Sunday, 31 October 2010

Batiste - the Godfather of dry shampoo

My hair tends to get greasy pretty quickly, but I try not to wash it every day as I know this isn't good for it, and it makes my colour fade really fast. I've therefore tried pretty much all of the varieties of Batiste over the past couple of years, and this post is to highlight my favourites. There are many brands offering dry shampoos now, but Batiste is really the godfather of dry shampoo. It is my favourite because it's so cheap and readily available, which is important to me because I get through so much of the stuff

There are a wide variety of different types available, so hopefully this might be useful to anyone who hasn't tried Batiste before and is overwhelmed by all the different cans on the shelf!

L to R: Blush, Original, Tropical, Nude, Diva, Gold Shimmer, Brunette.

I get the same result volume-wise from Blush, Original and Tropical - the difference is just in the scent. Blush is quite floral, the Original is quite fresh and the Tropical I can only describe as smelling like summer holidays.

I will confess, I haven't tried the Gold Shimmer one myself, for obvious reasons, i.e. I have really dark hair, and I think it would look a bit odd on me. It has a fine gold shimmer and I think it would suit a festival or clubbing environment more than heading for the office, which is when I usually use dry shampoo!

Here are my favourites:

L to R: Nude, Diva and Brunette

Nude - this is an aerosol-free dry shampoo, basically how it works is that you shake out the powder directly onto your hair and then rub in and brush through as with the spray versions. This is great for anyone who doesn't like to use aerosols, or if you want a completely unscented product. I like this because you can use the nozzle to be a lot more precise about where you apply the product than you can with the spray version. Often if I've got my hair tied up, I only want to apply dry shampoo to the very front sections.

Diva - this is the one that I found the least 'powdery' out of all the varieties. I can spray on quite a lot of this without getting the grey-haired look so long as I brush through properly. It is very strongly-scented, which I don't mind because I like the smell, but if you didn't then that could be a problem.

Brunette - I've reviewed this one before on my blog here, and I still really like it. Although the colour is a bit strange, so long as it is brushed through properly, I'm left with no grey bits, and I love the smell of this one too.

Which is your favourite Batiste? Or do you use another brand of dry shampoo?

Disclaimer - PR samples provided for review

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Nail Rock Designer Nail Wraps

This was a bit of an impulse purchase from ASOS recently. I'm a sucker for a discount code, and since I had a 20% off code I thought I'd use it for something silly, that I wouldn't usually buy. I went for these 'nail wraps' in a black and white lace, and a purple leopard-print design, after I'd seen them on nicolavc86's blog last week.  

Tonight I'm going to a Moulin-Rouge themed charity event, so went for the lace ones. Doesn't really go with my costume, but never mind. I'm always tempted by nail art, but I'm far too cack-handed to pull it off, and don't want to pay for someone else to do it, so these are a happy medium.

My nails are quite small and bell-shaped, so in order to get these to fit, I had to trim them to size which was a bit fiddly. There's no way I'd manage to use these on my toes, as my toenails are teeny! Once I'd got them cut to size they were very easy to apply - you just press on to your nail at the cuticle, then blast them with a hairdryer to soften and press down onto one side of your nail at a time to smooth them down. I then filed off the ends. It was even reasonably easy to do on the nails of my right hand. Not much skill required, which is good for me!

Since I only did these this morning I can't comment on  the longevity. The pack claims 7 days of wear, but they probably won't last that long on my nails as nothing does. I'll keep them on and report back how long it takes before they start to peel off! To remove, you just apply heat from a hairdryer and peel them off, then use nail varnish remover to get rid of any excess adhesive. Since these are essentially stickers, I can see no reason why they'd damage your natural nails in any way.  

Would I repurchase? Probably not, unless I wanted a particular design to fit with a fancy-dress costume or something. I think they are quite expensive for what they are, and since the sizes aren't great for my nails I had to do a lot of faffing around trimming them. It ended up taking longer than it would have done to just paint my nails and use a fast-drying topcoat. If you've got bigger nails though, this wouldn't be a problem.

I got these from, where there are a number of colours and designs available. The packs are £6.50 for 24 wraps. (P.S. use the discount code "PARTY" at the checkout for 20% off....)

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Quick NOTD - OPI Pamplona Purple

I'm still working my way through the 9 polishes I got in my ASOS haul a few weeks back. This one is OPI Pamplona Purple, a dark dirty plum colour that conveniently matches perfectly the top I was wearing to work today. Love a bit of matchy matchy!

This is two coats and Seche Vite topcoat. Great formula, but OPI really smells, doesn't it?!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Today I'm playing with the big girls.......

.....Guest blogging over on Zuneta! I'm a bit late in posting about this today as work has been insane, but I'm really pleased to be part of their latest guest blogger group, following in the footsteps of some of my favourite bloggers like Lipglossiping, Modesty Brown and I Heart Cosmetics. Please go and take a look, you know you want to.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Jergens Naturals Body Moisturisers - I think it's love

Body moisturiser. Not the most exciting, not the most glamourous, but at this time of year when I spend my days in an alternating centrally-heated or air-conditioned office, legs firmly esconsed in 60 denier tights, it's important! At this time of year, I have the magic combination of oily skin on my face, but dry skin on my body. Left to it's own devices, I get rough elbows, scaly shins and flaky arms, and don't even get me started on my heels.

In the mornings, however, I don't have time to sit around for an hour before I can get dressed, after greasing myself up with body butter. So what I'm looking for in a body lotion is something that provides enough moisture to get me through the day but is quickly absorbed, preferably smells nice and isn't more than a fiver, because I get through loads of the stuff.

Step forward Jergens Naturals. Currently to be seen sponsoring (for some reason) Channel 4's Wedding House, I've passed these in Boots many a time but never picked one up. However, I was sent the Total Nourishment and Ultra Hydrating formulas a few weeks back, and I have used them every day since then. Given that I've got about 10 other bottles, tubes and tubs in the bathroom at the moment, this is testament to how impressed I've been with this product. 

The Ultra Hydrating formula claims to double skin hydration instantly, with key natural ingredients including Jojoba Oil to help hold in moisture, Avocado for Vitamins A, D and E, and Olive Oil to moisturise and nourish. The Total Nourishment formula promises visibly healthy and nourished skin, courtesy of the super-food ingredients Acai Berry, Cranberry and Mangosteen Extract. All products are paraben-free and not tested on animals.

Both are quickly absorbed and provide lasting moisture. If you have very, very dry skin these might not be intensive enough for you. If I'm applying at night I'd still go for something thicker, but for daytime these are absolutely perfect. On balance, I slightly prefer the Total Nourishment one, because I love the smell, which is fresh and berry-ish (if that's a word!) without being too sweet.

The packaging is fine - I like a tube for this kind of product since it's more hygienic than a tub and easier to squeeze out every last bit of product than a bottle. It's also handy that these come in small, 75ml tubes too - perfect for if you just want to try it out, or you want a smaller size to take on holiday.

I have also heard good things about the Firming and Cocoa Butter Jergens formulas, so those two are next on my hit list.

I will definitely purchase these again once the tubes I've got have run out. I think the quality is excellent for the price, and would recommend these. (I had excellent results with these products but, as always, everyone's skin is different and if you have particularly sensitive skin they might not be suitable.

Have you tried any Jergens? What's your favourite body moisturiser?

*PR sample provided for review

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

NOTD - OPI Panda-Monium Pink

Another day, another OPI NOTD.  This is Panda-Monium Pink from the 2010 Hong Kong collection.  It's is a pale, opaque, pink creme with a hint of lilac, not the most exciting colour in the world, but it's the type of polish I get a lot of use out of, especially for work.  This is two coats and a top-coat.  A great buy for £4 (thanks again ASOS sale)

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Lipstick of the Week - Lipstick Queen Medieval

Another week, another red lipstick. This is a very different animal from last time though. I've had Medieval for about a year and it's had a fair amount of wear, especially in the winter. This is another Lipstick Queen lippie, and the concept behind it is one of a suits-all sheer cherry red shade, inspired by Medieval times when women would use lemon juice to stimulate the lips and stain them red.

You can see from the hand swatch just how sheer this is. It is buildable though, the first picture shows one quick swipe, and the second is two layers.

This lipstick contains Vitamin E, and it's not at all drying. Because it is so sheer, it's not particularly long lasting, but when it fades off it does leave a very faint stain on your lips which I think looks quite pretty in its own right.

This is another pricey one - £19.50 from Space NK. For the amonut of wear I've had out of it, it is worth it for me though.

Are there any other good sheer reds out there that you'd recommend? Have you seen a cheaper dupe for this?

Sunday, 17 October 2010

NOTDs - Essie Haute as Hello, OPI No Spain No Gain

Hmm, I do like this colour but I think I needed 3 coats really, it looks a bit patchy in the photo, although it didn't seem it in real life. It's a bright coral-pink colour, kind of like MAC Jazzed lipstick in nail varnish form. Lasts well, like all my Essies.

Next, OPI No Spain No Gain. There's a little tip wear since I'd had this on a couple of days by the time I took the photo. Rich purpley-burgundy colour, very autumnal, very nice. One of my favourites of the polishes I got.

What are your favourite Essie and OPI shades?

Saturday, 16 October 2010

MAC Holiday 2010 Collection - A Tartan Tale

I don't usually post about forthcoming collections and product launches, but I'm looking forward to this one!  I love practically all of the colours and the overall look.  It's another big launch, with 5 lipsticks, 4 Dazzleglass Creme lipglosses, 7 eyeshadows, 3 pigments, 5 Pearlglide Intense liners, 2 powder blushes and 2 nail varnishes, most of which are limited edition. Phew!

I'll have to wait to see swatches, but at first glance I really really really want the fuschia blush!

A Tartan Tale launches in the US at the end of October and the rest of the world in November.

Is anyone else looking forward to this collection? Which Christmas collections are you waiting for?

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Liz Earle review - Instant Boost Skin Tonic and Skin Repair Moisturiser Light

In a post a couple of months ago I mentioned that I'd bought myself some Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, and it was like coming back to an old friend. One of the PRs from Liz Earle got in touch with me after that, and they not only sent me another Cleanse and Polish, but also the toner and moisturiser to try too.

These arrived a couple of weeks ago, beautifully wrapped as ever.

I received the Instant Boost Skin Tonic and the Skin Repair Moisturiser Light (for Combination / Oily skin).

The Instant Boost Skin Tonic (hereafter called the toner, as it's a bit of a mouthful otherwise!) is alcohol free, non-drying yet still refreshing. It doesn't sting at all, as a lot of toners can, and smells delicious. Active ingredients include aloe vera, vitamin E, chamomile, cucumber and sweet orange oil, so all very soothing as you can imagine. It smells lovely and is available as a pump spray too, which would be great for the summer.

If my skin is feeling particularly spotty or oily then I do feel like I need a slightly stronger toner, but this is a great everyday product to refresh your skin after cleansing. The packaging has a twist top which is great for controlling how much product comes out of the bottle at a time, and it survived a weekend in a make up bag in the Lake District without leaking!

Happily the arrival of the moisturiser coincided with the arrival of the much colder weather. This moisturiser is one that I think might be too thick for me in the summer - even though it's the 'light' version I get particularly oily when the weather is warmer. However, for me, for winter, it's fab. I've heard other people say they didn't like the smell, but I quite like it. I use two pumps at night, and one in the morning. It doesn't take long to sink in, which is a good thing for me, as I'm always running late in the morning. It keeps my skin moisturised all day, without making it excessively shiny, and hasn't broken me out (I've given it a two week trial), bonus!

The moisturiser contains borage oil, echinacea, hops, avocado oil, panthenol and vitamin E. I would usually choose a completely oil-free moisturiser, but my skin has been fine with this one.

The one negative for me is with the packaging, where it's hard to judge how much product is left. I only use a little at a time so I imagine it'll last me quite a while, but I'll have to get a backup in case it runs out and I'm left without! The pump packaging is great though, much more hygienic that sticking your fingers in a moisturiser jar. I will definitely be repurchasing when this one runs out.

*PR sample provided for review

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

NOTD - OPI Barefoot in Barcelona

This is one of those beigey nudey shades that seemed to just be getting popular last year when the OPI Spanish collection came out, but now seem quite mainstream. This one is more wearable than most on me, as it has a hint of pink that stops it from looking too orange on me.

This is two coats and a topcoat, but I probably could have got away with one. The OPI formula and brush are great, as usual. It's a little pinkier than it appears on this photo.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

ASOS beauty sale haul part 2

After placing my initial order (see haul part 1), I used my usual logic which explains why my credit card is always maxed out to convince myself that since I'd broken my no-buy promise, I might as well make the most of it. So I went back to ASOS to order some OPI.

This time I actually did get what I consider quite autumnal shades, and all of these are ones that I'd seen and nearly bought for full price at some point over the last year.

L to R: No Spain No Gain, Pamplona Purple, Barefoot in Barcelona (all from the Spanish collection), Panda-Monium Pink (Hong Kong collection)
With these 4 and the Essie and Illamasqua I also ordered, you will be bombarded with nail posts shortly!

Finally, I thought I'd throw in a hair product for good measure:

This is Tigi S Factor Smoothing Lusterizer Defrizzer & Tamer. Phew, long name! I haven't used it yet, but it contains very fine shimmery stuff to make your hair sparkle. Possibly like a Cullen, but I can't remember if their hair sparkles or just their skin? Someone will put me right, I'm sure. Anyway, I will review this when I've given it a good try, but it smells gorgeous, only cost me a fiver and it's a massive bottle, so it's off to a good start!

Saturday, 9 October 2010

ASOS beauty sale haul part 1

It's a long one. I blew the no-buy out of the water last weekend. I had been so good, but when I got word of bargain Essies (in shades I actually wanted) on ASOS, it had to be done. Somehow along the way I also managed to acquire some half-price Illamasqua and cheapo OPI too. Since it'd be a really long post otherwise, I'm splitting the haul into two parts.

First up, Essie and Illamasqua. 

You all heard about my new-found love of Essie this summer. This time I went for Mint Candy Apple and Bermuda Shorts for the princely sum of £2 each, and Knockout Pout and Haute as Hello for £4. None of these are autumn shades, but I'll get bored of purple and burgundy at some point anyway. Expect NOTD posts featuring these soon!

But wait, there are only 3 Essies in the photo! Sadly, a major packaging fail meant that a bad thing happened. Prepare yourselves.....

I knew my nail varnish obsession had started to go too far by the fear that gripped me when I opened my parcel, could smell the nail varnish and guessed that something was very wrong. Then I couldn't get the lid off the box containing the nail varnishes, because it was sealed shut with bright pink polish. When I used a knife to hack open the lid, I was confronted with an Essie massacre.

Thankfully, a bottle of nail varnish remover and a roll of Bounty later, I have three intact Essies. ASOS refunded me and gave me a 10% discount code for my next order within an hour of me emailing them to tell them about the damage, since there was no replacement Knockout Pout in stock. That's the type of customer service that I like! So it all turned out OK in the end, I suppose I didn't need another bright pink anyway really....

L to R: Mint Candy Apple, Bermuda Shorts, Haute as Hello

Onto the Illamasqua. I haven't tried much Illamasqua before, to date the only thing I'd bought was Electrify Sheer lipgloss. Which I like a lot. I'd been toying with the idea of the Rich Liquid Foundation for a while as I'd heard that the coverage and staying power was top notch - and those are the two main things I look for in a foundation. When I saw it was on sale for practically half price in what looked like my shade (145 - fair to medium with rosy undertones) I thought I'd just get it, and if the colour was wrong I could always use it for mixing with other foundations.

Initial thoughts: woah, this stuff gives serious coverage! If you like a natural look, have dry skin or flaky patches- step away from this. Don't even think about it, you will hate it. For me (loves full coverage, oily skin) it is brilliant. It's thicker than Revlon Colorstay and you have to blend fast but it covers it all up. Probably one for night time only though as I think it would look too unnatural for daytime. The shade was a bit dark for me, as I've got no fake tan on at the moment, but it looks like it will mix well with Colorstay Buff (which is too pale and too yellow for me) until I hit the Fake Bake again.

The other things I got were Lament nail varnish, which is of course fabulous, and 'Unrequited' powder blush. This is like MAC Well Dressed's brighter, more pigmented cousin. Right up my street! It is pinker than it appears on this photo, and I'll use it in a FOTD post soon so you can see it in action.

Part 2 to come soon!

Friday, 8 October 2010

Who knows about your blog?

Some people might find this strange, but I only told anyone about my blog for the first time a few weeks ago. I'd been blogging for about six months without anyone knowing about it, not even my husband. I don't really know why I kept it a secret, I suppose I wanted to get established and make sure this was something I was going to continue with first. Then it just seemed a bit odd to say 'by the way, I have a blog about makeup'.

I bit the bullet and revealed my other life a few weeks ago over lunch with my friends (where, incidentally, I ate nearly my own body weight in tapas - but that's not really relevant here). A couple of the girls were talking about setting up blogs, and I happened to mention that I had one too. I'm glad I did, because the response has been really positive (hi girls, if you're reading!)

Then I thought since I'd told my friends I should probably tell Mr Ellie. He pissed himself laughing. And I have to admit, to the uninitiated it probably does seem a bit ridiculous. He was amazed that I'd been taking endless  close-up photos of my makeup, and even more amazed that "people actually read this shit". I don't mean to make him sound unsupportive, it's just not his thing. (And I think he was probably secretly relieved that the time I spend tapping away on my laptop wasn't me having an affair.)

Still won't be telling my mother though, she already thinks I'm obsessed with makeup and handbags. If she found out about this, there would probably be an intervention!

So I'm interested to know, who knows about your blog? Do all your friends know about it? Your partner, and family? What about workmates? What has people's reaction been?

Also, hello to any new followers out there that I haven't said hello to before. If you've got a blog and I'm not following, leave me a link in the comments and I'll come and take a look!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Lipstick of the Week - Une Lip Toned Lipstick LS02

It's a more natural lippie featuring this week. Une is a brand developed by Bourjois, which launched in Boots over the summer. It is based around natural tones and shades, which is not always necessarily my sort of thing - but there is a definite time and place for a natural, lip-toned lipstick. I like this kind of lipstick to give you a bit more of a polished and put-together look than a bare lip or a clear gloss would give, but still very natural. This one is ideal for work, or to pair with a stronger eye or blush, so it doesn't compete.

These lipsticks feel quite moisturing, and though it's not a matte finish, it's not too glossy either. I think the quality feels a lot more expensive than the £7.99 price tag. I'm not too keen on the packaging though, the white plastic looks a little tacky to me, but it does its job.

This is shade LS02, which seems to be the lightest in the range, or at least the lightest they stock in the 'big' Boots in Newcastle. Why there is no LS01, I don't know......which is a shame because it would probably be a great natural nude lip for me!
What's your favourite lip-toned shade? Have you tried any other Une products you would recommend?

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Saturday Show-Down - MAC Satin Taupe vs Urban Decay Toasted

I'm a day this week's Friday Face-Off is a Saturday Show-Down instead! It's another MAC vs Urban Decay eyeshadow grudge match between two well-used and well-loved eyeshadows.

On the left, Urban Decay Toasted, on the right, MAC Satin Taupe. Both are shimmery mid brownish-taupe shades, with a silver reflect to them. I actually have 2 Toasteds, in my Preen palette and Naked palette. Satin Taupe is one of MAC's best-selling and most well-known eyeshadows.

Toasted (on the left) is slightly lighter, with a more pinky tone, while Satin Taupe is darker and has more of a plum edge to it.

In terms of quality there is nothing to choose between the two. Both are shimmery, not glitter, very pigmented, last a long time and are easy to use. On price grounds as well, both retail at around £11 if bought individually.

So in determining the winner, it comes down to my personal preference. And for me, I prefer Satin Taupe. I think this is because I'm quite cool-toned, and there aren't that many perfect cool-toned neutral eyeshadows out there. I also find Satin Taupe more versatile, as I can use it in the crease and outer corner with a lighter lid colour (perfect for work), or over a dark brown base for an easy brown smokey eye, which really brings out the silvery so!

Do you have either of these colours? Which is your favourite? I'd love to hear how you wear them!