September 25, 2016

Beauty | Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Moshpit

When Urban Decay announced they were revamping their lipstick line with 150 new lipsticks, I found myself overwhelmed by choice and was put off trying any. A few months later and I had accumulated £15 of points on my Debenhams card that were ready to expire so had a peak at the huge addition of lipsticks to the Urban Decay counter. The first one I picked was Moshpit, the berry plum lipstick had intrigued me but the name sold it. 

Packaging wise, the Vice lipstick range is nothing special. It's a lot lighter and shorter than the Revolution line. It has a standard lipstick bullet shape with the Urban Decay logo impressed on it which feels like a step down to the circular bullet the Revolution line had. The casing is mainly gunmetal with a gold base, making it look a bit like an actual shotgun bullet casing. It feels cheaper than the Revolution line, despite the price of both being similar.

Moshpit was a surprisingly unique berry plum shade as it's slightly muted. I was glad to find that none of the berry lipsticks I owned were quite the same. Moshpit had redder undertones to MAC's Rebel and although an arm swatch suggested Tom Ford's Black Dahlia to be an exact dupe, I found once on the lips Black Dahlia came off very red on my lips while Moshpit leaned more purple.

Out of the 6 possible finishes, Moshpit has a cream finish. It's surprisingly pigmented with very good colour payoff, it didn't need any layering. Despite it's cream finish it somehow managed to last really well through hot drinks and meals with minimum fading. It easily lasts around 6 hours without a lip liner. It's a huge step up to the original revolution lipstick formula, which I found to be so creamy it lessened the wear time.

Overall, while I prefer the packaging of Urban Decay's Revolution lipsticks much more, the new Vice lipstick range's formula easily put's the Revolution line to shame.
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September 18, 2016

Brand Roundup | Kat Von D Beauty

If you've somehow missed the latest beauty buzz, Kat Von D has finally launched in the UK! Kat Von D's makeup line is a relatively young brand whose alternative themes caught my eye from day 1. I've forked out the extra cash for international shipping several times now and have managed to try out a lot of items in her range. Since there isn't quite enough products in the range to justify a 'Best of' or 'Top 5' post, I'm just sharing my overall thoughts with everything I've tried. 

Top - Vampira, Susperia, Bauhau5
Bottom - Double Dare, Lolita, A-Go-Go

Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks are a definite must try. Sure the beauty market is over saturated with liquid lipsticks but I find myself always coming back to Kat Von D's on a weekly basis. The formula doesn't suck out all the moisture on your lips, long wearing and even last through a few meals. Although Lolita is the liquid lipstick that everyone raves about, I rarely reach for it and my favourite everyday shades are Double Dare and Mother. Of the bolder shades, I find Vampira and L.U.V are gorgeous but Bauhau5 and Susperia perform better and I use those far more. A-Go-Go is the only one I own that I regret buying, online it seems to be a regular orange lip but with my skin tone it's so neon!

I'm usually hesitant with any holy grail item in the beauty community. The trooper eyeliner was no exception and I originally didn't understand the hype behind it. It was very watery and impossible to work with. Six months after I had given up on it, I read somewhere that I needed to store it upside down, so the ink flows towards the brush tip. I then turned into the blackest liquid liner that's easy to use and so long wearing, it's often the only thing left on my face after a long day out. I've now gone through 4 of them and don't plan on switching things up. Believe in the hype around this one. Small added bonus, I can't help but chuckle at the Iron Maiden reference.

The eyeshadow palettes are definitely another hyped item in the range. The palettes are works of art, with a lot of thought and effort going into the artwork and choice of eyeshadows. They are all decently well pigmented, although formula wise I'm unsure if I'd consider them to be the best out there. The shade and light eyeshadow palette is a great matte palette for any makeup artist to have in their kit. However, as a consumer, I wouldn't buy it for myself as I know I'd only use up the warm shades. 

The Metal Crush shadows on the other hand are what I wish the formulas in these palettes were like. They are easy to work with, super pigmented with an almost cream like formula. The only exception to this seems to Black No 1, the one dud which requires a fair bit of layering. The downside to single shadows though is the price. Depending on how much you're willing to spend, you'll want to pick up shadows you know you'll use often. Thunderstruck is perfect for this as it doubles up as a beautiful highlighter. 

The Lock-It Tattoo Foundation is as full coverage as everyone make it out to be and covers the worst of blemishes easily. It is however, also extremely thick and difficult to blend out. I find I have to mix it with a primer of some sort to avoid looking like I've caked on the foundation. It's so long wearing that I find it requires extra cleansing at the end of the day to remove. The other downside is, when I use this alone I find it doesn't suit my skin type as it breaks me out.
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September 04, 2016

Beauty | Shopping My Stash / August Favourites

I've not previously done monthly favourite posts as I never seemed to mix up my beauty regime often enough. Lately I've been digging through my makeup collection and trying out long forgotten purchases. Most of which were abandoned shortly after buying, and I'm embarrassed to admit some that have never even been touched. To make up for this, I've been making a conscious effort to shop my stash and have found some new favourites. Naturally, not every item I've tried out has been great, these duds have either been passed on or binned.

What - MAC's Prep + Prime Skin Base Visage
Why - This was gifted to me well over 6 months ago along with a few other MAC products. I had never touched it until August though, I was finding my foundation just wasn't sitting right on my skin, it was cakey and would set strangely around my pores. It provides a smooth base that makes my foundation glide almost effortlessly on my skin. It's also meant to be effective for evening out redness but I can't comment on that as it's not a problem I have. 

What - Urban Decay's Revolution Lipgloss in Liar
Why - Wearing liquid lipsticks on a daily basis over summer has been exceptionally drying on the lips. Adding just the smidge of lipgloss on top of Kat Von D's double dare liquid lipstick hydrates my lips enough to fix my chapped lips problem.

What - NYX Vivid Brights Eyeliner in Fire 
Why - Red eyeliner isn't something I've ever envisioned myself wearing or wanting. The vivid bright liners are an excellent lazy way to add just a pop of colour to the eyes. I find it also clashes in a good way with the turquoise hair.

What - YSL Kiss and Blush in 11 Prune Impertinente
Why - I've barely touched this since buying it with my staff discount aeons ago. With a medium skin tone, I find the problem with dark matte lip colours is sometimes they can sometimes be too intense it ends up looking almost black. I wanted a burgundy lip colour that wasn't too intense for work. Looking through my stash I rediscovered this gem which applies more like a dark lip stain than a gloss making it part of my daily work face this month.

What - Olaplex
Why - I'm not 100% sold on the after care treatment yet but am still trialling it out. The in salon treatment though has definitely won me over. Before the treatment, I would find bits of hair on my clothing, a lot more in the shower drain and my hair brush would be full of hair after one hair brushing section. After I went in for a treatment, even though it didn't completely eliminate the fallout, it did do a damn good job of reducing it. I rarely, if ever, find loose bits of hair on my clothing, the shower is a lot easier to clean out and the same goes for my hair brush. 
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August 28, 2016

Makeup Rehab | The Anti Wishlist #1

The anti-wishlist is inspired by Kimberly Clark's Anti-Haul videos. The vlogging/blogging world is often described as being over-saturated with beauty gurus, all claiming that we need the newest makeup launch in order to make money off of affiliate links. Kimberly's Anti-Haul series has made her one of the few vlogger's I trust. Her message to stop mindlessly spending money on the latest hyped product and adding to the hysteria sets her aside from the rest. So instead of listing everything that I feel the need to impulse buy, I'm scrutinising everything on my wishlist in order to prevent me from buying all of the things.

Christian Louboutin Loubilaque Glosses (Source)

I'm a sucker for pretty packaging and the Loubilaque range's mermaid scales on a potion vial made me feel the need to drop £60 on lipglosses! Since lusting after this, I seem to have started wearing lipglosses more but ultimately, there is no such thing as  long lasting lipgloss. If anything, lipglosses tend to shorten the longevity of lipstick. Also, now that I've tried out a Christian Louboutin nail polish and come to the conclusion that it's not amazing enough to justify the price tag, I expect I'll experience the same with these glosses.

MAC Star Trek Collection

MAC has always been that brand that I love to hate. However, out of all the things on this list, this is the most difficult to resist. Despite being unable to claim myself as a Star Trek fan, I certainly have a lot of respect for it's cultural significance. While it's easy to dismiss the range as being nothing but a glitterbomb, the idea of shimmery/metallic lipsticks are intriguing. Unfortunately, all lip swatches I've seen online seem to be patchy and uneven. So I'm going to wait until these are in store to swatch them myself. If I'm lucky, they'll all be sold out by the time I manage to do that.

Kat Von D Serpentina Palette (Source)

Jewelled toned palettes are beautiful. So beautiful I already own quite a few and they all seem to have the same eyeshadow colours. A dark blue, dark green, dark red and gold along with other miscellaneous shadows. While I love the Egyptian theme of the palette, none of these shadows are particularly unique. I'm also put off by the fact that the palette isn't just a row of shadows. The loose pigment at the end feels like a waste of space as I feel as though there would have been enough space to fit two shadows there.
Kat Von D & Too Faced Collaboration (Source)

I feel bad mentioning two of Kat Von D's items, especially as I do genuinely love most items in her line. I also love the fact that two brands are actually collaborating with each other, something I don't think we've seen in the past. The magnetic heart packaging with it's contradictory pink princess vs dark goth aesthetic instantly makes me think of friendship necklaces which seems perfectly fit for a brand collaboration.

However, once I saw the inside of the packaging, I felt underwhelmed, with a bunch of neutrals and the odd pink and red shade it seemed uninspired. The logo on either sides of the palettes feel like wasted opportunity for another eyeshadow.

Urban Decay Vice Lipstick Palette

Despite longevity issues with Urban Decay's Revolution lipstick line, I loved the packaging and was sad to see them go. While I was very curious to try a new Vice lipstick, the packaging seemed flimsier and I was overwhelmed by choice. Urban Decay announcing 2 different lip palettes for Christmas season seems like the perfect solution to my dilemma. Nope.

I never use lip palettes, they just get ignored. It's so much easier for me to pick up a lipstick and throw it in my handbag than to carry both a lip palette and a lip brush. Cleaning the oil from lipsticks is tough and they can easily create a sticky mess in any bag. Lip brushes, while great for applying makeup perfectly or on someone else are impractical for everyday wear or on the go makeup.
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August 21, 2016

Beauty | Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Very Victoria

When the matte revolution line launched, I was at the Charlotte Tilbury stall swatching the entire collection's lipsticks all over my wrist debating which one's to buy. Very Victoria seemed like the safest bet, guaranteed to make a decent everyday nude lipstick appropriate for work. After finally making the purchase and taking obligatory blog photos, I tried it on my lips and found myself disappointed.

Very Victoria, named after Victoria Beckham, is described as a suede taupe nude lipstick. For a matte lipstick, I felt that the lipstick only provided a sheer coverage on my naturally dark lips. Either that or Very Victoria happens to be the exact same colour as my lips. It makes me feel as though I'm not wearing any lipstick at all. I certainly wouldn't describe the finish as matte but more along the lines of a satin finish. You may have better luck with this if your lips are lighter than mine? To make matters worse, it doesn't seem to last particularly long without the help of a lip liner.

While I thought it was in my head, I'd keep coming back to this lipstick every few months and just feel so 'meh'  about it. My suspicions on it being off was confirmed during the release of Charlotte Tilbury's Hot Lips release, where Very Victoria was no longer classed as part of the Matte Revolution line but was now part of the Hot Lips collection.

Aside from the gorgeous packaging, the only real pro to Very Victoria is that it's an exact dupe to that Kylie Jenner lipstick everyone was obsessing over a while ago. A cruelty-free alternative to MAC.

Of all my Charlotte Tilbury purchases, this left me incredibly unsatisfied. It'll more than likely get passed on to someone else who'll appreciate it. With a price tag of £23, I learned the difficult lesson of not relying on arm swatches alone and to wear the product before parting with my money in future.

Have you tried any disappointing products recently?
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August 14, 2016

Beauty | Christian Louboutin Rouge Louboutin Nail Polish

Now that I've managed to stop spending my lunch breaks in a beauty hall, I've drastically cut the number of beauty spending sprees I go on. The downside is, that on the rare occasion I do splurge on makeup, the purchases are overly frivolous. After finishing up a bottle of red nail polish, I made the irrational decision to pick up one of the most expensive bottles of nail polishes out there, Christian Louboutin's Rouge Louboutin. Yes, I judge me too.

With a black ombre glass bottle and a handle inspired by calligraphy, the same length as the stiletto heels of Louboutin's shoes, the polish is unlike any other on the market. The long handle makes storage impractical, it's better suited as a display piece for the dressing table. The length of the handle makes for easy application but is slightly heavy. For better control, I had to grip close to the brush.

Rouge Louboutin is a bright in your face red. One that perfectly matches the iconic black and red shoe. The formula dries down surprisingly quickly so I managed to not mess up my nails as they dried down. While it is quite a chip-resistant polish, I found it begins to chip away around the 4th day without a top coat. Despite the decent formula, I wouldn't say it's so good it's worth the price point ($50 in the US or £36 in the UK). You're paying the extra buck for the brand and luxury packaging. Whether that's worth it is going to vary per individual.

Will I be buying another? Maybe. As lovely as they are I don't quite see myself collecting them all with my current income. If I bought another it would have to be a truly unique shade or one that I knew I'd get a lot of use of. In the meanwhile, I have several other nail polishes to use up before I even consider trying a new one.
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August 11, 2016

Brand Roundup | Best of Nyx Cosmetics

2016, the year that NYX Cosmetics finally became easily available across the UK in major retailers like Boots and Selfridges. They seem to be a brand that's quite easy to buy in every other country, it's about time they finally made it here. NYX isn't a brand whose items I'd use for my daily face (with one exception). My favourite thing about NYX is that they're an affordable way to try out unconventional trends with an amazing range of products.

Color Mascara | When lots of brands began coming out with colourful mascara, it seemed as though it was only midrange and high end brands that were doing them. Knowing that I'd rarely ever wear them, I didn't want to spend that much money on something I'd wear to the occasional festival or night out. Thankfully NYX's only cost me £5.50. NYX's colour mascara comes in mint green, purples, coral, royal blue, pink and black. The only downside is that I find I have to really layer and pack the mascara on to make sure the colour applies on every lash.

Butter Lipsticks | The NYX butter lipsticks come in 22 different shades and are my all time favourite NYX product. While I've always been a matte lipstick woman, the butter lipsticks are the first to make me embrace the glossy satin finish. The plus side of the finish is that they're rather moisturising and feel more daytime/work appropriate than matte dark/berry lipsticks.  For an affordable satin finish lipstick, they're reasonably long lasting.

Vivid Bright Liners | The vivid bright range provides eyeliners in all the colours of the rainbow and 2 pinks. I currently only own the red eyeliner, Fire. It's rather opaque but if you skim on the product you'll definitely need to layer it. It's not waterproof which means the tips of my wings fade during hay fever season. They're a great alternative to Lime Crime's uniliners and a better price. Stopping myself from catching them all has been a struggle.

Jumbo Pencil in Milk | The holy grail item that everyone mentions. Milk makes an excellent white base for any troublesome eyeshadows, especially pastels or the usual culprit colour, yellow! It's a must for bright colourful eye makeup, the white base really helps make the colour pop. Best to skip if you dislike bright makeup.

Macaron Lippies | I don't consider the macaron lippies (review) to be a great product. The quality is seriously lacking in most shades. You'll find yourself layering the lipsticks for pigmentation and it fades quickly. They still deserve an honourable mention for being one of the first drugstore brands to release unconventional lip colours.
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