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

Monday, 27 February 2012

NOTD - Maybelline Red Seduction

It's been a long time since I painted my nails red but for some reason I haven't felt in the mood for a while. I was about to paint my nails in Mushroom (Barry M) when this old red Maybelline bottle caught my eye and without a second thought I used that instead.

Maybelline Express Finish - Red Seduction

Sometimes its about more than colour, and this bottle I've had since early 2007. I remember when I bought it, in Superdrug in Greenwich, and on the same day I bought some fishnet tights and a gorgeous grey tweed pencil skirt which hugged in all the right places. That night I painted my nails with the deep red polish and the next day I strutted my stuff in the fishnets and the pencil skirt, decked out like a 40's bombshell.

I remember so vividly how wonderful it felt to embrace such glamour and the red nails were the icing on the cake. Aptly named Red Seduction, it proved to deliver it's promise....

 This old bottle is probably my most used polish, although the last time I picked it up was about 4 years ago. It's thickened somewhat but is still usable. The formula was one of those quick-dry ones and it never failed me when I was in a hurry.

Seeing this on my nails again reminds me exactly why I always loved it, but more importantly, it takes me back to the time when I felt at my most glamourous and makes me want to reinstate that feeling once more.

Somehow my blue cupboard seems to show off my manicure better than a standard white background!

Maybelline Express Finish in Red Seduction is still available online at prices ranging from £1.49. I'm not entirely certain if it's been discontinued in the UK but I'm assuming that it has been, hence the number of discount cosmetics websites selling it off cheaply. However Red Seduction is still available here in Belgium, I saw it in Di the other day :)

Friday, 24 February 2012

NOTD - L'Oreal Color Riche in French Riviera (601)

Now, I was worried about this one. It's baby blue and shimmery, and although pretty in the bottle I was sceptical about how it would translate on the nails.

Not being a teen anymore, and firmly out of my 'baby blue' phase which reached it's peak in the late 90's (literally everything I bought was baby blue...), I wondered whether I could re-kindle this previous affection and bring it up to date with a more 'mature' (eugh, hate that word) finesse.

Still, I didn't have a colour like this in my ever-increasing polish stash so I thought it would be good to both test the new L'Oreal formula and push the experimentation boat out a bit more...

L'Oreal Colour Riche polish in French Riviera (601)
 ...and I'm so glad I did.

This is sooo pretty. The shimmer is very subtle and only visible when you look very closely. Artificial light brings it out beautifully and I think I've managed to capture it reasonably well in the photos (which you can expand to see it more clearly).

L'Oreal French Riviera (601)

 There is also a nice colour shift depending on what light you are under. The blue is paler and slightly greyer in these photos due to the brighter light, but in darker settings it takes on more of a true baby blue hue but still with that grey undertone which keeps it from being too cutesy.

I'm so pleasantly surprised with this and I know that I will wear it more than once. It's quite a flattering and wearable pale blue, don't you think?

Formula wise this was a breeze to apply. The consistency was just right, not too thick or too watery and the unique brush helped the colour glide on my nails with ease. I like that it's curved which means that you don't end up making a mess around the cuticles.

L'Oreal Colour Riche polish brush

By the way in all these photos you see two coats with Essie Good to Go top coat. One coat is possible but ever so slightly uneven and is obviously a much sheerer version of what you see here.

I wanted to take a photo showing my rose pink cardigan with the nails, I just love a pink and blue combo, because I'm a softy!

What do you think of this blue? Would you wear it?

Next up, will be the other L'Oreal colour I picked up, So Chic Pink. It's coral time once more, folks!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Springtime Spree (including L'Oreal Rouge Caresse)

I didn't mean to, honestly, but the colours were so purrrrrrrrty......

I was lured into temptation by the new L'Oreal window display in Di and I ventured inside to have a nosey about. Now, I'm sure I've said this before, but I really don't like L'Oreal that much. The adverts annoy me, and I find the products expensive for what they are and somehow a bit cheap looking. There are one or two goodies, that's for sure, but in general the brand is so EVERYWHERE that it has no lustre for me whatsoever.

L'Oreal Color Riche nail polishes in 208 So Chic Pink and 601 French Riviera

But it looks like they've given some of their products a mini make-over and I like it! The nail polishes are particularly dinky, housed in 5ml bottles and every single colour cried out to me like a lamb bleating for it's mother...

I picked up a coral (surprise surprise) and a baby blue with a touch of shimmer. I haven't swatched them yet, but I tried the blue on my pinky nail and the first thing that struck me was the unusual brush. It's fan-shaped, wide and flat. I would say I have medium sized nail beds and one stroke with this brush would definitely cover my whole nail. If you have tiny nails this might not be the best brush for you.

Color Riche polish brush

(Incidently when I got home I compared my new coral to all my other corals only to find that I'd bought yet another identical coral.....  What is wrong with me????)

 I also saw the brand new Rouge Caresse lipsticks, which I'm pretty sure are L'Oreal's answer to Revlon's mega popular lip butters, as yet unavailable in Europe. They are basically a hybrid between a lip balm and a lipstick, giving a sheer wash of colour and a shiny finish.

All the colours looked gorgeous, I mean, really really gorgeous. I plumped for 06 Aphrodite Scarlet (amazing name!) which incidently is what the model is wearing in the Rouge Caresse campaign:

Rouge Caresse - Aphrodite Scarlet (L'Oreal advert)
Here is Aphrodite Scarlet on me.
Bare Lips

With Aphrodite Scarlet

It pulls more cherry-red on my very pigmented red, but I like that. It also feels very light and comfortable on the lips and has a good 'slip'. I had a sniff in the shop and I thought that these were mildly fruit scented, but my one at least doesn't have a scent. I kind of wish it was lightly fragranced with a touch of grapefruit or something, because all I can sense is a slightly waxy taste. This won't stop me from using it though as the colour is really gorgeous and it really gives me a 'lift'.

Rouge Caresse Aphrodite Scarlet, swatch
On my way out I also grabbed a Bourjois shadow I've been hankering after for a whole year but which is always sold out. It's so pretty, and I LOVE it. A matt peach pink with silver glitter particles. I'm wearing it today and I feel like a ballerina (or as Mr P would say, a hippo in a tutu a la Fantasia....).

I'm so annoyed at how the lovely packaging is ruined already! They have this stupid practice of wrapping cheap sellotape around the whole product to prevent skanks from swatching the non-testers and it's almost impossible to remove it without wrecking your nails and the packaging. I can't seem to remove the tape residue so it's all manky now :(

Bourjois Intense eyeshadow in 03

There also appears to be a new Maybelline range which I haven't seen in the UK but which has been in Brussels for a few weeks now. It's called Fit Me and it encompasses a range of new foundations, concealers and powders. I tried the Fit Me concealer and liked the smooth, light texture, so I thought I'd give that a go seeing as my Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection is running low.

Swatch of Maybelline Fit Me concealer, shade 25, thick (L), blended out slightly (R)

This info will only be of interest to those residing in Belgium, but Di is also running a few offers at the moment, 25% off L'Oreal, Bourjois & Rimmel, plus there is the opportunity to claim your money back on a L'Oreal product, make sure you take a form before you leave the store.

Have you seen this stuff in drugstores where you live?

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Lush Colour Supplement Review

I picked this up at the Lush in Place Stephanie, Brussels at the end of October on the store's opening day. I promised back then that I would review it along with the L'Oracle (Vanishing Cream) moisturiser that I also bought, so here's my tuppence worth.

The pot is lip balm sized but the product itself is very concentrated. Lush say that you can use this one of three ways; as a tinted moisturiser mixed in with a face cream, as a foundation applied neat over your moisturised skin, and as a concealer applied directly to blemishes and blended out.

Lush Colour Supplement in Dark Yellow

At first I couldn't get the hang of using this. I tried a couple of times using it as a tinted moisturiser, mixing a small amount into the Vanishing Cream and then applying it to my face, but this did not give me near enough coverage and I wasn't convinced it made me look that much better. As a concealer this doesn't really cut the mustard, but I always use a separate concealer anyway so for me it's not a problem. 

Colour-wise I picked the shade Dark Yellow which suits my pale olive skin quite well. For reference I'm shade B30 in Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua, and when I used to use Dior Forever foundation I was shade 030 in that.
It's one of those base products that seems to adapt somewhat to your skin tone and doesn't really alter your natural colouring as can sometimes happen with foundation which is a tad too pink or orange.

Lush Colour Supplement - Dark Yellow, swatched heavily

Another heavy swatch!

So, not being that convinced by it I left it to languish a bit in my make-up box only to pull it out recently and give it a second chance. This time I applied it over freshly moisturised skin....
..... and then the magic happened.

My skin just glowed with health.  There was coverage, not full-coverage but enough for me not to go crazy with the concealer afterwards. It had blended beautifully into my skin and was undetectable. The finish is what I would call satin, kind of between matte and dewy, and is generally the kind of finish I favour.

What a result! I couldn't believe I'd left this lying dormant in my collection for so long. I was so enamoured with my Vitalumiere Aqua though, that nothing else really got a look in. The reason why I got to rediscover it was because my skin was feeling a bit dull and dry and Vitalumiere Aqua just didn't seem to be giving me enough oomph in the glow department. This Colour Supplement has proved to be the tonic I needed.

For me the key to loving this has been in the application. Mixing it with moisturiser just didn't work for me. Neither does applying it to dry skin, by which I mean un-moisturised skin or skin without a trace of moisturiser left on it. This kind of goes against the traditional beauty rule of letting your moisturiser sink in properly beforehand, but with the Lush Colour Supplement I find it doesn't blend so well on a drier skin. The slight slip of moisturiser helps it on it's way.

My moisturiser of choice with this has been Oilatum Natural Repair or Lush's Vanishing Cream which I will review very soon, suffice to say that I'm on my second pot of the stuff.

Overall this is a very good quality product for the price (well, for the UK price at least!). Lush need to promote these more as they are often hidden away in the shop and somehow don't inspire much confidence. 

Score: 8/10

Lush's Colour Supplement is £7.95 in the UK for 20g / €15.95 in Belgium (What on earth is up with those Euro price hikes??)

Have you tried this?

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Nudes & Neutrals Nail Wheel - Picture Heavy :)

They're easy to wear, effortlessly chic and forgive even a shaky hand, don't we all love a good nude nail polish?

Once upon a time 'natural' coloured nails were all about the French manicure and those sheer baby pinks which contrasted strongly against those vixen, wantonly reds and their even brasher, brightly coloured sisters.

Nowadays, nudes come in all different tones and there is definitely more than one way to go naked on the nails. Baby pink doesn't even get a look in....

I invested (well... all of £1.50 or something like that) in some nail wheels from ebay just before Christmas and I've been organising them into colour families, both for fun and also for my own reference. My collection has quadrupled since last year and sometimes I look into my nail boxes and just can't choose. These nail wheels will definitely help the painstaking decision making process :)

So, here is the 'jeans and t-shirt' nail wheel. My current and somewhat modest (hmmm must remedy that...) collection of neutral shades:

Here you can see the beautiful shimmer in the two Essie shades in the middle, Au Naturel and Sand of a beach

Another gratuitous pic of the Essie polishes! Check that fine shimmer!

Unfortunately I smudged the OPI, it took at least 4 coats to get that depth of colour, it's a very sheer polish.

 The OPI Altar Ego polish was my wedding day choice. It looks a lot better on the nail than on the dead white plastic of the nail wheel but it is quite sheer. It adds a pretty irridescent pink shimmer and is suitably bridal. It would make a nice layering polish, in fact I might try it over one of the others....

Here you can see the very fine shimmer in the Model's Own Pro polish (centre)

Swatching them all the wheel was a revelation, they are all quite different (to me at least!). I realised how much I really love some of them, and I have to say that it's an extremely close call between the two Essie polishes and my Ciate one, but I think that Ciate my still win the crown for being my favourite.  I also had a hankering to wear the Barry M Mushroom shade again, it's just so effortlessly chic and makes me feel 'expensive'!

Which shades do you like best?

Nude polishes, the line up!

Friday, 17 February 2012

I feel pretty, and witty, and gay!

That's gay as in 'joy', folks. I'm not making any declarations here regarding closets and coming out of them....

What's been making me feel gay? Nars Gaiety, that's what.

I decided last week when I was back in old Londinium that I was in the market for a new Nars blush. Don't ask me why.... I just love the quality of Orgasm (mega lolz) and I wanted to shake things up a bit with a slightly fresher, less shimmery shade but of the same quality.
I was looking in particular at Torrid and Deep Throat (again, mega lolz), but this little number from the latest Spring 2012 collection caught my eye.

It's just so pink and pretty. Almost scarily pink, and scarily cool-toned candy coloured, but I was drawn to it all the same and so I tried it on.

I was with GG at the time and there was a collective gasp when I saw my reflection and my previously tired yellow face looked back at me with a freshness and prettiness I didn't think was possible from such a garish, almost gimmicky colour.

Nars Gaiety blush

My photos can't quite capture the vividness of this shade but this one below is the closest in that it captures more of the cool tones.

Nars Gaiety, swatched (L) Blended out swatch (R)
I'm sure this is not supposed to work on warmer skin tones such as my own, but somehow it does. It just 'lifts' the complexion, instantly making me look less tired and more youthful. Not that I'm that old! It really is 'instant pretty' and that's exactly what I wanted.

The texture is soft and matte, but not flat matte, almost satin. There is no shimmer but it still somehow manages to impart a gorgeous glow to the skin. Pigmentation is good but not as strong as some of the other Nars blushes, but I think this is a good thing in this case as the colour is quite bright. I personally find strongly pigmented blushes a bit hard to handle and have had a few 'Aunt Sally' days to prove it...

(For those of you who don't know who, or what, Aunt Sally is:)

But back to this gorgeous blush....
Heavy swatch (L), blended out (R)
I've been wearing this every day since I bought it and I love it. It's very easy to use and I can build it up nicely to the intensity I like (I have no natural cheek colour so I like a bit more blush than some people). It also looks stunning with a touch of highlighter on top, like my MAC Soft and Gentle.

If you're looking for a new Spring blush then this one is absolutely one to check out.

In the UK it's £21 and available in various department stores, Space NK (where I bought mine) and online.

I've yet to find a place in Brussels that sells NARS, although there is always mail order via