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?
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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?

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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

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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?
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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?
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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!
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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! 

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