Wednesday, 18 December 2013

First Peek! PowderPocket- Ireland's answer to Glossybox? Review!

As somebody who has never seen the value in Glossyboxes, the fact that I was swayed to subscribe to Ireland's answer to Glossybox, the brand new PowderPocket, is a feat in itself. For whatever reason, I am reluctant to pay out for samples, and I have seen more Glossybox unboxings than I care to admit with very little value for money to be seen. Bearing in mind that these will cost you €15 a pop each month, I've generally been of the standpoint that I would rather put that €15 towards something high end that I would love than take a chance on a mystery box. However, being that I do like to support Irish business, and I think an Irish equivalent to Glossybox is long overdue, particularly given the difficulties that ladies on this side of the Irish sea have experienced with delays and inferior products in their Glossyboxes. Sure enough, I found myself parting with 15 of my hard earned yoyos and signing up to receive the first PowderPocket box.

So you want to know what I got? Of course you do! My box arrived right on time today, after ordering it just last Friday. I believe they are dispatched by the PowderPocketPeople in Galway so it winged it's way from the Wes(h)t in record time!

The box itself is adorable.. It came in an outer PowderPocket cardboard box and the products were contained within a second box. The products were well wrapped and the box was quite sturdy and I wouldn't worry about products getting damaged with this degree of packaging. They were delivered by courier so the boxes were not abused as they may be with the postal service- especially at this time of year.

There was also a magazine called 'Blush' within the box that give details of the products included in the box, including where you can buy the products and exclusive discount codes, as well as some other sponsored material relating to the brands in the box. All very neat and glossy with plenty of pics, it was a pleasant little read! It also includes the full prices of the full size products that you get in the box so you can guess how much bang you are getting for your buck!

When you open the box, you can see the attention to detail with a little ribbon and 'PowderPocket' sticker, and all the products carefully enveloped in black tissue paper. I love little details like this, and from the get go, it's very chic!

Now the real question on everybody's lips- what was included in the box? **SPOILER ALERT**

There was a nice mix of products in the box- 2 sample skincare products from Vichy and Shiseido- including 8 samples of the Vichy Idealia Serum and 30ml tube of Shiseido Extra Gentle Cleansing Foam, a sample of Hugo Boss Jour pour Femme, a 50ml bottle of Academie Bronz' Express and a full size Blank Canvas Cosmetics F22 brush.

Overall, I am very pleasantly impressed with this box, and I really like the selection of products included. I already own 3 other Blank Canvas Cosmetics F22 brushes (because I love BCC brushes don't you know!) and I have a full size bottle of the Bronz' Express gathering dust on my shelf since my obsession with Cocoa Brown Tan began, but the cross section of products made me very hopeful for future boxes. I definitely think this was good value- €15 including courier delivery to your door (or office in my case!). I'll definitely sign up for more, I am a convert now!

You can order boxes from the PowderPocket website here if you like- unlike some of their competitors, they offer a one month rolling subscription service where you can get a box every month for €12 plus €3 postage. If you're willing to commit, you can subscribe for 6 months for €75 (incl. postage) and get a box free, or you can go the whole hog and subscribe for 12 months for €150 (incl. postage) and get two boxes free!! Not too shabby at all!

So I hope you all enjoyed me sharing my first foray into the luxury beauty box subscription world courtesy of PowderPocket!

What do you think of my box of goodies? Is it enough to tempt you to subscribe too?

Monday, 16 December 2013

The Curious Case of the Wet Dry Shampoo- Tres Semme Instant Refresh "Dry" Shampoo

I've said it before on this blog, and I'll say it again, I think dry shampoo can be an absolute gift, and not just for your oily roots! I have used various dry shampoos over my time on the planet thus far- though I have never found anything that I love quite as much as the Batiste speciemens- and I use them for volume, texture and to disguise dark roots in the latter weeks before my next hairdressers appointment. I have an appreciation for dry shampoos, and I am always trying out new ones. One such dry shampoo that I have come across in recent times was the Tres Semme Instant Refresh Dry Shampoo. What drew me to this in particular was the atypical foam composition of the actual dry shampoo as opposed to the usual powdery spray.

I have to say, I didn't much like this product. It looks like a ball of mousse in your hand when you squirt it out. When first applied, it looks sticky, manky and greasy, but brushing it out and giving it a quick blast of the hairdryer at a very low heat helped. This spray/foamy stuff certainly did little for volume, texture or root-masking in my eyes, and even though the eventual end result was distinctly average, it took just a bit too long to get there for my liking. I wouldn't buy this again, mostly because I prefer the convenience of powder based dry shampoos. I'm happy I tried this but I guess it's just not for me!

Have any of you tried, loved or loathed this product?


Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Finally- Urban Decay Naked 3 hits the shelves! Get in quick before they are gone!

If you are anything like me, you have probably been drooling over the Naked 3 palette for the longest time now, just yearning to be given the green light to actually buy one. It was the most hotly anticipated date this year- perilously close to Christmas- and taken for granted that if you don't catch the first wind, you will be waiting until next Christmas to get your hands on your very own Naked 3. Opinions were divided, split right down the middle. Some said it's too pink. Some said they have enough with the other three incarnations of Urban Decay Naked that they weren't buying into the hype of a fourth palette. Some waited impatiently to hear, pre-ordered it from a million different sources (slight exaggeration admittedly), as if we could instantly see the value that these twelve little shades would bring to our makeup collections. Make up lovers, and particularly fellow neutral eyeshadow lovers, you can now get your hands on Naked 3 and share the fun!

The original release date that was touted was 16 December, and I called House of Fraser Dundrum about a week ago to reserve a palette when they arrived. The lovely girl on the Urban Decay desk took my name and said that she would ring me when they came in on the 16th so I was very happy and surprised to get a call from her today letting me know that they had come in early and that I could pick mine up today. I was under the impression that they had gotten about a dozen of them in stock because they were only holding palettes for a day but when I called to the store at lunchtime today, I was nearly tripping over the Naked 3 palettes- huge display of them on the shelves and boxes more stacked behind the counter. 

I am so very pleased with this palette already- when I opened the box, it was like the angels from heaven stopped me in my tracks and bright luminescent light exuded from the glorious little rippled tin case. I feel like myself and Naked 3 are going to get on just fabulously.

So if you are in the market for a Naked 3 palette, get yourself to your nearest House of Fraser pronto, and if you're in Dublin and bursting for a new Naked of your own, head to House of Fraser in Dundrum Town Centre asap. Even though they had loads in today, they are bound to go out of stock quickly. I also have it on good authority that Debenhams are selling these in advance of the official release date so if you're near a Debenhams that has an Urban Decay counter, consider giving them a call and see if you can reserve a palette. For any Dublin ladies looking to reserve a palette in House of Fraser Dundrum, this is the number I used- 01 2991400. 

Let me know how you get on in your quest for Naked 3! Hope this information was helpful to you! x


NEW!! Revlon Colorburst Lacquer Balms in 'Demure' and 'Whimsical'- Review and Swatches

I recently blogged about the new Revlon Colorburst Matte Balms click here if you didn't get a chance to read it yet, and I mentioned that not only did Revlon release a whole new array of matte lip balms, but that they also released a line of shiny glossy lip balms as part of their Colorburst Lacquer Balm collection. Again this collection comprises ten shades and I have two on show for you today to give you a taster into how I found them.

The packaging of these is similar to the original Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains that I blogged about WAY back in January - click here to read, but the product comes in shiny shiny bullets as opposed to the glossy Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains or the Colorburst Matte Balms from Rimmel. It's little attention to detail like this that warm the cockles of my heart, and the fact that the outer packaging is a giant whopping reflection of the product therein is not only sensible, it's a gift! 

These are very similar in texture to the L'Oreal Glam Shine Balmy Glosses that I blogged about over a month ago in that they are soft and creamy, shiny on the lips with a hint of glitter running through. They are not the most opaque of colours but they are definitely buildable, but if you wanted opaque colour, you should try out their Matte first cousins. These feel deliciously light on the lips- a nice tingly minty sensation upon applying which fades over time. Speaking of fading, the staying power on these is not the best- probably given their buttery texture- but they are devilishly easy to reapply given their little windy-up technology thingy- making them perfect for applying on the go and almost foolproof. 

Demure is a very pale, slightly shimmery light pink with peachy nude tendencies. It's absolutely gorgeous with a smoky or strong eye look.

Whimsical is a lovely fuchsia pink that leans a little purple on my lips, and it also has shimmer. It is incredibly glossy on the lips. 

So whilst these are not super pigmented, they are gorgeously shiny glossy offerings from Revlon, and I will definitely be picking up some more!

Are you as excited for these as I am?

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

NEW!! Revlon Colorburst Matte Balms in 'Sultry' and 'Unapologetic'

I was not able to express my love enough for the Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain lip crayons when I posted about them about a year ago (if you can't remember, check out my review of the full suite here), so you can only imagine my delirium when I first heard that the lovely people at Revlon were releasing not one but TWO new versions of my favourite ever Revlon product. The new offerings are part of the Revlon Colorburst range and come in Matte or Lacquer varieties. I bought a few of each and today I am showing and telling. First up are the Revlon Colorburst Matte Balms, and I have the colours 'Sultry' and 'Unapologetic'.

The packaging of these products is exactly the same as the Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Lip Balms- the windy up chubby lip pencil that we have all come to know and love over the last year with the infiltration of various incarnations from different brands including pioneers Clinique, Soap&Glory, L'Oreal, Bourjois, Rimmel and No7 to name but a few. One difference to note is that the packaging is matte finish AND it is indicative of the colour of the product inside- LOVE LOVE LOVE this thoughtfulness from the House of Revlon. There are 10 shades available in the collection.

The Revlon Matte Balms are similarly minty like their older sisters, and they feel nice and light and refreshing on the lips. Matte lipsticks dry my lips out like nobody's business but I find these matte balms to be pleasantly matte and not too drying. I do use a decent lip balm in the winter months especially, so that might also be down to the extra precautionary measures, but these certainly have not aggravated my lips anymore than normal.

The pigmentation of these products is amazing and it takes literally one or two swipes to build up full opacity. The pencils are soft and easy to glide over the lips and because of the little twisty device at the end, you don't need to get stressed about sharpening. They are soft and creamy, easy to apply and not too messy. One definite con to these matte balms is that they would be incredibly unflattering on chapped lips so make sure to exfoliate and moisturise before applying these.

As for the colours themselves-

Sultry is a gorgeous pinky brown shade that photographs alot browner than it is in person. I don't know if I find it sultry but I do find it to be very sophisticated. I hate all brown lip products and veer away from them permanently but this colour straddles the balance between pink and brown perfectly. 

Unapologetic is a hot vivid pink with coral undertones. It absolutely screams summer to me so I will have to keep it safe until them but I can safely say I don't have anything quite like this. It would look great with a tan and winged eyeliner. It reminds me a bit of MAC Impassioned, but I prefer the texture of the Revlon balms. 

Are you excited to try some of these Revlon matte balms also?

Soap & Glory Super-Colour Fabu Lip Stick- Fab or Fail?

Soap & Glory is definitely a brand that is knocking it out of the park for me time and time again over the last year or so. From humble beginnings (i.e. that gift set that somebody always picks up for me at Christmas- I still have about four tubs of Righteous Butter to get through!), I know have quick a few cosmetical offerings and I have been quite impressed thus far. One of my newest acquisitions were these Super-Colour Fabu Lip Sticks in the shades 'Blush Pink' and 'Man Trap'.

I might be the last person in the planet to notice that Soap & Glory now have a line of lipsticks, bearing in mind that I have been a long time fan of their Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss Sticks (if you don't have Nudist in your life, you are missing out!). As far as I can tell, there are 2 formulas available- Powdercoat Matte and Satin.  

Of the Powdercoat Matte formula, Soap and Glory say it 

"Glides on, stays put and packs a colour punch! Featuring our exclusive POWDERCOAT™ MATTE finish to fix velvety-rich colour to your lips, 3-D PLUMP™ peptide complex to tone and plump, and orchid extract to soften and moisturise."

Soap and Glory promise that their Satin formula lipsticks "Featuring ULTIMELT™ lip shine & shaping technology, 3-D PLUMP™ peptide complex, Shea Butter, Monoi Butter & Vitamin E. Hyaluronic acid and Ceramide 2 (for aging repair and visible wrinkle reduction) help to give a soft, smooth, dewy, plump colour-fill pout."

The Matte lipsticks come in three shades and there are six Satin offerings.

As you can see, the packaging is indicative of the finish of the lipstick within and I love this little touch- the matte lipstick is in the matte black tube and the Satin lipstick is in the glossy tube. The lipsticks themselves are gorgeous colours- I pretty much loved them all when I swatched them but I wanted to road test each formula before I eventually, and inevitably, invest in the whole family. 

These lipsticks are the smoothest, most velvety lipsticks I think I have ever tried. They apply to the kissmakers so easily but they don't feel excessively soft or slippy. The packaging and quality of the product within seems far more valuable than the mere €11 they cost, they are sturdy and sleek, there is a little bit of weight to each bullet so they are not flimsy. These last about four hours before reapplying but that includes eating etc. Thankfully, these also fade to a tint instead of randomly disappearing off your lips in patches. Definitely not the longest staying power I have ever encountered but I reckon they're worth it! 

I was particularly impressed with the matte colour, only because I find it very difficult to get decent matte lipsticks that don't kill my lips with dehydration. Blush Pink is a beautiful MLBB colour. Man Trap is a gorgeous wearable red, quite different to the millions of blue toned red lipsticks that I own. I find this is a very easy daytime red to wear- or maybe it's just because we are bucketing towards Christmas and red lips are not only more enticing, they are seasonally appropriate!! 

That's my two cents on the Soap and Glory Super-Colour Fabu Lip Sticks. Have you seen these in Boots yet? Will you be giving them a try? Has Soap&Glory similarly impressed you in recent times with their cosmetical goodness? Let me know in the comments below!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

A trip to the Style Club salon on South William Street

Up until last September, I got my hair done on a monthly basis and it was my little treat for all my hard work, it was the little luxury I never went without, and I always felt better when my hair was in order. After a pretty catastrophic experience chez coiffeur (fully documented in this blog), I lost all my hair enthusiasm. For the last two months, I have barely even straightened it, I just had no interest and wore it back in a ponytail most of the time- something I never did when I had pride in my hair. I realised that I am booked up for pretty much every weekend in December so if I wanted to have my hair in order for the festive season, I had to book an appointment pretty quickly, I called to get an appointment my usual hairdresser in Peter Mark in Nutgrove but I was shocked when I was told that she's no longer working in the salon! I find it such a chore researching salons and building up trust in hairdressers, never mind when I am still a bit scarred, but there was really one frontrunner in my mind, and that was the Style Club. Many of my fellow blogging buds have posted about their experiences in the Style Club salons recently, and I made my appointment. 

The Style Club have three salons in Dublin- North Earl Street, Pavilions SC in Swords, and the salon that I visited on South William Street. The salons are renowned for their bright, colourful and quirky interiors. I remember thinking that it might have been a bit OTT but I have to say, when you are actually in the salon, it feels really cool, edgy, fresh and different. I've never been in such a contemporary salon, and it was a nice little oasis away from the norm. 

From the minute I set foot into the salon, it was a hugely positive experience. I wasn't waiting more than 30 seconds at the reception when I was whisked away to a lovely pink little station, and the girl who got me suited and booted couldn't have been any friendlier, asking me a few times if I wanted tea/coffee or what kind of magazines I would like to read. The stylist Denise arrived again about a minute later, and sat down next to me and actually chatted about my hair story, how I wear my hair, what result I was hoping to achieve, and where do I see myself going with my hair, i.e. was there a particular result I wanted to work towards. This was all before I even looked at a picture or a colour chart. I have never in all my hair colouring life (13 years) had such a thorough and informative consultation and I felt that Denise really listened to what I wanted, and she gave me several suggestions and explained everything to me, even finding pictures to illustrate the different options that I had. 

I knew very clearly that I didn't want to just put in highlights in my hair, but I also knew that I didn't want to go much darker. I had a really hard time maintaining the blonde (full head highlights every 4 weeks) and my hair was getting fried from the bleach. I've enjoyed not having the terrible regrowth, and yet at the same time, I like having multi tonal elements to my hair, I don't think I would be happy with just one colour, especially when I have such a thick head of hair. The natural option for me was to try balayage, something I never really considered before. I was worried that I would end up with dip dyed hair for 2 reasons- firstly. I'm just not cool enough. Secondly, my hair has been through a battering and I would like to be nice to it for as long as I can. I can't see how bleaching the bejingles out of the ends would help matters. I balked at the thought of looking like Kim Kardashian with those permanent black roots, but Denise took great time to show me pictures and explain both the process, aftercare and expected results.

Today I settled on topping up my roots all over my head with a nice warm brown and scattering some browns throughout the rest of my hair to make it all match up. I also had some balayage down around my face and scattered around the back of my hair for a bit of movement and lift. I went for a semi permanent colour (again I nearly died when Denise looked for grey hairs but thankfully I don't have any yet!). Today was the first time in years that I didn't have a single meche packet/foil applied to my head, it was quite a relief, and I wasn't under any heat, it was quite a relaxing read of the magazines whilst I was letting the colour potions do their magic. I must say, Denise popped over to me a few times to make sure I had magazines and asking if I wanted a drink, and anybody that passed asked me if they could get anything for me. When my hair was being rinsed at the basin, they had the most glorious back massaging chair that rippled up and down my bad back and it was uh-mazing. I had a toner applied at this stage too just to blend everything together. 

When it came to cut, I explained how I was trying to grow my hair so I didn't want to take too much off the length but that I didn't want any dead tatty bits, and Denise took off about an inch all around and from the layers to tidy everything up. I've been trying to resuscitate my hair with deep conditioning treatments for weeks but still I didn't want dry, broken ends on my head. When we were chatting about hair styling as she was applying the colour, I mentioned that I am terrible at blowdrying my hair and that I can barely blowdry it dry, nevermind blow dry it straight. She offered to do a curly blowdry today for me and show me how she does it, again- I was very pleasantly shocked that she even offered and I gladly took her up on it. 

I'm really delighted with the result- I think it's a pretty natural, easy going look, it should be easy enough to maintain and my hair wasn't damaged any further by excessive colouring. I very much enjoyed my experience in the Style Club- it was quick, painless and I was in great hands with Denise. I was so impressed that I actually booked into the salon on the 13 December to get a curly blowdry done by Denise again for my Christmas work party. I couldn't recommend the Style Club or Denise enough. 

There was only one negative, Denise told me that she's heading off to Australia in January for a year! Honestly, the news was like a knife to my heart, but I of course wished her all the best, and I told her how grateful I was to her for all her time and attention and guidance. Even though Denise won't be there in January, she promised to write up a detailed note and said she would recommend a stylist with a flair for balayage so I would be in good hands. I would definitely get my hair done there again, no doubt, and if any of you are looking to get your hair done before Christmas and are looking for somebody patient and talented, get yourself to the Style Club. Everybody there was friendly and professional, not cold but not too talkative or intrusive either. My faith in the hairdressing profession has been restored and I'll actually look forward to my next visit! 


Thursday, 28 November 2013

No 7 Instant Radiance Highlighter- Review and Swatches

I like a bit of a glow at the best of times, never mind at Christmas time. I usually use  There is nothing like a little touch of highlighter to make you look more healthy and radiant, particularly when we will all be busy merrymaking and celebrating over the festive period. I have lots of powder highlighters but I spotted this No 7 Instant Radiance Highlighter in Boots 2 weeks back, I had to pick it up and give it a whirl. It cost €12.95 and is available in store now. 

I loved the No7 Instant Radiance foundation- I blogged about it almost a year ago and I said then that I was not expecting to love it as much as I did and I almost couldn't help myself. My expectations from No7 products from that time onwards escalated, and so I had high hopes. Generally, I think No7 is way overpriced for what it is, and I am never surprised by the billions of €6.50/€4 off vouchers that they always seem to be distributing. I've already spoken about this in my review of the Instant Radiance foundation so I won't repeat myself.

The highlighter comes in a wind up stick format, similar to a cream blush. It's quite small and chubby and definitely easily portable. The formula is neither greasy not gritty, it applies easily with minimal tugging and effort and is easily blendable.

There is not a huge amount of product as you can see but for under 13 quid (and less if you use a No7 voucher)- it's respectable. I would rather have a little of a great product than a lot of a bad product. So the question is, is this a decent product?

I have to say, I am pleasantly impressed by this, but not blown away. The colour is a gorgeous candlelit ivory  shade which makes a change from my usual pink or gold highlighters. There is no chunky glitter in this formula which makes it that bit easier to work with in my opinion. The product in the stick format is easy to apply and it is easily blended with your fingers or a brush. I have used a synthetic brush to apply this to my browbone/ inner corner and cupids bow with no problems (the actually surface area of the product is a little too wide to get into these areas neatly all by itself. I would have to deduct points for lasting power however, because I don't feel it lasted all that long on my skin, maybe 3/4 hours,.before just fading away to oblivion. And even though this product is in stick form, it's not necessary the easiest thing to apply on the go without a blending brush or the likes.

So the bottom line- I love this product when it is applied but I wish it would last longer once applied because it is not the easiest thing to reapply on the go. I love the candlelit glow colour and I will definitely be using this over the Christmas period.

Has the No7 line impressed any of you in recent months?


Wednesday, 27 November 2013

NEW PRODUCT ALERT- Blank Canvas Cosmetics Purple F22 + Comparison of Old and New

So when I was on Facebook the other night, I noticed that Blank Canvas Cosmetics had a new product alert, and like a fly to a pot of honey, I took myself to their website in a fairly lively manner and ordered myself the new purple F22. Now I already had their black F22, and I blogged about it a year ago (if you can't remember, click this link) and I conveyed how much I love the Blank Canvas HD Kabuki collection- I still use these brushes every single day and I have FOUR F20s on the go at any one time... and no, I'm not joking. In fact, I will insert pictorial evidence to support my claim!

Anyways, back to the brush at hand- the F22. I didn't even stop to think about whether I need this or not because I will always have space in my life for another Blank Canvas Cosmetics kabuki brush. I LOVE purple, it's my second favourite colour after pink, and it's a dang nice purple too.

Now I thought that the brushes would be the exact same (similar to the black F20 and the pink F20) but I think there are actually a few slight differences (this made me feel good about my purchase because I feel I can justify owning it that little bit more!). The handles are the exact same in every manner apart from the colour and the new branding. They are the same length, the same width and they have the same ferrules. I feel like the new purple F22 might be a little bit denser than the black F22, but this could be down to the fact that I haven't used or washed it yet, and brushes do tend to fluff out a bit after their maiden washing. 

The density of the new purple F22 actually reminds me an awful lot of the density of the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, so I think I will try out my new brush when applying my foundation and see how I fare with that. If I use this even half as much as I use my black F22, or even one twentieth as much as I use any one of my F20 fleet, then it will be a smart purchase. 

I'm delighted to have this in my collection and I urge all you fellow brush fiends to get yourself onto the Blank Canvas Cosmetics website and pick up one of these brushes for €14.02 (or €13.32 if you are a returning customer) and for a limited time only, BCC are offering free shipping. 

Will any of you join me and take the purple plunge? 

Ziaja Natural Olive Body Lotion- Review

I loathe to say it, but I have a terrible tendency on skimping on body lotions and body moisturisers. I just never seem to have enough time after a shower- I'm either rushing out to work in the morning or collapsing in a heap in the evening. All summer long during our heatwave, I couldn't bear the thought of putting anything on my skin after a shower (I did not cope well!) but I do at least try  to make a concerted effort to moisturise more in winter months. I have been using fake tan alot more regularly since the introduction of Cocoa Brown to my life, and with that, I feel more compelled also to make sure that my skin is nicely moisturised and prepped for tanning. I received this Ziaja Natural Olive Body Lotion in a goody bag at the SBBC wrap up party and I have been using it since.

Now I must admit I hate olives- the taste, the smell. I would rather eat a bug than eat an olive. I use olive oil for cooking but that is the extent of my relationship with those little black horrors, and I was more than a little nervous to unscrew the pump and have a sniff of the product even before pumping it out onto my hand. I am pleased to annouce that this body lotion does not even remotely smell like olives OR olive oil. In fact, it smells rather nice. like some sort of face cream my nana must have had, but certainly not offensive at all, and my nose is VERY easily offended!

Now this product does contain olive oil and is loaded with vitamins (E, C, B6) and vitamin B5/ Panthenol which makes it not only delicious for your skin, it also makes it penetrate your skin to provide optimum moisturisation. That could be why this body lotion is recommended for those with normal to dry skin. 

Let me tell you a bit about my skin. I have combination skin on my face with dry patches on my cheeks, jaw and forehead. My skin on the rest of my body is quite dry- particularly my elbows, upper arms and knees. I have quite sensitive skin on my legs which can get a little aggravated when I shave my legs. I also have very sensitive skin and cannot use certain highly perfumed shower gels or creams in case they make my skin tight and red.I do like applying body creams, lotions and butters but one thing I cannot abide is oily residue on my skin, or I just don't have time to be sitting still waiting for creams to sink in. I'm always looking for something quick and effective.

And all of these reasons are why I LOVE the Ziaja Natural Olive Body Lotion. It's not heavily perfumed but it has a nice pleasant scent that fades after a while. It does not smell like the little black beads from hell that people like to call "olives". It has quite a milky cream consistency, it's not too thick, and it's very easy to spread on your skin. But the real star feature of this product in my eyes is that it just melts into your skin so easily and so quickly, my elbows, arms, knees- they just suck this stuff up so there is no sitting around waiting for your moisturiser to be absorbed, or worse, waiting for it to dry. It doesn't feel greasy or slimy, it doesn't leave my skin all shiny looking. My skin feels softer and more moisturised, the little red bumps that I get on the top of my arms in the winter are far less visible and my Cocoa Brown tan applies fantastically over this body lotion. This is the best body lotion I have tried in a long time and my opinion of Ziaja Skincare continues to soar high.

Oh, and did I mention that this product costs just €5.99 from Original Beauty? :)


Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Top 10 Budget Neutral Eyeshadow Palettes

I am always raving on and on about how much I love neutral eyeshadows, and I am quite simply obsessed. I must have about 40 neutral eyeshadow palettes in my collection now, and I keep going back for more. There is something so endearing about a variety of browns, golds, creams and chocolate colours in a little palette form, and no, you can never have too many shades of brown. I feel like I was a bit of a late comer when it comes to neutral eyeshadows but I've only really worn neutral eyeshadows in the last two years. Maybe it's a sign of my age (now WELL into my mid twenties), maybe it's a byproduct of my conservative day job, or maybe it's just because I favour a more subtle eye and a stronger lip colour. I am going to share with you all my top 10 budget neutral palettes and my top 10 high-end/luxury neutral palettes. So in no particular order, I'll get started.

MUA Palettes in Undress Me Too (top) and Undressed

These palettes are the much hyped dupes for the Urban Decay Naked 1 and Naked 2 palettes, and whilst I don't think they are in the same league as the Urban Decay offerings, for a mere 1/10 of the price (or less even if you pick it up during one of the many special promotions on the MUA website), these are fantastic eyeshadows. They have a texture similar to Stila eyeshadows in my opinion, very soft, a little metallic, the lighter colours are extremely blendable and the darker colours a little less so. In terms of dupe factor, they are very very decent- the finishes are a little off skew compared to Urban Decay but the colour spectrum is sufficiently similar.

Beauty UK Posh Palette in Eden

I bought this in Superdrug in Belfast over the summer on a bit of a whim without ever really having tried anything from the brand before. If I recall correctly, I think it was about £5. I really like this palette overall but I do feel it's lacking in darker colours to cut the crease. It has some matte shades which are decently pigmented. The colour in the bottom right hand corner alone makes the palette for me- it is a gorgeous rose gold colour and quite unlike anything else I have. The colours are soft and blendable, and the pans are bigger than MUA or Sleek offerings.

Physician's Formula, Inc. Matte Eyeshadow Quad in Canyon Classics and Physican's Formula, Inc. Shimmer Strips Nude Eyes Palette

When my lovely friend Heather who loves in Massachusetts gifted me the amazing Physician's Formula, Inc. Matte Eyeshadow Quad in 'Canyon Classics'- I thought I had died and gone to neutral matte eyeshadow heaven. I might love this palette more than my Naked Basics. The colours are gorgeous- matte but not too powdery, fantastic pigmentation (you would not believe it) and the colours last the whole day on the lid over MAC Paint Pot in Painterly. I cannot tell you where she got it (though I know she is a huge fan of Ulta) but I definitely will try some other PF matte quads in the future. Thanks again Heather! I heard alot about the PF Shimmer Strips Nude Eyes Palette so I purchased it on Iherb a few months back. This palette is tiny so I don't use it very often but I do like it. I would say you definitely need a primer under these because they are all very shimmery shades but there are some gorgeous taupe shadows and champagne colours which I like to use as highlights either on my brow bone or inner eye corners.

Wet n Wild Eyeshadow Palettes in Vanity and Nude Awakening

I adore Wet n Wild eyeshadows and it breaks my heart that they are not available easily in Ireland or the UK yet. The pigmentation is absolutely outstanding and they are so so inexpensive for what you get (unless you buy them on ebay like we have to here in Ireland). The palette on the left is being discontinued but I have still been able to find it online- it is from the Color Icon 6 pan line- and comes with three matte shadows and three shimmer eyeshadows. I love love love this palette- I'm almost afraid to use it because if I use it all up, I might find it hard to get my hands on another. This was one of my first WnW purchases, and even though I have all the other palettes in this collection, I am obsessed with this one. Also from the Limited Edition Spring 2013 collection, Nude Awakening, has some gorgeous dupes for the Urban Decay Naked Palette and a mixture of different finishes. Honorable WnW neutral eyeshadow palette mentions include Trio in Walking on Eggshells and the Color Icon 8 Pan Palette in Comfort Zone. 

Revlon Quad in Addictive and Soap & Glory Lid Stuff in What's Nude

Both of these palettes are pretty similar I believe in that they are both leaning towards the cafe latté matte tones  These are both very wearable daytime appropriate neutrals and are equal in terms of blendability. They are both part of permanent collections so you need not worry about the products disappearing- in fact, you could pick up both in Boots quite easily! 

Sleek Palette in Oh So Natural

I also picked this up on a trip to Belfast over the summer. Unlike a lot of the neutral palettes that I have shown you, this one has a lot of darker browns which are helpful for cutting the crease. There is also a mix of matte and shimmer shades and unfortunately, I find the matte shades are a bit disappointing in terms of pigmentation when compared to their shimmery sisters. This makes my top 10 because of the colour spectrum and the inclusion of darker shades for more smokey eye make up looks. 

Blank Canvas Cosmetics 28pc Nude Palette

Last but not least, I had to include one of my favourite online budget neutral palettes, and this one is from Blank Canvas Cosmetics. I've already written a full review on this palette and included pictures of swatches which you can read by CLICKING HERE. There are so many dupes in this palette, and even though it contains 28 colours, the pans are all the same size as MAC pans and the palette is quite lightweight and sturdy. This costs €11 from the Blank Canvas Cosmetics website and I couldn't not include this when talking about budget neutral eyeshadow palettes. 

So those are my top 10 budget picks? Are they are palettes that you would have put in this list? What is your favourite budget eyeshadow palette? And please tell me I am not the only neutral eyeshadow addict amongst us?! 
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