t even blame having been on the town the night before (since I wasn’t; we did a spa evening instead). I can only attribute it to the oncoming sickness which has currently has me bed-bound.

Here’s what I was wearing:

fotd19b

Benefit Porefessional Primer
Rimmel Match Perfection Foundation in #100
Clinique Line Smoothing Concealer in #02 Light
Benefit Brow Zings in Blonde
Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Eye Palette in Rock Chick
Benefit
They’re Real mascara
Clinique Quick Blush in #05 Pronto Pink
Wet & Wild Balm Megaslicks Stain in E128
Estee Lauder Pure Colour Gloss in Sparkling Shell

The eagle-eyed may also have spotted that I’m sporting some kind of glitter about the cheeks– couldn’t tell you what it was, since my friend applied it when she squeezed out too much for herself by mistake! I packed pretty light for this trip, and this was more or less all the makeup I brought, aside from a red lip gloss to give me an alternative look, if I should want one.

I do love the Tilbury palettes, but I can’t help feeling they’re not quite as versatile as the Naked ones. Obviously, the Nakeds are far larger and thus less easy to pack, but they’re also cheaper, despite being of similar quality. I’m planning to mess about with my Tilbury quads a bit in the future to see what can be achieved with them in terms of versatility, but I don’t know how far it’s possible to deviate from the “prescribed” look with them. Packing Rock Chick was perfect for me for this particular trip, as it was an overnight stay which involved wearing only no makeup (spa time) and heavy makeup (gig time), but I don’t think it would have been nearly as useful as one of my Naked palettes if I’d been staying longer and had a greater range of activities planned. Maybe I’ll change my mind after a bit of practice, though?

Have you tried the Rock Chick eye quad from Charlotte Tilbury? Are you a fan of the heavy eye/nude lip style? Do you have any suggestions for using this palette in other ways? Drop me a line and let me know!

-A-

PRODUCT EXPERIENCE: ALONG CAME BETTY

It’s been a while since I discovered a surprise product that really impressed me, but this Along Came Betty scrub from Tesco has done exactly that!

betty1Most of the new products I try out these days come from recommendations or reviews I’ve read, but this was something I tossed into my shopping trolley a few weeks ago because I needed a replacement for the (also brilliant) Body Shop scrub I’d gotten for my birthday. I’m doubly grateful for that present now I’ve discovered how hellaciously expensive it is– so much so I couldn’t bring myself to spring for the replacement. I decided I’d try a supermarket alternative for a while, and if it didn’t work, I’d have to take the plunge and pick up the branded version. I am so glad I did…!

betty3

Along Came Betty One Pot Of Polish, despite the long title, is frankly amazing. At about €7, this is cheap as chips and astonishingly effective. After one use, my skin was smooth as a baby’s– Well, you get the idea. Honestly, nothing I’d ever used before had left my skin feeling anywhere near as nice as this! The effectiveness has not diminished with repeated use, and I think this (in conjunction with my Clarisonic Body head) are combining to completely rid my skin of any traces of unpleasantness like KP. It’s a sugar and salt scrub, so you get the best of both, and it’s got a lovely apricot scent. It’s quite scrubby, with little exfoliating particles, but doesn’t feel too harsh or touch on the skin. I love this stuff, I really do.

betty4

Here’s the down side: I’m pretty sure this is only available in a few, select Tesco shops (I picked it up in Dundrum, but it hasn’t been in most others I’ve visited). To make matters worse, I always find Tesco Ireland’s website be very lacking in its range… And of course, this isn’t available on it. If you live in the UK, however, you can order it through the site there, but it doesn’t seem to be available anywhere else.

If I can find this again, you can be very sure I’m going to repurchase, but alas, I have a feeling getting my paws on it is going to be tricky…

Have you tried this body polish? Are you likewise frustrated by product availability in Tesco? Do you have another body scrub to recommend? Drop me a line and let me know!

-A-

FACE OF THE DAY

As before, here’s the FOTD that goes with my most recent OOTD!

 

fotd1

Holy eyebags. Batman! Should have tried harder with the concealer, I guess. Oh, well. Did manage to kill the raging hormonal explosion on my cheek, so it might have been worse! Back to my beloved Naked 3 for the eyes here, but I am trying out something new with the foundation. I’m looking for something different at the moment, and in the running are Dior Skin Star, Estee Lauder Double Wear, and MUFE HD foundation. The trouble is, I’m both pale and yellow/neutral toned. Getting foundation to match this shade is, as I’ve mentioned before, nothing short of nightmarish. Consequently, I’m hoping to get to trial a few before ultimately making a decision. The lovely Anna at the Dior counter in House of Fraser in Dundrum was kind enough to give me a trial pot of both #10 (light pink-toned) and #11 (light yellow-toned) to use at home to see how it worked out for me.

I’m wearing #11 here, and I think it worked out okay! I am LOVING this foundation. I’m not 100% sure on the shade (I will want to try out the #10 first for comparison), but the foundation itself is lovely. It’s very, very buildable (I only did a light and sheer application here) and not heavy or smothering at all. Compared to the Urban Decay Naked Skin I usually use, this oddly feels far more… Naked. Despite this, it gives pretty excellent coverage. (Although as you can tell from the picture above, you might want to apply a concealer in the eye area with it too, or at least more than one light layer if you have persistent dark circles.) The only complaint I had was that oddly, at the end of the day, I had mascara smears under my eyes. That usually never happens with this mascara, and I’m wondering if I just didn’t give it enough time to dry (I was in a bit of a rush this morning) or if there’s something about this foundation that encourages mascara to smear? More testing definitely required– perhaps if I try it with a powder…

Here’s what else I was wearing:

fotdbb

Skin
Kiehl’s MicroBlur Skin Perfector (not pictured, because oops)
Inglot Cream Concealer in #60
Clinique Line Smoothing Concealer in #02 Light
Dior Skin Star in #11 Creme

Eyes
Eylure Brow Palette in Blonde
Urban Decay Naked #3 (Strange, Buzz, Liar, Factory)
Max Factor Masterpiece Waterproof Mascara in Black

Lips
Guerlain Gloss D’Enfer in #464

Cheeks
Benefit Dandelion Blush
Inglot
Face and Body Illuminator in #61

 
Do you have any foundation recommendations for me? What do you think of DiorSkin Star? Do you have any tips for encouraging your mascara to stay in place? Drop me a line and let me know!

-A-

JANUARY BEAUTY ROUNDUP

The first month of 2015 has come to a close, and here’s what I was loving in January:

jan-favs

MAC brush #217
Urban Decay Naked 2
Charlotte Tilbury Portobello Girl lip gloss
Urban Decay Naked 1
Charlotte Tilbury Uptown Girl palette

If you’ve been giving any thought to purchasing any of the above, I would absolutely recommend them! They’re all great buys, and you can click on the links above to see my experiences with the products or how I’ve been using them. I have a feeling I’m going to be using these throughout February, but I’m not yet sure what else will be joining them…

What did you love using in January? Did you make any fun beauty discoveries? Have you identified any Feb favourites yet? Drop me a line and let me know!

-A-

FACE OF THE DAY

As before, here’s the FOTD that goes with my most recent OOTD!

fotd13

I’m breaking into my Naked 2 for the first time here. Oh, how I love the Naked palettes– let me count the ways…! One, two, three… Three and a half (Naked On The Run). Here’s what else I’m using:

fotd13-things

Skin
Kiehl’s MicroBlur Skin Perfector
Inglot Cream Concealer in #60
Clinique Line Smoothing Concealer in #02 Light
Urban Decay Naked Foundation in #0.5

Eyes
Eylure Brow Palette in Blonde
Urban Decay Naked #2 (Foxy, Half Baked, Snakebite, Suspect)
Max Factor Masterpiece Waterproof Mascara in Black

Lips
Chanel Brilliant Gloss in #66

Cheeks
Benefit Dandelion Blush
Inglot
Face and Body Illuminator in #61

I’m happy enough how this turned out, even if it’s not quite perfect because there were many points where it tried to go horribly, horribly wrong. Firstly, my skin is throwing a minor wobbly right now. That’s all right; I just pasted on the concealer(s) and then foundation. Job done, sort of. Then my eye makeup went wrong. Twice. First, I messed up my eyelining, which had to be corrected. Not so big a deal, though you can still see where some mascara has made the liner darker looking on one eye, alas.

Then, inexplicably, I managed to smear mascara over both my eyelids and also ALL OVER MY FACE. In trying to fix the escaped mascara on my eye, I got it on my hands, and then got it on my cheeks, and then my nose… Cleaning that mess up took a while, as you can imagine, which is why the above photo is a bit rushed– by this point, I was running very short on time!

I do like how the eyes turned out despite all the problems, though. Naked 2 is every bit as brilliant as I was hoping it would be… So long as you don’t make a mess of yourself while using it, anyway.

What new additions to your makeup collection are you loving right now? What do you wish you’d tried earlier? How often do you make an utter mess of your face in the mornings (please say frequently, so I don’t feel so useless and alone)? Drop me a line and let me know!

-A-

PRODUCT EXPERIENCE: AT-HOME IPL, PT.1

We’ve all heard the expression “Summer Bodies Are Made In Winter”, and while that definitely does apply to fitness, it also applies hair removal. If you’ve ever considered laser hair removal, the dead of winter is a great time to go for it. I’d tried out salon laser removal a year or two ago, and while it was great, I stopped going back due to a combination of having exposed my skin to sunlight and the fact that it was exquisitely uncomfortable. I mean, we’re talking real pain here– I wanted to kick the nice lady administering the treatment, especially when it came to the bikini region.

Now that it’s winter again and my skin hasn’t seen sunlight for three or four months, I wanted to go back again, but just couldn’t stomach the thought of both the pain and paying over €100 per session– and that was just for underarms and bikini. The solution? At-home IPL.

Great strides have been made in the area of at-home laser treatment in the last few years; while previously you needed expensive replacement heads and sometimes gels, the newer models come with long-life lamps which means you can get years worth of treatments (140,000 flashes, apparently) without having to buy replacement parts. Still, even without having to buy replacement parts, these things are not cheap.

I got a pretty great deal on this Philips Lumea Precision Plus from Boots in the sale, and only had to part with €400 instead of the usual price of €530. That’s still no small chunk of change, but it’s a good deal compared with salon prices, where six treatments for underarms, bikini, and legs works out somewhere in the €750 region, and any subsequent treatments are extra. This way, I’m saving upwards of €350 just on the basic outlay, and any subsequent treatments are a bonus.

I’ve only used mine once, so I can only give an initial report on the experience of using the device at this point, but I will update this in the future with how effective it is in terms of long-term hair removal. For now, though, let’s take a look at what you get and how it works. For your €400 (or €530, now the sale has ended), you get a Manual, a Quick Start Guide, a cleaning cloth, a storage bag, the charging cable, two application heads (one for face and one for body), and the laser device itself.

lumea

The device is hairdryer sized and shaped, and has five intensity settings. The guide explains which one is likely to work best for you based on your hair and skin colour. (Basically, the bigger the difference between the two, the higher the setting that you can use– with my super pale skin, I’m cleared to use Level 5, but if you’re darker, you probably shouldn’t go higher than 3.) There’s a separate head for use on the face which has an extra filtration layer, and a larger, less filtered head for use on the body. Both heads have a pressure-sensitive, multi-segment protection ring, and all parts of the ring must be depressed before the flash will trigger. That helpfully means you can’t accidentally flash it in front of your face, but it also means that you need full-on contact with the skin in order to get it to work…. And that’s not always easy.

The trouble with doing this yourself is that you need to be flexible. Like, properly, ready-for-Ringling-Bros flexible, because you have to be able to put the device where it’s needed, and with the right degree of pressure, while also being able to see where you’re making contact so you can move it to the next spot without too much overlap or skipping any areas in between.

For places like your lip or your ankles, this is not so hard. For the underarms and the back of the thighs, it’s a bit of a different story. I did manage it, but I am flexible, and I also didn’t have a flinch reflex because it wasn’t hurting. If you struggle to bend in half (i.e., if you can’t stand up and put your hands flat on the floor without bending your knees), this may prove difficult for you.

Things might be further complicated if you’re petite, as you’re going to have to press in quite hard when using the body head, because it’s big, and your smaller limbs mean that your shin or ankle may not be much wider than the head itself– and slightly curved, to boot.

So those are the downsides. There are, however, numerous upsides (aside from the price). If you’re wondering if it’s safe, apparently it is; no goggles are supplied with the machine, and there’s nothing in the manual saying you need protective eye gear. (Despite this, however, I took my own precautions, and wore some UV-filtering sunglasses while I was using it just to be on the safe side. Still, it’s nice to know I can go without if need be.)

It’s also nice and quiet. While using the device, it makes a sort of whirring noise, like one of those useless low-power hotel hairdryers, or the fan on your computer when you’re looking at a particularly Flash-heavy website. It’s nowhere near loud enough to cause a problem, but it did surprise me a little bit, so I’ll mention it here. As for battery life, you will need to charge between uses, but it’s still better than expected. One charge was enough for me to do my legs, underarms, and bikini line, which I thought was pretty great.

The surprising big plus is that this hurts a lot less than the salon treatment. I mean, a lot less. At the salon, it hurt quite a bit to have my underarms done, and my bikini-line was basically torture. With this, neither my underarms nor legs hurt at all (I didn’t even bother trying to get my legs done at the salon)– it was exactly as described: a warm sensation. That was using Level 5, too. I am duly impressed, and if this is half as a effective as the salon version, I’ll be delighted.

When I came to the bikini line, though, having remembered how unpleasant it had been at the salon, I turned the intensity down to 3. I was jolly glad I did, because it still hurt, in places. Some rather badly. This was a bit of a disappointment, but I suppose in areas where the skin is thin and there’s little fatty or muscle tissue underneath, it’s just going to hurt no matter what you’re using, and I’m going to have to suck it up.

In the hours after treatment, my legs and underarms were heat- and blemish-free. I wouldn’t have known I’d done anything to them other than shave in the shower that morning. My bikini area was another story. It hurt. And was a little red. It was absolutely no worse than it was from the salon treatment, and it didn’t last too long, but was still irritating. The salon had suggested a warm facecloth and then the application of some aloe gel in the case of redness, which I duly followed, and it helped quite a bit. By the next morning, there was no problem whatsoever.

A few days later, I had hair regrowth, which was an unpleasant surprise. With the salon treatment, my regrowth was diminished instantly, and I didn’t have to even look at a razor for about a fortnight. I’m hoping this isn’t a sign it’s not effective over the long-term and simply means it’s not effective in the short-term– something I can absolutely deal with, so long as it does work in the end. I’ll keep you guys posted on how it works out for me in the long run, but I’ve got my fingers crossed.

Would I recommend this to others? Well, tentatively yes. For me, the convenience of being able to do it in my home, at a time of my choosing, to the level that I’m comfortable with, and to be able to take breaks as desired offsets the drawback of having to contort myself into all kinds of pretzel shapes and get a sore wrist from pressing a light-flashing hairdryer into my skin. What really remains to be seen, though, is how effective this is.

The two or three treatments I had in the salon definitely reduced the amount of hair growth in my underarm and bikini-line area, and I’m hoping this will more or less kill it off completely. If it can manage that, it will absolutely be worth its price… But I can’t say that it has yet. The jury’s out on this one, folks, but I’ll definitely update to let you know how I get on.

Have you tried IPL, either at home or at the salon? Have you tried out this product? Or do you find the whole thing just too scary and potentially painful to bother with? Drop me a line and let me know!

-A-

PRODUCT EXPERIENCE: CHARLOTTE TILBURY LIP LUSTRE

Another one of my delightful birthday presents, today I’m taking a look at the Charlotte Tilbury Lip Lustre in Portobello Girl.

portobello

I have another one of these in a different shade which I’ll do a write-up on at some point in the future, but I’m going to cover this first because it’s easier, since this is a great “everyday” product. It’s from The Ingenue, one of my favourite of Charlotte Tilbury’s “Iconic Looks” as I think it’s a great everyday face. As it happens, this is the only product from that look which I own, as I already owned items which could fill in for the products (no need to be greedy and double up, now). I really love the pinky lips, though (for me, they define this look) and I was tempted by the promise of “a non-sticky gloss”, so I thought I would give this one a try.

Here’s a genuinely terrible close-up of my badly-bitten lips (with bonus earphones) so you can see what it looks like on:

tilbury-lips

Sorry about that; I thought I’d be able to crop the image down to just my mouth, so I didn’t bother to take my earphones out… But the image of giant, disembodied lips really freaked me out, so I went back to the original crop. Hence the earphones. And the god-awful skin. Oh, well. Back to topic:

This gloss has its good points and its bad points.

The good points:

  • It has really sturdy packaging. The stick “clicks” home, and can’t look closed when it isn’t, so there’s minimal chance of sticking it back in your bag by accident when it’s open. It also takes a fair bit of force to open it, too, so I’m guessing lip-gloss-everywhere-oh-god-no incidents are unlikely to happen with this one.
  • It’s gently glossy: there’s a gorgeous sheen without any kind of glare.
  • The shimmer pigments suspended in the formulation give the appearance of fuller lips.
  • If you’ll pardon the pun, this really glosses over any areas of uneven skin: if you’re a lip-biter or one of those disgusting people who pulls the skin off their lip with their teeth (like I do), then this will help to disguise any rough and baldy patches you’ve left behind.
  • It’s got good staying power– for a gloss, it lasts pretty well, though it does leave a residue on cups and glasses (and probably men, if you have one).
  • It’s not so sticky that you’ll feel that awful smacking sensation when you part your lips to speak (or eat, or breathe, or do anything else).
  • The colour is really pretty.

And the bad points:

  • The smell. It isn’t overwhelmingly strong, but considering you’ll be applying this right under your nose, you will probably notice it if you’re all all sensitive to scents. To me, it smells like burnt penny sweets, which is not desirable in a luxury product.
  • It’s still sticky. Not so sticky as other products I’ve tried, and it’s not going to stick your lips together, but if your hair gets in your face, it’s going to stick to your mouth.
  • The colour is very sheer. If you like that, as I do, then you’ll be happy. If you think you can use this alone to achieve the level of colour in the model’s pictures, you’re going to be disappointed.

Overall, the good points outweigh the bad, but considering that these are in the €22 range (again: gift; I don’t have exact price to hand– my apologies), unless you are crazy about one of the colours in this collection, there are probably cheaper options out there which will do much the same thing. Still, it’s far less expensive than a similar product from Dior or Armani– it’s about on a par with MAC, which I feel is about the right pricepoint.

Bad points aside, I still love this product. I can see it living in my handbag for a quite a long time as a replacement for my beloved Estee Lauder Ultra Light Gloss, which has sadly been discontinued. (Why do the makeup gods take away everything I love, why!?)

If you’re  looking for a sheer, pinky gloss, which is minimally sticky and shimmers beautifully, this might be a good option to consider.

Have you tried this product? Are you a fan of lip glosses in general? Do you have any recommendations for a gloss that is genuinely not-at-all-sticky? Drop me a line and let me know!

-A-

RECENT PURCHASES: JANUARY SALES

I did eventually manage to hit the January sales– better late than never, I say, and definitely also better when not grossly overcrowded and crazy. Here’s what I picked up:

17polish

These gorgeous nail polishes are from Boots’ Seventeen range. They’re just €3, which I think is astonishing for such gorgeous colours. I’ve got #49 Blue Glitter and #57 Green Gold Shimmer here, which I’m looking forward to trying out– even if I suspect I am going to need bucketloads of nail polish remover for taking them off since they’re pretty intensely glittery. (Whoever can invent something which takes off glitter polish without an hour’s worth of scrubbing is going to be one rich person, let me tell you.)

 

bushes

I’ve been wanting to add some new eye shadow brushes to my collection for a while now, and unfortunately the only website on which I could find Sigma brushes had none in stock. Consequently, I gave up on web shopping and hied myself to the Mac counter in BT2– I was hoping to save myself a few quid by not buying the MAC ones, but in the end, I decided to just save myself the headache.

It’s not really so terrible; online shopping is a pain in my backside, if I’m honest. I always prefer a bricks-and-mortar retailer wherever possible, since that way I get to bring the goodies home in my hot little hands and not spend a week obsessively tracking my package to try to determine what day it might arrive. Even if you can figure out what day it might come, that means a whole day spent shivering with the living room door open so you’re sure to hear the doorbell, watching your hideously expensive heating flowing into the hall while you rock back and forth from a combination of chill and the inability to take a bathroom break in case the doorbell rings while you’re in there and you can’t scramble out in time to catch the postman before he leaves. (I really don’t handle waiting for deliveries well, okay?)

Since this was a regular retailer, I got to bring home my goodies from the MAC counter as well as two others I picked up in in M&S in their sale for €4 (from their own Autograph range) and €8 (from Pur Brushes). The MAC ones were not on sale, and were about €20 each (ouch). I picked up #217 (I didn’t have one, if you can believe that) and #224. I’ll be excited to compare them to the Real Techniques ones I use daily and the M&S ones you can see here.

 

BT2

While picking up my brushes, I also quite naughtily found my way into the downstairs of BT2. Oops? That said, I got two great bargains– this lovely little Whistles parka was 50% off at €100. It’s insanely warm, and fills the White-Coat-shaped gap in my wardrobe quite nicely. The shoes were something of a random buy– like my red runners, they’re actually for a costume event I’m going to later in the year (I’ll be doing, among other things, a casual version of Princess Anna from Frozen), but I’m actually rather taken with them. They were €60, down from €95, and the embroidery is gorgeous. I bought them in a size up in the hopes of being able to wear them with a heel insert to protect my irritatingly vulnerable Achilles tendon, so we shall see how that goes. (And if it doesn’t work, I’ll just have to… Let it go?)

 

MandS1

Lastly, I stopped by M&S to see what was available in their sale. In addition to the two brushes I already mentioned, I picked up two body scrubs– they were only €4 each, and they were also on a “Buy One Get One Half Price” offer, which means I got the two of them for the princely sum of €6! I’m a big fan of body scrubs, so hopefully these will work out for me. Neither Lemon nor Cocoa Butter is really my favourite scent, but they’re nice enough and at that price you really can’t argue.

I also picked up a lighted mirror on half price in Boots… And something else which I suspect deserves its own post which I’ll be talking about soon. My sale shopping was quite restrained this year, but considering the bumper Christmas and Birthday I had, I can hardly complain! I’m not exactly hurting for clothes or makeup, and I’m hoping to spend less and shop my closet more in 2015. I have so much lovely stuff that hasn’t been worn nearly enough, after all.

Did you get anything nice in the sales? Are you holding out for prices to drop even further? Or are you on a shop-your-closet-in-2015 kick, too? Drop me a line and let me know!

-A-