Wednesday, 25 January 2017

L.O.V Cosmetics - Entire Product Range!!

The last couple of years have been good to us makeup lovers with the introduction of a plethora of new beauty brands but true makeup enthusiasts always have a place in their heart to welcome new makeup brands. Catrice and Essence Cosmetics have been strongholds in the Irish budget makeup market for a long time already so I was very excited when their sister brand from the house of Cosnova, L.O.V Cosmetics, reached Ireland. Whereas Essence is geared somewhat towards teenyboppers (not that that has ever stopped me) and Catrice is aimed at a slightly older market, L.O.V is definitely geared towards a more mature demographic. Now I don't really think makeup fits into demographics but the reason I'm pointing it out at the beginning is because not only are the prices significantly more than sister brands Catrice and Essence, but the actual product line is a bit more refined in terms of colour selections and products and the prices are significantly more than the other Cosnova brands. I believe the L.O.V line is meant to be more premium or luxe than Catrice or Essence offerings - but as you know, the real proof of the pudding is in the testing.

I visited the stand in the Health Express pharmacy in The Square after Gemma from Beautynook tipped me off back in November - long before any press releases or press drops - and the products I have to show you today were all purchased with my own hard earned moolah. Before I go into the nitty gritty and show you what I bought, I took the liberty of taking a few snaps of the stand for your viewing pleasure so you can get a feel for what is available in the line if you cannot easily get to a store to check it out for yourself (or if you're just insatiably curious about makeup as I am!). As far as I can tell, this brand is being rolled out slowly but surely across Ireland so this might entice or deter you from making the journey to your nearest stockist.

NAILS



It wouldn't be a Cosnova brand without some nail polishes and L.O.Vs nail polish line up does not disappoint me (though the distinct focus on reds and pink shades might be disappointing for some of my more adventurous nail aficionados). I love the Marc Jacobs-esque packaging of their LOVinity Nail Lacquers but they don't come with the Marc Jacobs price tag costing you just €5.99 a pop. There is also a nail care line with top coats, base coats, nail strengtheners etc.

LIPS

Y'all know how much I rate the Essence and Catrice lipsticks and we won't even mention my obsession with the lip liners that both brands deliver, so needless to see I was attracted to the lip products like a bee is to pollen - pure instinctive human nature. There isn't a huge line up of lip products compared to Catrice or Essence offerings but there are two different lipstick lines, LOVful which is a shiny creamy finish that felt like a MAC Lustre on swatching and LipAffair which was a more pigmented, creamy finish similar to MAC Amplified lipstick finish. At €9.95 and €11.95 respectively, they are three times the price of Essence/Catrice offerings, albeit in very sleek luxe weighty bullets. There are 10 shades of the LOVful and 16 shades of the LipAffair lipsticks in the collection - all different degrees of nudes, pinks, reds and corals.

 Along with the two lipstick ranges, there is a 10 piece lineup of lipglosses called LOVlicious and these promise to provide volume and shine. I'm not a lipgloss person at all so I wasn't too enthused with these but as you can see, the shade range is nice - from mauvey pinks to watermelon pinks and nudes - nothing too adventurous (which is a recurring theme for this brand in all honesty). These retail for €6.95 each.

There are three lip conditioning products - the About Me Smoothing Lip Balm, the True Me Lip Treatment Oil and the Absolute Me Nourishing Lip Balm Stick. There is also a 10 piece LipAffair lipliner lineup to match with the LipAffair lipsticks. These are ordinary sharpen as you go pencils and they felt very smooth when I swatched them on my hand, but none of them spoke out enough to me for me to make a purchase as I felt the lipliner colours were a little meh. Interesting, there is a clear universal lipliner that can be used with any lipsticks to help prevent feathering - no idea how useful this would be but I haven't seen one of those in a long while and it seems like a handy thing to have in your collection. 

ACCESSORIES

 There is a small collection of LOV makeup brushes available on the stand (not sure whether these are a permanent feature or limited edition - they were in the space that the limited edition range would be in if it was a Catrice/Essence stand. None of these made a huge impact on me and I wasn't enticed by any of them - a foundation, concealer, contouring, eyeshadow and powder/blush brush respectively. If I recall correctly, I think these were in and around the €8-15 mark a piece and honestly through their boxes, they didn't look to be the most amazing quality ever.

EYES

 Another product that Catrice and Essence really excel at compared to their other high street/drugstore counterparts is amazing mascaras for ridiculously low prices. Some of my favourite mascaras have come from Catrice or Essence and cost €4 a piece - it's incredible. LOV have a very decent mascara lineup with 5 different varieties in different formulas and ranging from the €7-15 price point. I wasn't enticed by any of the mascaras on this occasion but that's not to say I wouldn't give one a shot - I feel like Cosnova have the secret sauce when it comes to mascaras so I'm sure it won't be long before I get one to try out.
 In terms of eyeshadow bases, LOV have a Perfectitude Eyeshadow Primer which comes in a tube, is coloured nude, feels very smoothing on the hand (kind of like a silicone foundation primer but not as heavy) and is apparently laced with hyaluronic acid to deliver optimum hydration. There are also 6 TheGlacious Stylo Eyeshadows or eyeshadow sticks in a variety of finishes. I really liked how these swatched and I bought a matte shade the day that I called to the stand.
 LOV have one type of eyeshadow palette available - the LOViconyx - which you have to admit is WAY to similar to the Hourglass eyeshadow palettes to be coincidental. These types of palettes do not even remotely entice me to be honest as I personally do not like the jumbled up colours in one pan (I didn't like the Hourglass ones either) but, in fairness, they didn't swatch badly. There were three varieties of this eyeshadow palette altogether.
They also had a range of single eyeshadows called UnExpected in 3 different finishes - matte, pearl and metallic. At €6.95 each, they are at least twice the price of the Catrice or Essence individual shadows. As you can see from the colours above, the colour range is quite muted - lots of neutral shades with a little pop of pink and purple. I picked up two of these eyeshadows on the day - a matte and metallic shade (more on that below) and I have to say, I am impressed. I would definitely purchase more of these.
Finally on the eyes spectrum we have brow products and LOV have three offerings, the BROWttitude eyebrow contouring palette, the BROWttitude brow gel serum and the double ended BROWttitude eyebrow designer. The shades are quite limited and I didn't swatch them so I can do no more than just show you what is available.

FACE

 There is one face powder in the L.O.V collection and that is the Dualist 2in1 powder foundation, which comes in 6 shades as you can see pictured above. I swatched these in store and whilst they were soft, I could envision this powder looking quite cakey on the skin because I think it would be too easy to pick up a lot of product on your brush with just a very light swatch. The powder seems very fine but it's not packed tightly enough for my liking. I wasn't tempted to pick it up.
There is also a bronzer available - the LOVSun HD matte bronzer. These bronzers are most definitely matte, I didn't detect a hint of shimmer, and unlike the foundation powder above, I think these were nice and tightly packed and would apply lightly. I'm always on the search for the next HG bronzer but these ones didn't quite tickled my pickle as I thought they were both quite yellow toned when I swatched them against my cool toned skin. If there was another shade in this bronzer line that suited, I would have purchased it.
 There is also a blush range - HeartFul Healthy Glow Blush - with three satin and three matte blushes in the colours pictured above. These swatched nicely, there wasn't a lot of kick back on them, and again, whilst i do think the colour range is very demure and quite limited, I was impressed at first swatch. I was actually impressed enough to pick one up even though I do not need any more blushes!
 There are two Perfectitude Primers - an illuminating primer serum and a mattifying, oil free primer - neither of which called out to me (I am awful for primers, even when I remember to apply them, I have the same small rotation all the time). There is also a translucent loose powder which interestingly was not white like the MakeupForEver powder but instead was slightly skin coloured - probably not enough to put any colour on your face.
 The translucent powder also comes in a compact and you might be able to see the colour more clearly in the picture above - it's not the palest shade but it didn't pick up that much colour when I swatched it on my hand (but the proof of the pudding is always in the trying it on your face!). There is also a face contouring palette which you can see was sold out on the day that I called into the store but it doesn't matter anyway because I wasn't too enamoured with the shades.

Next is on to the foundations and y'all know how crazy I am for foundations. I did have high hopes admittedly because Catrice have had some beauts over the years which I rate very highly indeed.
 The first one up, the EvenElixir, is my favourite of the three offerings for a few reasons - firstly, the packaging reminds me muchly of the Bobbi Brown Intensive Serum Foundation, secondly, the foundation comes with a little dropper mechanism which I love for minimising foundation wastage and thirdly, this was the only one of the three foundations that actually came in a shade pale enough for my skin (for reference I would take MAC NW20 in foundations so I am not ghastly white but I am also cool toned and I found the other shades were way too yellow based for my liking. I actually purchased this foundation and it was my favourite of all the L.O.V products that I have tried. I think it was around the €15 quid mark. I have so much to say about this foundation that I actually think I could get a whole post out of it so if that's something you would like to see (perhaps with a comparison with the Bobbi Brown foundation), let me know.
 The next foundation is the LOVTime 18H long lasting foundation - comes in 6 shades as you can see and each bottle has a pump. I wasn't keen on these - the lightest shade looked Simpson yellow on me and I hate how it swatched on my hand. I am often partial to a fuller coverage foundation but the texture of this one was not appealing to me (though, again, I have to caveat that by saying the real test of a foundation is actually putting it on your face). Even though there are 6 shades, I was disappointed by the shade range and I think the packaging is quite poor for a brand that definitely tries to have more a luxe feel than the next stand in the chemist.
 Finally on the foundation frontier there was a TheUndressed 12H moisturising foundation - theere were only 4 shades available in the pharmacy I went to so I'm not sure if they start at 020 (which, in Cosnova speak, is usually the second or third-to-lightest shade) or if there is a lighter shade available but there was just not enough of room for it in the stand. Either way, a lighter shade would have been appreciated because again, I found 020 to be way too dark and yellow for my own skin tone.
Finally, there are a trio of concealer products available in the brand - the CoverStory serum concealer, the Effectful Concealer Pen and the Confidential Camouflage Concealer Palette. I swatched the concealers but I wasn't really too pushed on them at the time - to be honest, it could have been down to the fact that by the time I got to the end of the stand, my hand was raw with wiping off all my makeup swatches and I had lost enthusiasm!

So, now that I have shown you what exactly is available in the brand, I picked up a few bits to try out and I will do a speed review on all of them bar the foundation (which I have so many feelings about that I actually think that it deserves a whole post of its own with before and after pictures and pictures showing the wear and comparison to the Bobbi Brown foundation). 

I picked up a small enough selection on my maiden visit to a L.O.V stand for a few reasons - firstly, as I've alluded to above, I felt like a lot of the colours were very safe and I already have plenty of save options in my makeup collection. Secondly, I heard nothing at all from any of my blogging peers before I visited the stand so I had no preconception before I went in of what I would like to try. Also, the price point, whilst still affordable, is definitely on the higher side of the highstreet comparable with Max Factor or Revlon so I just wanted to sample a cross section of some different products. 
I picked up the Heartful Healthy Glow blush in the shade 010 Charming Rose and I love it - it's a gorgeous demure shade that looks so natural on the apples of your cheeks. I've been stuck in a blush rut for the last few months but this L.O.V offering has pleased me greatly. Equally as pleasing were the Unexpected eyeshadows in 100 Black Orchid (matte) and especially 320 Fairy Dust (metallic), the latter of which has all the eyepopping attitude of a pigment. I will definitely buy more of the metallic eyeshadows because I think they are special - I would be more than happy to pay the 15 odd quid for a MAC shadow for these bad boys so the fact that they are less than 7 bucks a piece is a bonus. Equally as impressive and I probably was not expecting it to be as excellent as it was is TheGlacious longlasting eyeshadow stick in 920 Lavender Aura - not only do I love the smoky lavender shade, this is a dreamy to apply to the lids, a dream to blend out because it's nice and creamy but when it sets, it really sets and it lasts brilliantly throughout the day. I'm appreciating more smoky mauvey purple eyes of late and I'm loving this - in tone it reminds me a lot of one of my favourite MAC eyeshadows Quarry. Speaking of mauves, I was completely drawn to the Nail Lacquer in 300 Mauve Majesty which I have not had a chance to even try out yet (I got gel nails in November and my nails are thin as paper since I had them removed so I am DIY Shellac-ing for the foreseeable to give them a chance to grow back without cracking). I like the packaging, the removable lid and the wide brush that covers a whole nail in practically one swipe! Finally, the LipAffair in Ayann's Orchid also makes me very happy - a gorgeous shade that I can only liken to a more pigmented, Amplified version of the MAC Lustre lipstick in Syrup. This is so comfortable to wear, doesn't have that sickly Rimmel/L'Oreal smell and wears off nicely. The packaging of these also feels really luxe. 

The main moral of the story is that I actually really liked and rated any of the products that I purchased. I didn't have great first impressions of some of the other products but again I am caveating that by saying they were just first impressions without having actually tried the products out. I hope this post will be helpful to those of you who have been curious about the brand. I know that L.O.V Cosmetics are being stocked in Shaws Department Stores and Health Express pharmacies but I haven't seen a list of stockists - keep an eye on the L.O.V Cosmetics Ireland Facebook page for further details.

Have you heard of L.O.V Cosmetics or tried any of their products yet? Is there anything in particular that sticks out to you that you would like to try first? 
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