Musings of a self-confessed beauty addict from the heart of London!

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer Review

I would never have even considered going near Collection 2000 to pick up anything other than a cheapo nail polish. I think I was scarred by my nineties memories of skulking around the uber budget make-up displays and seeing how scummy the Collection 2000 one was. Even I, a penniless teenager who had no idea how to use mascara, knew that there were limits to how cheap one should go. Everything about the display looked kind of skanky, the packaging was just ugly, and no one had bothered to clear away lipgloss splodges smeared over the shelves and broken eyeshadow and lipstick testers. It was back then the Skid Row of make-up brands, it even made Rimmel look chic.

But as we all know, Rimmel have come into their own, particularly in the last few years. Collection 2000, although obviously much improved, I still hadn't much faith in. I tried their Big Fake Lash last year, after much Youtube hype, and was disappointed. It dried out in TWO WEEKS!!

But onto the review.... (finally, I hear you say)

So I heard about this concealer, and about how it rivals all the big expensive brands of concealer in terms of pigmentation, lasting power, concealability (is that a word? It is now.) etc. I picked up the medium shade (no.3) when I was last in London. It cost £4.19 from Boots and was the most 'expensive' of the other Collection 2000 concealers.

I'll get straight to the point. This stuff is brilliant. It kind of knocks spots off my expensive Make-up For Ever Lift concealer, which has been relegated to the bottom of my make-up box.

This baby is extremely pigmented and a little goes a long way. The colour is perfect for my pale, olive skin and it really covers my terrible dark circles, which is what I primarily bought it. It's great at covering blemishes too, even better than my Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage, which I find a bit fiddly and dry. You need an amount about half a grape-seed to camouflage each under-eye.

It's a thick liquid and comes with a doe-foot applicator, which I know some people hate, but for blemishes and pimples I actually remove some from the wand and use it with a brush. So no hygiene problems there.

The texture is so smooth and once blended (don't wait too long to blend as it sets within about 20 seconds) it really does stay put all day.

Yesterday was the ultimate test run. A day spent in 35 degree heat, an hour in a tin-can train which brought the temperature up to about 40 degrees, then a huge downpour. I came back home expecting to see a make-up downpour too, but everything was where it was meant to be.

This is now my go-to concealer every day. I use it over a bit of  Garnier tinted roll-on as this serves to brighten the whole eye area up a bit, and then I'll use it for my heavy duty coverage.

Did I mention that it also looks very, very natural? Even in daylight. My under-eye area has never looked better than when using this. The darkness under my eyes is minimised greatly. I still prefer a more natural look though, which is why I can still see the shadow but I don't want to layer it on even more or else it will become cakey and to me that's worse than a bit of under-eye darkness.

I'm so pleased with this that I'm going to get a back-up before going to the US, but in a darker colour in case I tan. That shows how much I can't bear to be without it now....

Have you tried this concealer? What's your all-time favourite cover-up?

Friday, 24 June 2011

Sally Hansen's "Airbrush Legs" Review

I meant to write this earlier this week but got caught up doing French exams and other less-fun things.

While I was in London I went to a wedding and I desperately wanted to wear my cute little Zara dress with lemons on it. I bought it in the sale two summers ago and hadn't had a chance to pull it out until this year. Last year I was too thin for it (boohoo..... NOT) and this year I'm juicy again, so out it came.

The only problem was my legs. They were in that awkward mid-waxing stage where even once I'd epilated I could still see black spots where those bastard hairs were trying to break through. And to top it off my legs were the colour of sour milk. I had tried to fake tan for a few days prior to the wedding, but what with Mr P telling me I stank like Ghaddafi's camel (his words.... yes, really) while the tan was developing, I'd decided that perhaps it was not the most sociable thing in the world to continue to use it.

I took some nude coloured fishnet tights with me just in case. I'm so glad I did, but even with the tights you could see that my legs were not looking great.

I remembered that a couple of weeks back my friend had told me about Sally Hansen's Airbrush Legs saying that she used to use it when her legs needed a bit of extra help. In desperation I ran to Boots on the morning of the wedding and picked up a bottle.

Sally Hansen's Airbrush Legs - Tights in a bottle!

Now, I find the name "Airbrush Legs" misleading. To me it sounds like you are meant to spray the product directly on to the legs and it will emit a fine mist of perfection which will make you look like someone has kindly given you the skin of a supermodel. What you are supposed to do is spray the product in your hand first and then apply it onto your legs, a bit like you'd apply a light body lotion.

The texture is quite runny, it looks like a watery liquid foundation, and it's best to start with a little at a time and rub it into the skin really well. I bought the Medium Glow. I think there are other shades but to be honest I've only ever seen this medium one in all the Boots I've been to since. The colour is perfect for me, I would describe it as a golden olive shade and is not overly tanned.

This is essentially foundation for your legs. It successfully hid the blotchiness on my skin, the tiny black hair dots, a massive bruise on my shin from where I'd slipped in the bath earlier that morning, and the tiny red veins on my thighs. Very, VERY impressed! And my legs were a beautiful colour, very natural, and not fake looking. There is a slight shimmer but I really loved it, it was not overly shimmery and shiny, but very flattering on the skin and it stops the effect from looking too 'flat' in my opinion.

And what about the staying power? Well, I still wore the tights as it was cold that day. I thought, well if it comes off on the tights that doesn't really matter. When I took my tights off that night they were as good as new. I was intending to shower before going to bed obviously, but I was so whacked after such a long day that I put on my pale pink pijamas and went straight to bed. Oh well, I'll wash the sheets in the morning....

Come morning, not a smidgen of product on pijamas or sheets. I'm gobsmacked. I got into the shower and expected to see a waterfall of beige running into the plughole. Nothing. And then I got my sponge and the shower gel and only then did the stuff start to wash off.

I really couldn't believe the staying power of this, and most importantly, the fact that it didn't transfer at all onto my clothes. When I had put it on I had noticed that it dried really quickly, in under a minute, but as a precaution I waited at least 5 minutes before dressing. Next time I won't worry so much.

And there will be a next time, because this baby is coming with me EVERYWHERE whenever I have to get my legs out. Think about how much time we invest perfecting the small area that is our face, when the mass of skin which we expose on our legs is just left completely 'undressed' most of the time. That doesn't make sense!

So big thumbs up for Sally Hansen's Airbrush Legs. It's £9.95 from Boots. Obviously it's available in the US, probably everywhere.

Score: 10/10

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Greeks bearing gifts!

In this case I had nothing to fear. My dear friend came to stay with me last week and decided not to bring a giant wooden horse (they've stopped selling them at Athens Airport duty free don't you know) but to bring me some beautiful make-up goodies instead. Swoon.....

From MAC she had bought me the new-ish mascara,  Haute and Naughty Lash,  which I was raving about when I saw how great it made her lashes look. It has two wands in one, if that makes sense. I couldn't photograph them together as each wand forms a part of the other and if you try and pull both out at once you end up in a mess with a wand in one hand and a bare stick in the other. So here are the too brushes photographed separately.

MAC Haute and Naughty Lash - lengthening wand

MAC Haute and Naughty Lash - volumising wand

I've used this a few times now and I like the double wand concept, it's fun and makes the mascara chore less boring. I wouldn't use it when I'm in a hurry as it doesn't really give me 'fast' volume and length, it takes some building up to do that. The lengthening wand gives pretty fluttering eyelashes which are perfect for a natural daytime look, but I like full-on thick, long lashes all the time so for me it's not quite enough. I tried using the volumising wand separately too, but this was unsatisfactory for me. Not enough length and separation. The lengthening wand is also supposed to be the lash separating one so I can see how they work well together. Overall the effect of both used together is quite good, but on me it's not as great as on my friend, proving that mascara suitability is totally a personal thing. You'd think that lashes are just, well, lashes and that what works for one will work for all, but this really isn't the case. I do like it though and will use it up happily. It doesn't flake or smudge which is a huge bonus. Score: 7/10

Also from MAC she bought me the Summer Stash crushed pigments from the Surf Baby collection. Now these I initially wasn't that interested in but OH MY GOD, they are just divine!  I'll let the swatches speak for themselves.

MAC Summer Stash

All four shades of Summer Stash swatched

Close-up of the violet-plum and golden-champagne shades

Close-up of the bronze-brown and palest pink-champagne shades

The colours don't seem to have names which is such a shame as you'll have to make do with my naff 1980's paint-chart colour descriptions. (Misty buff, anyone?)
We had a great deal of fun using the pigments to create the most stunningly elegant and expensive looking smokey eye. I can finally see why people use loose pigments, the effect on the skin is just something else, another level of quality. The texture of these ones is different to the regular MAC pigment powders. As you can see from the photo above, they are like little pots of dust and rubble. I won't lie, they are difficult to apply without making a complete mess. I actually think that using them wet will minimise the fall-out and stop you looking like a human disco ball. I also think that applying them with fingers may also work, at least just to lay down the colour. I used a combination of blending brushes and flat eyeshadow brushes and although they blend like a dream I just could not minimise the amount of fall-out. So absolutely, definitely use them BEFORE you put on your foundation as you're going to have to clean your face of glitter once you've finished your eyes. This is not for when you're in a hurry. The colours are so versatile and work equally well applied on their own or blended together. It is worth checking them out next time you go to MAC. I'm in love with them and hope to be putting them to good use this summer. Score 9/10

Last but not least came the new Diorskin Nude Glow Healthy Glow Summer Powder in Aurora (phew.... ). I blogged about seeing this about two weeks ago and I couldn't stop thinking about it. I told my friend and the sweetheart bought it for me.

Dior Healthy Glow Summer Powder in Aurora

One of the prettiest compacts this summer, n'est-ce pas?  
 This will probably be my most used product this summer. I'm not a fan of full-on bronzers but this is pale enough to be applied liberally and haphazardly to provide that gorgeous summer glow without looking like an extra from The Only Way is Essex. It is slightly shimmery, but it needs that touch of shimmer to give that 'glow'. I normally prefer bronzing powders to be matte, but this is somehow a hybrid between bronze, blush and radiance powder so it gets away with it. It is beautiful to look it, beautiful to hold, and luxurious to use. The brush it comes with is beautifully soft and a welcome change to the scratchy cheap brushes that usually come with compacts. It's a bit small to sweep all over the face, but for cheek top-ups on the go it's perfect. I've been sweeping it all over my face over my BB cream with my Ecotools blusher brush, concentrating it on my cheeks. The colour on me is a peachy pale bronze and I can skip blusher if I want to go for an au-naturel California beach babe type look. Very apt as I'll be in California in three weeks and this baby is definitely coming with me. Score 10/10

Thank you, my dearest darling friend for these wonderful presents! A gift of beauty is a joy forever :)

Another Rodial discount code

I thought it would only be fair to share yet another Rodial discount code with you all. It popped up in my inbox this morning and is valid until 3pm tomorrow, Wednesday 22nd June.

They are offering 50% off all their supplements, including Skinny Beach, Tummy Tuck and Glamtox sticks.

Just add your chosen supplement to your basket and enter the code  SUPPLEMENTSALE at the checkout.

I will start my pack of Skinny Beach tomorrow..... watch this space!

Monday, 20 June 2011

NOTD - Leighton Denny 'Do me a flavour'

That stands for NAIL OF THE DAY. Some will know that, some will not, but I just wanted to put it out there because a while back I saw NOTD everywhere and didn't know what the hell it meant.

Being currently nail polish obsessed I decided that the only way that I could deal with it blog-wise was to just to add short posts whenever I am overcome by nail polish prettiness.

So today's nail is Leighton Denny 'Do me a flavour'. A gorgeous, juicy bright orange lacquer which came free with this month's Harper's Bazaar. There are two other lovely colours if the orange doesn't take your fancy: Supermodel - a more neutral, mauve-y taupe and Viva la Diva - a vibrant red.

I absolutely LOVE this orange. I have it on my toes too and it looks fantastic. I can't wait to have a bit of a tan as it will most certainly look even more glorious against bronzed skin. The formula is quite thick, but it applies well. Two coats give the optimum shine and colour, but you could even get away with one in a hurry.

Leighton Denny - Do me a flavour

Leighton Denny polishes usually retail at £11 each so this Harper's Bazaar deal is a must if you've been wanting to try them out.

Well, what do you think? Will you be wearing juicy orange nails this summer?

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Soap & Glory "The Breakfast Scrub" Review

Apologies for the absence my darling beauty hounds, it's been a busy and knackering time since the last time I posted, but now I'm back with a vengeance in the form of some juicy new additions to my beauty arsenal :)
I acquired a few bits on my trip to London two weeks ago. Nothing extravagant, but definitely worthy of a mention. 

First up is Soap & Glory 'The Breakfast Scrub'.

Soap & Glory had the usual 3 for 2 offer going, so I picked up two Sit Tight (one for my friend, one for me) and I thought I'd try out one of their body scrubs seeing as I had run out of my L'Occitane Pate Delice and didn't feel like forking out almost 30 euros for another one.... well, not yet anyway. There are quite a few body scrubs in the Soap & Glory range, but The Breakfast Scrub looked the most appealing. I like body scrubs in pots. They are generally more gritty and 'scrubby' for lack of a better word, and I like a good scrubbing, it makes me feel totally renewed and glowing. Plus it's absolutely essential for combating those pesky ingrown hairs I get from waxing.

The first thing I noticed when I opened the pot was the smell. Actually my mouth noticed the smell first as my salivary glands went full speed ahead before I could register what it was,  such was the utter deliciousness of the contents. Delicious, that is, if you love the smell of maple syrup and obviously I do. The texture of the scrub is just right. It's made with sugar so it's not as harsh on the skin as some salt scrubs can be. There are some softer 'bits' in it which I'm assuming are the oats. It's described as an 'Oat, Shea Butter and Sugar Body Smoother' which also contains honey, banana and almond extract. Doesn't that want to make you eat it? Well, if you know me by now from some of my other posts you'll know that I have not been adverse in the past to try and eat my shower products. Thankfully this time I held back, but after I used it it gave me the strongest craving ever for porridge with maple syrup which I have been eating all week in homage to it.

I really do like this. It doesn't melt away at the first drop of water so you can get a good scrub even when under the shower. I usually use my scrubs on dry skin first to get maximum exfoliation (yeah, I'm hardcore...) and then I'll add a little water and work it in even more. This on the other hand needs a little water to get it moving on the skin first. The smell really does make you hungry. Or it could be that I'm always hungry anyway, so maybe that's not a fare statement. Still, it is a very sweet maple syrupy scent, so if you don't like sweet fragrances do not buy this. This is really as sweet as they come.
It rinses off easily and left my skin nice and smooth, as do most good body scrubs to be fare. I look forward to using it whenever I get into the shower and although I've been scooping it out by the handful (as you can see from the photo above!) you don't really need as much as that each time.

A 300 ml pot is £9.45 from Boots in the UK and £7.70 from ASOS which ships worldwide.

If you want a scrub to make your mouth water, then this is definitely it!

Score 8/10 (I would give it a 10 but the scent is so strong it could put a fare few off)

Have you tried this scrub? Do you like sweet smelling products? Let me know!

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Mimosa... Nailed!

I promise this will be the last Mimosa post.... honest! I just wanted to showcase my new nails (as in newly grown and cared for, not fake ones or overlays) dressed in the colour of the summer as I said I would a few posts ago. Considering the state of my nails two weeks back it's nothing short of a miracle that they now look like this. I've been rubbing almond oil into my cuticles 2-3 times a day and I've been using OPI Nail Envy for soft nails. I bought some in desperation in the middle of last week and so far I'm really pleased with the results.

Two gratuitous pictures, but I do believe that you can best see the subtle shimmer in the top one.

I do have to say that despite being the most glorious shade of yellow it is not the easiest of polishes to apply, the brush is quite long and thin and hard to control and it's difficult to get an even, non-streaky finish. Compared to the ease with which I apply my Rimmel or Bourjois varnishes it seems strange that such a high-end polish would behave awkwardly. It also takes longer to dry.

Oh well, it's on my nails now and I smile every time I look at them.
10/10 for colour, 5/10 for formula and application.

Ok.... no more Mimosa talk from now on.

Friday, 3 June 2011


Thought I would post this in case any of you fancy doing Project Slim with me this summer. For less than 24 hours, well up until midday tomorrow, Rodial are offering their Skinny Beach sticks for £9.95!!! The usual price is £48, so if you've always wanted to try them and have been put off by the (frankly exorbitant) price, then now's your chance.

I have not yet tried mine, purchased at the beginning of the year when they did a similar offer, although I paid £14.95, so this is even better! I can't say if they work or not, I'm waiting until two weeks before I leave for the USA to give them a shot.

All you have to do is go to, put the Skinny Beach Sticks into your basket and enter the code SKINNYBEACH at the checkout and the price will change to £9.95. That's it.

Please note I am not advocating slimming supplements as an alternative to a healthy diet and exercise regime, but you know that anyway, right? :)

Thursday, 2 June 2011

The Happy Wanderer

As soon as I was old enough to go wandering about the shops on my own without supervision (although Mr P would probably argue that I should never be left unsupervised....)  I would immediately hit Superdrug and linger about the aisles looking at make-up, perfume, shower gel and whatever else they had until security would start hovering around me waiting for this awkward, frizzy haired, over-sized teenage girl to pilfer the latest Rimmel lipstick and start running.

That would never happen of course. I can't run for a start.

Nowadays I can safely say that nothing has changed. My wanderings will inevitably take me towards a retailer of cosmetic goods like a moth to a flame. I can't help it, it's always been the way that I relax and de-stress. It's not the purchasing that I love, it's the browsing, choosing, selecting, trying, swatching, deciding....

(Actually that's a lie, I love the purchasing too :))

So the other day, I went wandering once again and I thought that I would share my thoughts on what I found and not make it an entirely wasted trip.

First stop was the department store and the Guerlain counter. I use the word counter in the loosest possible terms, as it's basically a mounted display where you pretty much serve yourself unaided, a bit like the more budget brands would have. Anyhow, Guerlain had their summer collection out which, as in every year, is pretty much dominated by the Terracotta stuff, a whole gamut of products to bronze you up in ways which you never knew existed; sprays, compacts, lotions, creams, body balms... you name it. I, however, was drawn by the new and limited edition Ombre Fusion cream eyeshadows which were packaged a little bit like lipglosses.

Guerlain Ombre Fusion Cream Eyeshadow - Summer 2011

There were 3 gorgeous shades, one pinkish, one bronzy-ish, and one khaki-ish (don't you just love my colour descriptions?). I swatched them all, and I loved them all. The colours were so easy to wear, perhaps the khaki one being my absolute favourite. The texture was creamy and blendable and the colour seemed to stay put. All three colours are slightly shimmery and the khaki and bronze shades are shot through with a gorgeous golden shimmer which I can imagine looking fantastic with a tan but also would work pretty well in the winter too. I love cream eyeshadows like this, they are so useful to pop into your travel make-up bag, no brushes required, maximum impact, minimum effort. Methinks I feel my wallet rumbling....

Also at Guerlain I spied the new Terra Inca compact, a hefty round wooden compact with beautiful engraving on the top encasing a gorgeous shimmery powder.

Very beautiful, very very expensive, and sadly not very versatile in my humble opinion. If only it had been matte.... There is a lot of product here and a lot of shimmer and I can't imagine how anyone would ever get value for money from it other than as a collectors' item. Unless of course you are permanently bronzed and you wish to use it all over the body too. This is a gorgeous, soft textured powder which creates a beautiful amber-bronze shimmer. In small doses as a highlighter it would be wonderful, and maybe as a blush, but I would absolutely not use it liberally as a bronzer, it's just too shimmery.

Moving over to Clinique I saw the new Moisture Surge tinted moisturiser and swatched that too. It was far more matte than I thought it would be and also looked like it had a decent amount of coverage, far more than my No7 tinted moisturiser which I bought about two months ago.

Obviously I can't say what it looks like on the face, but the texture and blendability looked very promising. I'm loving Clinique at the moment since I was introduced to the Liquid Facial Soap and the All About Eyes cream, both of which I'm really pleased with. I think that I'll be buying this once I've run out of the No7 one, although since my discovery of BB cream I'm not sure that's really going to be anytime soon.

Next stop Dior, and I was admiring the new palettes in Rosy Nude and Rosy Tan. Both very versatile and oh-so feminine.
Rosy Nude
Rosy Tan

Rosy Nude is more suited to paler complexions, and Rosy Tan would pretty much work on anyone. Gorgeous textures, smooth and creamy and easy to blend and very pigmented. Both would be wonderful on brides and bridesmaids. For excellent swatches check out the amazing and very dedicated KarlaSugar!

Another gorgeous palette was the DiorSkin Nude Glow Healthy Glow Summer (long, I know... ). I think this may be my bronzer of choice this summer, seeing as I've all but given up on my Bourjois Delice de Poudre (or Delice de Useless as I've decided to call it). There are two shades of this Healthy Glow compact, Aurora for pale complexions and Sunset for medium to dark skintones. Both are just stunning, with a satin finish and a barely there hint of shimmer which is almost undetectable on the skin. I'm in love.... and the packaging!! This is absolutely worth checking out.

DiorSkin Healthy Glow in Sunset

I popped into Ici Paris (for those of you unfamiliar with my blog it's one of the main cosmetics retailers here in Belgium) and had a nosey about there too. I had a sniff of a few perfumes, most notably Un Jardin Sur Le Toit (A Garden on the Roof!) by Hermes which I loved on first sniff.....

after about half an hour however I could smell more roof than garden and the dry down was not flattering on me at all, becoming quite harsh and masculine.

Remembering that it's Father's Day soon, I decided to buy my dad some cologne seeing as he gets through the stuff like water. I chose a fresh and non-offensive one called Eau des Minimes by the little known brand Le Couvent des Minimes, a French botanical cosmetics company, a little like L'Occitane with monks added.

Anything that's got that air of 'made by monks and nuns' seems like a good bet for an original gift, don't you think? Just think of the lure of the Farmacia of Santa Maria Novella in Florence....

I asked them to gift wrap the cologne. They did. It now looks like a gift for a 5 year girl, all pink butterfly wrapping paper and pink ribbons. Oh well, my dad needs to get in touch with his feminine side I suppose.