Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Boots 3 for 2 Beauty Wishlist

Now that the end of my self-imposed Frugal February spending ban is almost in sight, I have begun to imagine what it will be like to be able to shop again, particularly on beauty and cosmeticals. As luck would have it, Boots are currently running a 3 for 2- very kind of them to help ease me back to my spendy ways. Anyways, I've put together a little wishlist of things that I will be looking to pick up on Saturday, the long awaited1st of March. These are things that I have either been wanting to try for an age, or products that are new on the market and have caught my eye.

First off, the Max Factor Facefinity foundation. It seems that anybody who has tried this absolutely loves it, and I want in on a slice of the piece. This is our equivalent of the Cover Girl Outlast Stay Fabulous 3 in 1 Foundation/Primer/Concealer all in one jobby which featured SO prevalently on 2013 Beauty Favourites compilations from the other side of the pond. I’ll need to go to a stand to get colour matched so hopefully they'll have a shade for a palie like me.

Next up on my wishlist is the Garnier Micellar Water. I believe this is pretty new but given my longtime love for all things watery and micellar, I'm looking forward to picking this up and seeing how it compares to my beloved Bioderma. Also, very impressed with the 400ml bottle when other market equivalents (e.g. L'Oreal) come in 200ml bottles for in and about the same price.

Another product that I have been meaning to try for an age is the Maybelline Lasting Drama Eyeliner in Black. My Inglot eyeliners lasted about 2 weeks before they started drying out, and my Bobbi Brown equivalents were not much better. I was a fan of the Essence and Catrice offerings but I can't seem to find those anymore, so I think it's finally time to pick up this one from Maybelline. I've heard only good things so I think it will be a pretty safe bet!

Another Max Factor product, and this time a replacement for my favourite CoverGirl mascara that I got as a gift in a box swap with my friend Heather last year. I believe the Max Factor False Lash Effect is the European counterpart to the CoverGirl Lash Blast mascara (albeit three times the price- actually cheaper to order CoverGirl from eBay and have it delivered but for the sake of my carbon footprint etc and sheer curiosity, I'll give this one a whirl!

I've been extremely curious about the Sleek Matte Me Lip Lacquers also since I saw a review of them somewhere (though wherefore I know not) and I’d like to try out one of these for myself. As far as I am aware, only the Boots in Liffey Valley stocks Sleek, so this may have to be an online purchase if I don’t find myself out in Liffey Valley in the next few weeks.

A product that I actually need is a new eyelid primer for eyeshadows, and I am intrigued by this Soap & Glory It’s About Prime offering. I haven't swatched it or heard much about it but I have gotten on pretty well with all the other S&G cosmetics offerings that I have tried so I think I'll go with the flow and pick it up.

Lastly, I’ve been reading a lot of favourable reviews vis-à-vis the new No7 foundation, Stay Perfect Superlight, with many self-proclaimed foundation snobs favouring this over some high street, more expensive alternatives. I quite liked the original Stay Perfect and I've been zapped by their fancy foundation machine before and Cool Vanilla is a great match for my skin. I'm usually not a fan of the lighter coverage foundation (and don’t get me started on BB/CC creams!) but with summer a-coming, I think I should at least give it a try.

Is there anything else you think should be on my Boots wishlist? Would love to hear your recommendations!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Wet n Wild Silk Finish Lipsticks- Collection and Review

I mentioned in my review of the Wet n Wild Mega Last Lip Colors that Wet n Wild offer another lipstick line but that I did not like it as much as the Mega Last Lip Colors. I haven't yet picked up any of these since Wet n Wild hit Irish shores- I bought these three online over the last few years but two of them are available in your local Dunnes Stores and they will only cost your wallet a measly €1.99. 

Whereas the Mega Last Lip Color formula is almost too dry, I feel like these are at the opposite end of the spectrum and are a little too wet for my personal preference. They are alot easier to wear and apply, but they don't last more than two hours at a time and don't fade to a stain like the Mega Last Lip Colors. They are comfortable to wear and won't expose any dryness but one thing I have noticed is that these transfer so easily- to your mug, scarf etc - so you would have to take care to be extra vigilant about what you do with your mouth. I have also noticed that the red I have, Cherry Frost, whilst it is a gorgeous colour, bleeds outside of my defined lip area just a little bit which drives me absolutely potty! 

Again, the packaging on these does not meet my high standards, and thankfully I learned from the comments in my last post that I am not the only silly person who cannot seem to put the lid back on these lipsticks without snagging the lipstick in the bullet and taking a chunk out of it. I don't mind the plastic packaging so much but I know I would definitely appreciate if the lipstick wound all the way down! Then again, for €1.99, I feel highly cheeky for having such high expectations of a €2 lipstick (or $1 in the US if I recall correctly!).

In conclusion, though I do like these and the colours are very pretty, I just never seem to bother with them because they are just too high maintenance for my day to day liking. I don't feel like I can relax into my lipstick with these because I have to check quite frequently to make sure it hasn't slid down my face or transferred to my teeth/ scarf etc. The Mega Last Lip Colors might be a bit trickier than your more conventional lipsticks to apply but once it is applied and you have the shape outlined to your liking, they are pretty easy to maintain. 

I don't think I'll be rushing out to pick up another one of these any time but if you have tried any of the Silk Finish lipsticks and had a better experience, please let me know below and tempt me back to the darkside! Also, if you have tried them and found that they haven't quite hit the mark for you, let me know that too! 

Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream- Review

I never really bought into the whole BB cream phase to be honest, and I quickly tired of every second product claiming to have BB benefits. I've tried BB creams but as a rule I generally prefer a little more coverage and for days when I don't need alot of coverage, I rarely don't stray beyond my beloved Smashbox tinted moisturiser.When I heard that there was a genre of CC creams sweeping out across the people, I am sure I probably rolled my eyes up to heaven and vowed I wouldn't buy into the CC fad. But when I heard that one of my favourite drugstore brands was releasing a CC cream, my interest was piqued. I am a longtime fan of the Bourjois Healthy Mix, Happy Light and 123 Perfect foundations that I decided that it just had to be mine. I picked this up at the end of January and have been trying it out since.

The technology behind this is pretty impressive also. Like the 123 foundation, there are 3 pigments packed into this CC cream- Apricot to combat signs of fatigue, green to battle against any redness and white to camouflage any dark spots. Not only that, it also promises to leave you with a luminous complexion and smooth skin and 24 hour hydration with SPF 15 if you don't mind. It promises the colour correction of a foundation with the skincare action of a cream. Now all those pigments and promises might leave you feeling a little afraid about looking like the lovechild of Shrek/Casper/an Oompa Loompa, but the actual CC cream itself is not coloured and looks rather like your average tinted moisturiser. It comes in three shades I believe which might be a bit limiting- however if you are pale like me, no 31 Ivory is a nice match. 

I used a flat top kabuki to apply this CC cream but I am sure you could use your hands. For the purposes of trialling, I didn't apply any powder over it, which is good, because I learned I don't have to put on any powder with this. It's not a matte finish, but it's not shiny- enough luminosity to please me minus any shiny patches. I didn't apply any concealer with this either but I did notice that my complexion was evened out and any blemishes/ freckles/ imperfections that I wanted concealed were concealed. The cream feels light and comfortable on the skin, and I did not notice any visible signs of this disappearing over the course of the day. I cannot comment on the 24 hour hydration comment because I would never have any foundation on for 24 hours but my skin certainly was not adversely affected or dried out by it and like I said, it is very comfortable on. What I love about this in particular is that my skin still both feels and looks like skin, and I can definitely see myself getting a lot of use out of this coming into the summer months when I naturally veer away from the full on coverage of a conventional foundation.

Have you tried yet or do you think you might give it a try? Am I the only one that's skeptical of the BB/CC cream evolution?


Saturday, 15 February 2014

Wet n Wild Mega Liner- Review and Swatches

I am not particularly talented when it comes to applying liquid eyeliner, my right hand is as shaky as they come. I don't get the shakes usually- only when applying eyeliner- just my luck! To combat these shakes, I have to find the easiest eyeliner applicators possible. I spied this one on the Wet n Wild stand and I picked it up, despite not knowing much more than Katherine Heigl of Grey's Anatomy infamy is a huge fan of the eyeliner, €3.99 later and it became mine. This is probably the best liquid liner I have ever tried- even more than my other favourite Catrice offering. I got the black shade and it is a dramatic black but that's what I want it for- and unlike most other black liquid eyeliners that I have tried, this one applies shiny and dries completely matte. I prefer this, especially when I am wearing false eyelashes. The applicator is lovely and fine- not too rigid and not too flimsy- perfect for guiding along close to the lashline and even creating your flicks in you are that way inclined. 

The longevity of this on the eyes is amazing and I use a duophase oil based eye makeup remover and cotton pads to swipe it off. It does come off easily enough- however, this dries so quickly (circa 5 seconds) that it is incredibly unforgiving if you make a mistake! 

I definitely think this is a bargain and a great product- if you're into your liner and lashes, I highly recommend trying these out, particularly if you are not very confident at applying eyeliner! 

Are any of you afraid of liquid eyeliner too? ;)

Friday, 14 February 2014

Wet n Wild Color Icon Single Eyeshadows in Brulee and Nutty- Review and Swatches

Wet n Wild eyeshadows are one of my favourite things about makeup ever and it was largely because of these gorgeous shadows that I was deleriously happy. I said it yesterday when I reviewed the Color Icon Powder Blushes- there is no other drugstore company that make powder products like Wet n Wild. They have a ton of palettes available- 3, 5, 6 and 8 pan- but they also have a neat little range of Color Icon Eyeshadow Singles, and I have two to showcase today.

There are seven shades altogether- a pearly white (Sugar), a matte cream (Brulee), a light frosty brown (Nutty), a royal blue (Lagoon), a black (Panther) a metallic green (Envy) and finally, a metallic purple (Kitten). Whilst the Eyeshadow Singles don't offer the same breadth of the colour spectrum that the palettes do, there is quite a bit of variety nonetheless. The shades that stood out to me were Brulee and Nutty (the neutrals of course- what else do you expect from me?)

Brulee is a gorgeous creamy/ off white matte colour and it is probably one of the most pigmented matte cream eyeshadows I have. I often use this over the lid with some matte brown in the crease for a daytime work friendly look, or I put some just on my browbone as a highlight if I am feeling so inclined. The shadow itself is extremely soft and pigmented and shows up even on my very pale skin. I find this is also great for no makeup days because it's quite natural on its own on the lid but it really brightens up the eye area. The eyeshadow itself is smooth and creamy but not crumbly or powdery in the pan and minimal fall out. 

Nutty was a revelation for me, and don't be unimpressed by it's fairly ordinary muddy brown appearance in the pan. This colour has depth and I think it sits somewhere between a brown, bronze, taupe, antique gold colour with a somewhat grey undertone and a silver sheen in a certain light. That makes it sound like an incredibly multiple personality eyeshadow but I prefer to call it versatile. I love to wear this in my crease, it's not uber metallic but you could almost certainly built it up if you were that way inclined. 

These shadows come in the standard black and plastic packaging that I have slated all week long- but I actually have to say, I don't mind the packaging on these at all because they are nice and compact and there is no space wasted with some flimsy applicator that I am realistically never going to use anyway. The packaging on these also feels like flimsy than the packaging on some of the other eyeshadows and palettes. 

And some swatches of course...

These Eyeshadows Singles will hurt your purse by €1.99 a pop but they are SO worth it so if your purse can bear that little infliction of pain, I highly recommend that you pick one of these up!

What do you think of Wet n Wild eyeshadows? Would you be able to restrain yourself and buy a single shadow when there are so many palettes there for the picking? 


Thursday, 13 February 2014

Wet n Wild Color Icon Powder Blush in Pearlescent Pink and Heather Silk- review and swatches (plus a NARS dupe?!)

Second installment in the Wet n Wild journey and today I am looking at the Color Icon Blushes. I have two out of the four blushes available in Ireland- these were the two that jumped out at me on the stand. I've never bought any Wet n Wild blushes before but I am a HUGE fanatic lover of the Color Icon eyeshadows so I thought I was in pretty good hands

There are four shades available in the standard line and in all of the Wet n Wild display stands that I have visited (and I have done the rounds and visited a fair few displays now I am not ashamed to admit but they are all uniform in layout)- however, only two appealed to me on this occasion, and I thought the blush offerings were all quite similar- i.e. four pinks. Anyways, the two that I got were Pearlescent Pink, which is a much celebrated NARS dupe stateside (more on that later) and Heather Silk. 

I believe that these blushes are €4.49 each which is on par with offerings from other budget brands available here including Essence, Catrice and NYC. The pans are decent in size and the product, whilst not being overly soft or messy in the pan, are a dream to apply. The formula is so smooth and silky that these are exceptionally easy to wear- with a light hand, you can have a gentle flush of colour, but it is also easy to build up the pigmentation for a more dramatic finish should you wish. 

Now again, not to dwell on the negatives, but the packaging leaves something to be desired in my opinion. I strongly dislike the black and clear rectangular packaging that these blushes come in. My second peeve is related- the brush that they include in these palettes. It’s small weird short, scratchly hairs, it doesn’t pick up any product but kind of scratches the surface of the product and it’s just a weird shape. I cannot imagine anyone being able to apply their blush with this brush successfully. Now I know it is mean to hold this against the folk in Wet n Wild when they were probably thinking that they were doing the general consumer market a favour by including the brush but my preference would be to just not include the brush and make the packaging a bit neater. And as much as it does pain me to say it because I know I only spent €4 odd euro and wasn't expecting much more, the packaging just isn't hitting any of the right spots for me (I sound like a prized packaging snob now don't I?!). Just saying. 

The main reason that I wanted to try Pearlescent Pink was that many US bloggers have long celebrated it as a dupe for NARS Orgasm. When pictured side by side, you can clearly see how similar they are to each other- however, when I swatched Pearlescent Pink, the texture was more akin to NARS Deep Throat and the colour was more like a muted Orgasm without the glitter and pizazz for which Orgasm is known for.

I’ve included swatches of the blushes so you can get an idea for yourselves of what they swatch like. I've pretty much come to the conclusion that Wet n Wild cannot do any wrong in the powder stakes- I have yet to try one of their powder product that I am not hugely impressed with. I really like these blushes and, put it like this, don’t be too surprised if you see Mellow Wine and Berry Shimmer in my collection in the near future. If you haven’t tried one, I  would definitely recommend it, particularly Pearlescent Pink because I have a feeling that that is going to be a go-to blush in my collection over the spring/summer period.

Have you tried any Wet n Wild blushes yet? What do you think?


Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Wet n Wild Mega Last Lip Color- Collection, Review and Swatches

Since Wet n Wild is pretty new on the Irish market, I’ve decided to embark on a Wet n Wild week (pretty apt considering the weather forecast for the next week eh?!) wherein over the course of the next week- Wednesday to Wednesday- I will show and tell different WnW products each day and let you all know what needs to be known about the particular products. 

First up, I have to talk about one of my WnW loves- the Mega Last Lip Color lipsticks. I picked up my first few on the Non Pareil Boutique website and bore the comparatively extortionate shipping costs just to try these out. Fellow make-up lovers in the States were going gaga over these, and as a fan of a strong statement lip myself, I was intrigued. I have since purchased some new colours and I now have six in my collection and the six that I have incorporate a pretty decent colour spectrum- from peach to baby pink to mauve to hot pink to plum to bright red! There are about 10 colours available in your local WnW stand so if you want to see the whole family, get thee to a Dunnes Stores or local pharmacy that stock the line!

These cost €2.99 a piece which is bargainous- but what is the point in bargainous makeup if it's not good quality? For €2.99 a piece, how much quality are we really entitled to expect? Well, in my opinion, these lipsticks are pretty darn impressive for such a small price tag, but they are not without their flaws. Let's look to the positive first- the shade range is impressive- from your nude offering to the dark plums and reds, there is quite a selection available- not too shabby for a drugstore/pharmacy/supermarket brand. What is really spectacular about these lipsticks, and why I do love them so very much, is the PIGMENTATION (and yes, it is that good). One swipe of these bad boys on your lips and you have literally punched yourself in the mouth with pigment. These lipsticks also last about 4 hours before needing to reapply which is pretty awesome also and they stand the test of time well when faced with every lipstick's worst nightmare of eating. drinking and general wear and tear. 

On to the not-so- positives. These are a little hard to apply to the lips in my opinion. The formula seems quite dry in most of them so they take an extra bit of effort to apply. They are also very drying if being worn for any length of time. When I apply these, I make sure my lips are in good condition, put a layer of Vaseline on my lips, line them with whatever liner I think is a good colour match, and then take my time to fill in the colour. I also think the lipstick is not really soft enough to use with a lip brush, and I am generally not a fan of faffing about with lip brushes. Once I have my general application and shape applied, it is pretty easy to maintain over the course of the day. Also, these lipsticks can be a bit drying and unflattering on dry lips so make sure you keep the kissmakers in good condition. My major bug bear with these however is the packaging. I know, I know, I paid three euro, what should I expect? I don't mind the black bullet and the clear lid, it quite like being able to easily see what colour I have to hand without having to inspect stickers (which are also colour coordinated FYI- much appreciated WnW gurus)- I just haaaaate the way the lipstick does not retreat fully back into the bullet and I always always no matter how hard I try not to always catch the lipstick with the lid when I am putting the product away after using it. This might not bother everyone but it drives me nuts! 

So, bottom line, I love these lipsticks because I love the pigmentation, and I love the pigmentation so much that I would buy more if some new colours came out. I definitely think these would be your thing if you like a statement matte/ slightly satin finish. In the swatches above, I literally swiped the lipstick once on my arm, and you can see the crazy colour payoff for yourselves.

Let me know what you thought of these lipsticks if you have tried any of them recently? What colour do you love?


Sunday, 9 February 2014

Frugal February Week 1 Update- Victim of Crime and new knives!

The first week of Frugal February has flown by and now that I am nine days in, I am feeling pretty darn thrifty! It does not help that my purse was stolen from my bag on the way to/ from work and that I had to cancel all my debit and credit cards. Those of you who follow on Facebook and/or Twitter will have heard the good news that George the litter warden found my purse in a bin on some random street and he very kindly returned it to me. Even though I cancelled all my cards the minute I realised that my purse was missing, I was still happy to have my loyalty cards, Boots card etc back. Of course, every cent that was in my purse was gone (and two holy medals!), but I can get over that. I can never use the purse again, I just can't bear the thought of some lowlife criminal pawing in and pulling it apart looking for cash before tossing it in a bin, so I have tossed it, literally sterilised any cards or anything I had left in it. The bank still have not sent me out my replacement cards which is most annoying quite frankly I think, I mean a week is a long time to wait for something so important but anyway!

It seems quite misfortunate that my purse had to be stolen just before Frugal February began but that is the irony of life. My man friend was in Dublin last weekend and he very kindly brought me groceries for the week and gave me cash to tide me over for the week so I was not too badly off. That said, I didn't spend a single cent of it until yesterday when I did my grocery shopping. I went to four supermarkets to peruse the aisles looking for Slimming World appropriate food. My weekly shopping before used to be in the region of €30 but I would supplement this alot during the week- popping into my local supermarket for bits and pieces and buying my lunch and dinner everyday. Now that I have changed my ways and I am cooking/preparing/planning what I will eat for the week ahead, I have to concentrate more on shopping, have a bit of foresight and pick up the bits that I need and then put everything together in a somewhat intelligible and edible manner. I am not sure whether I think Slimming World is more expensive or if it's just the initial layout trying to stock up my kitchen with fat free this and low fat that and herbs and spices and staples. My grocery shopping for the week, across all the supermarkets, was about €80, and that's after using my Tesco clubcard vouchers that arrived during the week and those receipts you get at the till with the money off vouchers. On the plus side, I don't think I will need to spend another cent on food again during the week. Still though, €80 seems like a lot for one person for one week? Or maybe I am deluded!!

8 out of 9 days in February were spend free days for me which means I have almost hit my 10 day target for the month and to be honest, it was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I haven't spent any money on non-essential items- in fact, the only non-food purchase I did make was a set of knives in HomeStore and More, and these were essential because the knife I was using was so blunt that I had to karate chop my veggies. Of course, I did manage to slice my finger with my new knives on their maiden outing. I haven't bought any magazines, cosmetics, clothing, etc in the last week, and I haven't really missed them. I haven't touched my money in my bank accounts over the last week so I am still on course for saving an extra few bob this month. This last 9 days has really made me reflect on my spending and I definitely think the rest of the month will be an eye opener for me, hope the willpower will get me through and that I won't revert to my spendy ways come 1 March (that said, there are a few things I have mentally wishlisted... :) )

Finally, the picture above is a little investment I made and I am going to use it to record and keep record of all my spending- bills, direct debits, etc.- just so I can clearly see where it all goes. This is a very interesting exercise in itself so I hope it will help me to sit back and take stock!

Hope frugality is treating you all my frugal friends as well :)
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