Jo Malone's Myrrh & Tonka - Review

So it was my birthday last week (I'm now officially in my late twenties...sniff), apart from the noticeable wrinkles and grey hair that have appeared overnight (I might be a tad overdramatising here) I received this gorgeous Jo Malone perfume from my big boo (a.k.a. brother).

Now don't be too impressed with his choice, we actually went together to Senteurs d'Ailleurs (in Place Stéphanie here in Brussels); a swanky perfume shop which carries: Jo Malone, Diptyque, Molecule 01 to name a few. And if you've read any of my other perfume posts (here, here and here) then you'll know that I have a particular fondness for very sweet/vanilla-y perfumes and this Myrrh & Tonka is no exception!

New to Jo Malone's collection (which I only realised when I went on to their website), this scent is just delicious! I will admit it might not be for everyone, after all their most popular scents amongst bloggers - Peony & Blush Suede and Wood Sage & Sea Salt - I don't particularly care for.

However, so far anyway, I've had no complaints! My family would generally tell me if a perfume was too strong/sickly (not that that makes me stop wearing it of course!). And even my mum liked it so much that she wants it for her Christmas (and we generally have very different tastes; she likes the more floral and me the more fruity/sweet).

Finally, after patiently waiting for two months since I picked it out, I get to wear this cologne! Yes, I have been saying perfume, but this is in fact a cologne. It's part of Jo Malone's more expensive "Cologne Intense" range a.k.a. the black bottles (which unfortunately don't come in the 30ml, so make sure you really like your choice before purchase because it's a SPLURGE whether you get the 50ml or the 100ml). And contrary to what the perfume chart indicates: that a cologne is weaker in fragrance oils than a perfume, this cologne really does deserve its "intense" categorisation, as it's very strong!!! Composed of:

- TOP NOTES: Lavender

- MIDDLE NOTES: Myrrh

- BASE NOTES: Vanilla, tonka bean and almond

Isn't the packaging amazing?! Plus, since the shop (Senteurs d'Ailleurs), at the time, had run out of boxes to wrap my cologne in, I got a whole bunch of extra Jo Malone samples to enjoy (and I ain't complaining!).

As for longevity, this cologne lasted on me all day! Same as their Blackberry & Bay cologne in fact (which is the only other Jo Malone perfume I own; see my Top 5 Autumn/Fall Perfumes post for more info about that one), albeit a bit stronger. However, I have to acknowledge that I have a tendency to spray my perfumes on my clothes which is a contributing factor to longevity (except when I'm testing them out before purchase, then I make it a point to spray it on my skin to see how my body's chemistry reacts to it).

There you have it, my review of the new Myrrh & Tonka fragrance. I urge you to go and sniff it, and if you like it, definitely spritz it on your skin to test out (I mean why not?! That's what the samples are there for!).

Do you own any Jo Malone cologne or cologne intense? What do you think of it/them?

If not and you've only had a curious gander (cause your wallet can't take it), which one caught your eye, or should I say nose?

 

xxxemma

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Top Berry, Plum & Red Lipsticks

So it's officially spring!!! Now I know what you're thinking...best time to crack out the berry, plum and red lipsticks! I kid, I know these colours are considered to be more "wintery" but seeing as the weather over here doesn't seem to have gotten the message of the season change (except for a few sunny days here and there) I thought why not?! Plus, I know my ladies (and gents coz no one is left behind!) south of the equator would appreciate this post (SHOUTOUT to my bae Maga!).

THE BERRIES & PLUMS

First up are the berries and plums. I find the berries (along with the brighter reds, see below) the most versatile, season-wise, of the lot. When I think of berry lipsticks the colours that immediately pop into my mind are those of strawberries (the darker smaller ones) and raspberries. Because they contain more of a red tone, they tend to make the lips brighter and juicier looking than their plum counterparts (this can vary depending on the finish of your lipstick too of course) and hence can be worn pretty much whenever.

However, plums are a lot darker and more blue toned in nature hence their purple appearance can give you a more "vampy" look very quickly. Now you can rock this look in the summer by all means but for me, personally, under the harsh bright sunlight it makes you look like you're wearing too much makeup (even if you're not!). But don't despair, for summer evenings/nights, when the sun has quietly nestled beyond the horizon, your dark plums can come back out to play! Paired with a golden goddess look, it can be really fun, as it's an unexpected yet very glamorous combination!

Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet - 02 Frambourjoise

Speaking of berries making me think of raspberries, let me introduce you to my first favourite and aptly named liquid lipstick: Frambourjoise (it's a play on the word framboise which is the French for raspberry). This is the perfect berry colour! This range of liquid lipsticks has one of the most pleasant textures out there, and when Bourjois first launched this line (before everyone and their mother started making liquid lipsticks) it was all the rage for good reason!

Velvety matte without being drying (it looks shiny in the pictures because I didn't wait for them to dry down after application as I was quickly swatching one after another). I especially love the almost airbrushed lip line it gives without even trying (using a lip pencil is not needed and would ruin the effect). You can layer it up too from a simple wash of colour to a bolder one (yet always super smooth and pigmented). Hence this Edition Velvet is the perfect consistency to create a Korean gradient lip. Just you wait, like the cushion compact, this trend will surely trickle its way to the western beauty world...as soon as everyone puts down their contouring brushes that is! ;)

Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet - 14 Plum Plum Girl

And because at this point I may or may not own every colour from the Edition Velvet line (there are a few colours that aren't my cup of tea) I had to also include another favourite from this line (...don't make me choose, they're all my babies!!!), Plum Plum Girl. This one is right on the cusp between a berry and a plum depending on how many layers you apply; one coat would be more berry but it gets darker and hence plum-ier as you layer. It still has a hint of red, which is why I hesitate to call it a full on plum despite the name. To be fair, Bourjois themselves have categorised it, along with the lipstick in Violine Strass (just below), as a plumy fuchsia.

Bourjois Rouge Edition Lipstick - 18 Violine Strass

Despite belonging to the same plumy fuchsia category as the lip velvet above, this one I wouldn't hesitate to call a plum (even if it's in a lighter plum on the "plum spectrum"...yes I am indeed inventing my own colour grouping!), because it's darker and more purple toned. As it has a satin finish, it has a certain glossiness which I'm not a big fan of in darker lipsticks! This consistency means the lipstick can transfer easily and never actually quite "sets". We've all experience those windy days with our hair dragging across our lipstick to then leave random lipstick marks all over the rest of the face, now while this might not be a problem with a glossy neutral...dark plums are a different story! Hence, I mattify down all glossy dark lipsticks (depending how transferable and glossy they are) by blotting my lips on a tissue (I usually don't bother with the transluscent powder step).

However, since this lipstick also contains small specs of super fine gold glitter (you can just about see it in the photos) you never actually fully lose the shine. When any light hits it, you still get a slight sparkle/shine not matter how much you've mattifyed it beforehand.

Sephora Cream Lip Stain - 14 Blackberry Sorbet

You may recognise this beauty from my Sephora Cream Lip Stain post. In those photos however it appears to have a blue sheen which was caused by my camera flash. These photos are a way more accurate depiction of what this colour actually looks like. Still dark and very blue toned, i.e. a quintessential plum, it's still one of my favourites. I stand by my first description though, that it's a bit finicky to apply; excess product on the doe foot applicator can line the edge of your lips (a quick dab with a tissue solves this problem). Not too drying, yet not as comfortable as the Bourjois Edition Velvet liquid lipsticks. The Sephora Cream Lip Stains still remain some of my favourite go-to liquid lipsticks. As a bonus, since they dry down completely matte and transfer proof these are my saviour in windy conditions when I still want to wear a bold lip.

THE M.A.C. LIPSTICKS

M.A.C. Satin Lipstick - Captive

Described as a pinkish-plum on the Mac website, this is another colour that can be described as right on the cusp between a berry and a plum. It has a rusty red quality/undertone to it (exaggerated in certain lights), which is what first captured my interest (see what I did there?). Bought pretty recently (right before last autumn) it is a colour I find myself keep being drawn back to as an everyday lipstick. When I'm craving the pigmentation/colour of a berry/plum but I don't want it to be the centre piece of my makeup look that day (dark lips will automatically draw the eyes downwards), this is the one I reach for! It has this amazing capacity to be a lip accentuating lipstick all the while without monopolizing the totality of the attention to that area of the face either, which is a rare feat and one which I very much love!

M.A.C. Satin Lipstick - Rebel

Described as a midtonal cream plum this is quite a strong purple hued lipstick (it also stains the lips pinky-purple when removed). It's an autumn classic when it comes to anyone that collects Mac lipsticks. If you've followed me for a while now you'll know that I've never been obsessed with the whole Mac lipstick craze that went on for a while in the YouTube Beauty community (don't get me wrong, I found some of my favourite YouTubers that way!). But price point wise, I wasn't impressed and still find them very expensive to this day, especially since you can find equally good formulas, if not better, at the drugstore! So I never felt the need to look anywhere else; personally my all-time favourite drugstore lipsticks are The Moisture Renew ones from Rimmel.

Since then however, and after many solely lipstick swatching trips to Mac, I now know that my favourite formula from them is their Satin finish (with a few exceptions for certain colours). If you weren't aware, Mac do their lipsticks by finish: Amplified, Cremesheen, Frost, Glaze, Lustre, Satin, Matte and Retro Matte. And a colour will only come in one of these finishes, not all...sad face (with a few exceptions like the Matte vs. Retro Matte), so sometimes you'll absolutely love a colour but hate the finish or vice versa.

Needless to say, only fools don't change their minds and since then, after much umming and ahhing, I've amassed quite the collection (seven total) that I'm really happy with! While there are still some colours I might have my eye on, I'll never become one of those "must have the latest Mac IT colour girls"...nope...that honour is exclusively reserved for Essie I'm afraid (probably all those nail polish fumes going to my head).

THE REDS

L'Oréal Color Riche Collection Exclusive - Julianne's Pure Red

A true classic red (although also a bit of a lip stainer; it leaves a pinkish hue when removed), I can't get enough of this lipstick come spring and summer. I love to style it with gingham...a bit "à la vintage", with some red sunnies to complete the look (as seen in my Sunglasses Lookbook). But there are many ways to style a red lipstick (as it goes with anything) but if you're looking for some fresh ideas then I highly recommend checking out Wendy (from Wendy's Lookbook), who recently did a red lip; pairings video which I absolutely loved! You'll stay for her soothing voice and impeccable taste in style...trust me!

Rimmel Kate Moss Lasting Finish - 107

This lipstick needs no introduction, made famous by the beautiful Zoella (yes I immediately went out to buy it the first time she ever mentioned it), it's a staple autumn shade. However, this has also got to be my favourite of all time dark red/burgundy colours, which makes it an all year round go-to for any evening event in my opinion. Plus, I have yet to see anyone that this colour doesn't suit (which I'm sure has helped with its huge popularity). Great formula, long lasting power and overall comfort, I'm now on my second tube, that's how much I love it! Do be warned though, it leaves your lips stained a bit red when removing ;)

Topshop Velvet Lips - Velveteen Ribbon

Last but by no means least is this Topshop Velvet lipstick (also leaves your lips a bit stained after removal). Now this one is a bit of a tricky lipstick because I absolutely love the colour and velvety finish it gives (it really does look like you've cut up a piece of soft velvety fabric and stuck it onto your lips) but I hate the heavy/dry feeling it leaves on your lips (like literally having a piece of velvety fabric glued onto your lips). So, a no-win situation really! But I thought it was important to mention, as Topshop sporadically comes out with different colours in this formula so it might be worth knowing what you're getting yourself into beforehand. I personally can't stand wearing it for more than an hour stretch at a time, but for that one hour, it really does look stunning!

There you have it; my top berry, plum and red lipsticks. Sorry this latest blog post has been such a long time coming, but hopefully you've enjoyed it nonetheless?!

What are your favourite berry, plum and red lipsticks?

How do you like to style your red lipsticks? Do you coordinate your outfit to your lipstick or do you prefer to clash (it can be a fun look too!)? Although clashing with red is a bit harder to do as it suits pretty much every outfit!

Finally, do you reserve these colours strictly for autumn/winter time or do you like to wear them all year round like me? I still do love to wear bright colours in the spring/summer I just don't "ban" these ones from my repertoire, the more the merrier I say! ;)

 

xxxemma

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Ralph Lauren's Tender Romance - Review

So, Valentine's Day is coming up...cough cough...tomorrow, in case you needed a quick reminder. I know I don't, I LOVE "stuffing my face full of heart-shaped chocolate" day! #livingthesinglelife. But just in case you needed a last-minute gift inspiration or if you just wanted to treat yourself to something special, I thought this little short and sweet post would do the trick!

Ralph Lauren - Tender Romance (Eau de Parfum)

Without further ado, I present the newest addition to my perfume collection and a recent release (launched in 2016) from Ralph Lauren: Tender Romance! Now while this perfume doesn't actually contain any vanilla, which if you're a long time reader you'll know is the basis of most of my favourite perfumes (see my Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire post or my Top 5 Autumn/Fall Perfumes), it does however contain benzoin. This is a resin with a vanilla-like sweet aroma and this perfume certainly delivers on sugariness...hence why I liked it so much (yes I do have a sweet tooth...what gave me away?!).

Nevertheless, I would describe this perfume as quite floral and fresh smelling (still with a strong sugary undertone), perfect for the last winter months where you're naturally craving a rejuvenating scent to start off the new year. While I can't personally detect the spiciness of the ginger note, the base notes definitely come into play after a couple of hours and make everything softer somehow.

Furthermore, this perfume has one of the strongest lasting powers I have ever come across, you're getting lots of bang for your buck that's for sure! Admittedly, I tend to spray my perfumes on my clothes, which tends to extend the life of any perfume anyway, but this one I tested out on my skin and I could still smell it on myself after 8 hours, amazing!!! I also read that for some ladies this lasted on them for up to 15-24 hours!!! If that doesn't persuade you that this scent is at least worth a try, I don't know what will?!

- TOP NOTES: Bergamot, ginger and pear

- MIDDLE NOTES: White ginger lily, white magnolia and jasmine

- BASE NOTES: Cashmere wood, benzoin and musk

Hope you all have a lovely day tomorrow, whether you spoil yourself or someone you cherish...we all know those chocolates aren't going to eat themselves!!! Num num!

What's your favourite thing on Valentine's Day? I love watching romantic films too (they're my favourite genre anyway), although I'm not quite sure what this year's picks will be?

Have you had any recent perfume discoveries I need to know about?

xxxemma

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Tanya Burr 12 Day Beauty Calendar 2016

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Now that it's officially Christmas, the countdown of Tanya Burr's 12 Day Beauty Calendar can begin!

As with any 12 day calendar, when you're supposed to open it is entirely up to you (within the reasonable of course: nooo...opening everything up on the first day is cheating! But...twiddles foot on ground...I'm a beauty blogger?! Nods approvingly). So whether it's on the first days of December, so you can have all the beauty products at your disposal for any upcoming festivities, every other day to make it last longer, or even sticking to the traditional 12 days of Christmas (because you've only just received it as a Christmas gift to enjoy over the next few days), either way it's going to be a wonderful surprise for any beauty lover out there!

Last year I was fortunate enough to find the Ciaté London Mini Mani Month Calendar for sale in March, so if you still come across this calendar then, you'll know you'll want to pick it up! Personally I managed to snatch this calendar up when it was reduced to £15 (instead of the usual £25); amazing bargain especially since that works out at £1.25 per beauty item - definitely one of the most affordable Beauty Calendars out there (and great quality too, except for the polishes, but more about that below)!

As with any post of this kind this is going to contain major #SPOILERS so if you don't want to know what's in your calendar before you buy then GO NOW, save yourself!!!...If you do, then stay, let's hang out! And you can join me on my first foray into the Tanya Burr Cosmetics line.

 In order of appearance, this calendar contains:

 1. Lip Gloss in Candy Cane
 2. Nail File

 3. Mirror
 4. Eye Shimmer Pot in Champagne Sparkle (rose gold)
 5. Lip Gloss in Berry Pavlova
 6. Nail Polish in Glitters and Gold (gold)
 7. Glitter Eyeliner in Ice Crystals (silver)
 8. Eye Shimmer Pot in Snow Day (white)
 9. Matte Lip in Christmas Stocking
10. Glitter Eyeliner in Treasured (gold)
11. Nail Polish in Sleigh Bells (red)
12. Nail Polish in Glitter Rain (silver)

NAIL FILE & MIRROR

Let's begin with the filler presents of the bunch: the nail file and mirror. The former is pretty (my favourite colour) but I already have a metallic Pfeilring Nail File that I swear by and at £9.99 it's well worth the investment (I've just bought a new one after 10 years of usage on my old one, I kid you not!!!). Cardboard nail files are too gritty for my liking, they tend to tear my nails more than anything, and I already have an issue with peeling nails to begin with.

The mirror is cute but I wish it had a cover so you could protect it from scratches in your handbag (keys people!!!! Or as I like to call them; little stabby swords! (we've all been there when it comes to searching into the abyss of the handbag).

NAIL POLISH & GLITTER EYELINER

The whole reason I wanted this Beauty Calendar in the first place was for the red glitter polish (Sleigh Bells), it's beautiful and the formula is amazing!!! As you'll know from my recent Seventeen Colour Carnival blog post I've been looking for a great red glitter for ages, but unfortunately this doesn't cut the mustard because of THE STINK. Now I'm not a novice when it comes to nail polish smells, I've poisoned my lungs with my fair share, but I don't know what it is in all three polishes of this set (or even if it's the same problem with Tanya's other polishes), but they smell incredibly strong, almost like paint thinner/glue. After painting these three swatches for the photos I had to let them dry OUTSIDE, overnight, because I couldn't stand it! (Don't want to try applying it to my whole 10 fingers). Maybe I'm being too fussy, but something that chemical really can't be good for me to be inhaling. So I'm back where I was, still without my ideal red glitter polish...sniff.

If you're also put off by the smell of these polishes then good dupes for the gold (Glitters and Gold) and silver (Glitter Rain) ones are Essie's Luxeffects toppers in Rock At The Top and Set In Stone respectively (both of which I already own, hence why I'm not heartbroken over those ones).

The glitter eyeliners on the other hand are A-typical glitter eyeliners and I have no real qualms other than they apply a little bit sparse. I know looking at all these beauty products the last thing you would think is "this needs more glitter" but here I am saying the eyeliners could have used more glitter! Or maybe some more pigment in the suspending liquid?

EYE SHIMMER POTS

Now I'm a contacts wearer, so I must admit my experience with loose glitter is pretty non-existent (I mean waterlining was not suggested either and look how far I've come). But these are little pots full of what is essentially specks of scratchy "dust" and I'm a bit more hesitant to dip my foot in THAT pool!

Nonetheless, I've always loved the effect glitter has on the eyes (just not my eyes) and with Snow Day (a white glitter with multi-coloured sparkle, almost holographic) and Champagne Sparkle (a gorgeous rose gold glitter with silvery sparkle), you're sure to dazzle this festive season!

LIP GLOSS & MATTE LIP

And now the bit you've all been waiting for, SWATCH TIME!!!! All of Tanya's lip products smell absolutely delicious, a sugary candy cane scent which is a far cry from her polishes.

Tanya Burr - Candy Cane (Lip Gloss)

Speaking of which, her appropriately named lip gloss. This Candy Cane lip gloss although rather fuchsia coloured in the bottle is much more of a softer pink on the lips. Now I'm not a fan of lip glosses (to many struggles with hair on lip situations in the past) but Tanya might have made me a convert! Very similar to the almost balmy buttery and non-sticky softness of the L'Oréal Color Riche Extraordinaire Lip Colors, I think these are a must try!

Tanya Burr - Berry Pavlova (Lip Gloss)

Again appropriately named, this colour is not as red as the bottle might have you imagine, it's in fact quite a fair bit pink and hence more berry toned. Same gorgeous formula as the one above.

Tanya Burr - Christmas Stocking (Matte Lip)

Christmas Stocking is a super orange-y toned red, perfect for the holidays.

I was very interested to try Tanya's matte lip formula and I could honestly not be more impressed! Similar feeling to the Sephora Cream Lip Stains, which are the Beauty Blogger/Guru World's favourite liquid lipsticks formula and for good reason! This one is right up there too, more velvety and a tad bit more drying, this formula nonetheless might give Sephora Cream Lip Stains some serious competition (plus Tanya's price is a pittance in comparison to the price of those bad boys, I know which my wallet prefers!).

Do be warned though, you'll need some seriously heavy duty makeup remover (oil/remover combo) to get this baby off your lips (it's what make it so long lasting). But nothing my trusted Lancôme Bi-Facil couldn't handle.

So all in all, what do I think of Tanya Burr's Cosmetics? Pretty fantastic!!! Good quality especially for the price range, other than the minor blip of the nail polish smell I would honestly love to try more from her Cosmetics line (and isn't that the clever point of these calendars? Tasters for a product range).

I have to say my absolute favourite part of all these products has to be the names that Tanya gives them. If I ever had a beauty product line (I can dream people!!!) I hope I could come up with names at least half as good as she does. Honestly there's something quite disappointing when your favourite beauty product doesn't have a cute name to remember it by...cough, Rimmel Kate Moss lipstick in 107...cough.

So there you have it, a peak in Tanya Burr's 12 Day Beauty Calendar, hope you enjoyed?!

Let me know what was your favourite product?

Have you tried anything else from Tanya's line that I should get my hands on?

What's your makeup go-to for the holiday? Glitter yea or nay?

 

xxxemma

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Zoella Christmas Collection 2016 - Review

What better way to start my Christmas blog posts than with another Christmas obsessive like me...Zoe!!! This is the second year she has brought out a Christmas range, however unlike last year where the products retained the Zoella "Classic" scent, this year it's a brand new, limited edition, gingerbread scent!!!

Now you may or may not know (depending on how long you've been following her), Zoe doesn't actually like sweet scents (shock horror I know!!!). Although technically, gingerbread might be more accurately categorised as a spicy scent, it still retains a sweet factor. She has succeeded once before with her Zoella's Sweet Inspirations range, so I had the utmost faith that she would succeed again. And I was right!!! (go me!!!). She manages to encapsulate the gingerbread spiciness all the while keeping it sweet with a hint of vanilla.

I have tried gingerbread scented products before (as a giftset from Boots years ago) but the shower gel and cream were so bad smelling (the world's strongest and most unpleasant spicy smell mixed with chemicals...shudders just thinking about it) that I had to throw them out (that's £5 I'll never see again). This time I had to take the same gamble, and not smell the products before buying, as I didn't go on our annual Bluewater shopping trip this year.

If I'm honest though I wasn't really expecting to get anything from the Zoella Christmas range, as this time last year it had already sold out (still wish I had got my hands on that lip balm duo in vanilla and mint...sniff). This year however, my luck had turned, and I got all the items I wanted (bearing in mind I didn't go overboard, since I didn't know if I would actually like the scent) and I'm very happy with them!

Zoella Hungry Hands: Hand Cream

Hands down (see what I did there) my favourite packaging from this entire collection! It has rose gold detailing, the red & white string effect and the cutest little rose gold gingerbread silhouette (mais oui!) above the lid.

As for the product itself it's good but not great, but wait...wait before you click away! What I mean is that when it comes to moisturising my hands I'm used to using The Body Shop's Body Butters as my winter saviours. I put it on before bed (since I'm not going to wash my hands for a long period of time) and the next day my hands stay fully moisturised without any additional top-ups. The down side is that the Body Butters aren't really designed for the hands and therefore take a bit of time to sink in.

With Zoella's Hungry Hands however, the product sinks in super quickly with almost a matte finish, so you're not left with greasy hands, and 2 minutes after application you could potentially go about your day. But I tested it out before bed as usual, and my hands didn't stay moisturised for quite as long during the next day (they started to feel really dry by evening time), but because of the quick dry time, I really wouldn't mind carrying this cute hand cream around with me (in my handbag), and just re-apply throughout the day...leaving a gingerbread trail behind me as I go. :)

Zoella Ginger Cream: Body Cream

Nice packaging although the mis-matched red lid with the bordeaux hurts my eyes (...and my heart #matchinglunatic); it would have been way cooler with a rose gold lid. But I'm being fussy, the product itself is superb, and my favourite by far!

Same gingery vanilla scent as the hand cream above, it moisturises freshly shaved legs to perfection! It also sinks in relatively quickly; I wouldn't go trying to put on a pair of tights 5 minutes after application though, you'll end up in tears...or with ladders. Having tried it as a hand cream now too (what is with me and not using products as they should be?), I can confirm that it keeps my hands moisturised for as long as my Body Butters. All in all, if you were only going to try one product from the Zoella Christmas range I would highly recommend this one, but I just wish it came in the cuter packaging that is the one above.

Zoella Bake My Day!: Fragranced Body Mist

My least favourite of the bunch, I'm glad it came with the body cream so I feel like I didn't waste too much money (although to be fair Zoella manages to always keep her products reasonably priced, so can't complain too much).

I've noticed when it comes to Zoella's Fragrance Mists that they all seem to have a slightly different smell to the range they represent. I don't know what it is, (maybe the alcohol it contains?) but each time I smell one, I find them a lot stronger and too unpleasant/sickly to actually wear. I tried spraying this one on my jumper (yes I tend to spray perfumes on my clothes rather than on my skin...it last longer #tips) but I had to immediately wash it because I couldn't stand the smell. It's just too strong! This might be due to the "wearoff factor" hence it has to be stronger at first spray to last throughout the day?! It's just too much for me personally, and I much prefer the slightly sweeter and diluted smell of the creams.

There you have it my thoughts on Zoella's Christmas Collection 2016.

What did you think of the scent? Does it encapsulate gingerbread/Christmas to you?

Have you tried anything from the range? If so, what's your favourite product?

What would you like to see Zoe come up with next year? I'm thinking a candy cane scent with more rose gold packaging, pretty please!!! Any turkey or Brussel sprout scent suggestions won't be taken seriously! :P

 

xxxemma

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H&M Makeup Haul - Review & Swatches

I think we can all remember 6 years ago, when Topshop decided to launch a beauty range...I know I was rather dubious back then, but any doubt over the quality of the products was quickly erased (swatches galore anyone?). It's not every day a high street clothes store decides to invest in makeup and does so successfully, but 5 years on (yes I'm a little late to the party) and H&M have repeated the feat!

I do have a sneaking suspicion that this is not H&M's first dip in the makeup pool, as I do remember spotting some eyelash curlers and eyeliners through a store window maybe 3 or so years ago. But this is certainly the first time they have released such a beautiful, cohesive and extensive range.

The standout packaging of the H&M Beauty collection has to be the hexagonal blush compact. Geometric shapes, especially hexagons, have been the latest fad in the jewellery world. No more the statement earrings and necklaces (I'll keep mine just in case, we all know fashion is bound to repeat itself...hello 90s) but rather the more delicate and minimalistic jewellery is the new "in".

H&M have got it so right when they decided to use minimalistic and just as equally gorgeous packaging. Enough with the gushing though, I know you are all here to read about the quality of the products...and let me tell you, they don't disappoint!

Colour Essence Eye Cream - Champers & Earth Angel

When it comes to cream eyeshadows my only real reference in terms in quality has to be the Maybelline Eyestudio Color Tattoo 24hr Cream Gel Eyeshadows (try and say that 5 times quickly!). In terms of colour payoff and lasting power I would say the H&M Colour Essence Eye Creams are on par with the former. However, texture-wise they are a lot lighter and mousse-ier hence it's very easy to accidentally dig your nail in the H&M cream eyeshadows and get too much product on your finger (especially if you are heavy handed like me). But the light texture also means you can barely feel it on your eyelids, so not really something I'm going to complain about.

Champers is a beautiful warm beige with gold shimmer and Earth Angel is a rich chocolaty brown also with gold shimmer (don't base yourself on the colours of the pots in my photos above but rather the swatches on my arm below). So far, I've only tested Champers; by itself, over eyeshadow primer, over eyeshadow primer and with powder eyeshadow to set it, and I got very different results:

- BY ITSELF: very much like the Maybelline Color Tattoo, the product creases after a couple of hours. Nothing too noticeable, especially with such a light colour as Champers, but not ideal.

- OVER EYESHADOW PRIMER: no creasing even after 8 hours of wear. The only issue I had was that my eyeliner in my upper lashline smudged onto my crease because the H&M eyeshadow cream was not matte enough to prevent the smudging. Completely resolvable by wearing a smudgeproof eyeliner, powder eyeliner, or simply no eyeliner at all.

- OVER EYESHADOW PRIMER & WITH POWDER EYESHADOW: This combo will mean zero budging, the problem then becomes finding the perfect powder eyeshadow to match the eyeshadow cream which kind of nullifies the need for an eyeshadow cream in the first place I think (just wear the powder eyeshadow).

In conclusion, the best technique with this product is to wear it solely over an eyeshadow primer (my favourite you'll know by now is the Too Faced Shadow Insurance Eye Primer) and avoid wearing a smudging eyeliner in your upper lashline.

Pure Radiance Powder Blusher - Imperial Red

If you have read my KIKO Super Colour Eyeliner post then you'll know that I've been looking for a bright and pigmented poppy red blusher for a while now. I was so pleased to finally find such a good one in H&M Beauty, the Pure Radiance Powder Blusher in Imperial Red is exactly what I had wanted.

Now don't be an idiot like I was and assume that this blusher doesn't have a lot of colour payoff, because it does! I did a couple of dabs with my brush and applied it directly to my cheek...needless to say I immediately regretted this move (dab off the excess on the back of your hand first). Amazing pigmentation, zero patchiness but because I had applied too much I had to go in with some foundation to neutralise my error. Hence why the blusher you see in the photos below is perfectly reasonable and not a re-enactment of Pikachu (a Pokémon with very red and round cheeks in case you didn't know).

Fluid Hues Eye Colour - Mulberry Mist

This is a gorgeous cranberry colour that swatches beautifully on the arm but eyelid application is a completely different story:

- BY ITSELF: I tried applying it directly to the eyelids with the sponge applicator then immediately tried to blend with a brush. The brush unfortunately removed some of the product and created patches.

So I then tried again this time blending with my finger...this worked but you do loose some of the pigmentation when blending, so I then put on an extra layer (to get the colour intensity back) and tried to blend a bit more...disaster, it removed some of the product underneath. I tried a gentle patting motion but that also lifted off the previously blended product. So I then just went straight in with the applicator again on the patches and abandoned blending a second time altogether. This technique kinda works, but it still didn't give me the colour intensity I wanted or that swatches on your arm. Plus, it was also rather uncomfortable, heavy and sticky to wear, especially when waiting for it to dry.

- OVER EYESHADOW PRIMER: a total disaster, this was how I first tried to wear it, and because the product is so good at sticking to your eyelid, I got drag marks when I tried to blend it in the outer corner and my crease.

- OVER EYESHADOW PRIMER & WITH POWDER EYESHADOW: because of the said drag marks mentioned above, I only had a limited time the fix the issue caused by the eyeshadow primer before having to go out in public (yes, the blusher incident did not help either). I had to quickly apply some Mac eyeshadow in Coppering in my crease, and Cranberry (Mac eyeshadow post coming soon) on my mobile eyelid and outer crease as well as my lower lashline. I then added some Rimmel Scandal Eyes Waterproof Kohl Eyeliner in 001 Black in my waterline (when wearing such a dramatic colour on your eyes you need a dark barrier between the whites of your eyes and the colour, otherwise you just look like you've been crying). I finished off the look with the Sephora Lip Liner To Go in 17 Light Brown.

The best technique with this one is...I don't know?!! This is a very difficult product to use, but it's such a beautiful colour I will persevere and try and find a solution. But if you were to buy from the Fluid Hues Eye Colour range I would suggest going for a much lighter colour so that the patchiness (if there is any in the lighter colours) might not be so noticeable and the need for blending not so dire.

 

So there you have it, my H&M Makeup haul, the liquid eyeshadow needs a little more application practice but overall I was super happy with the quality of these products.

Personally I would highly recommend the cream eyeshadows and blushers. If you've tried anything else from the H&M Beauty range I would love to know your thoughts.

What is your favourite look to wear now that it is finally autumn? This is the first time I've ever worn such red eyeshadow, but I rather like it! Plus, it makes my eyes super green (complimentary colours).

Do you know of a liquid eyeshadow with easy application and longlasting staying power?

Were you surprised by this H&M launch or were you expecting/hoping for it after Topshop?

 

xxxemma

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Guerlain's La Petite Robe Noire Mini Set - Review

If you've read my Top 5 Autumn/Fall Perfumes of 2015 blog post, then you'll know the special place in my heart that Guerlain's La Petite Robe Noire holds. If not, that's ok; go read quick...I can wait...yay you're back, now let's get started!!! About a month ago, it was my birthday...I know I'm older (still waiting on the wiser), sighs in resignation...why does this happen every year?!

I kid, we all know a birthday means PRESENTS (makes grabby hands) and this year I got this special La Petite Robe Noire mini set from my Mum. She came across it at the airport and I have not seen a similar set anywhere else, but since I know most of you are probably going on your summer hols or coming back from them, I'm sure you can get your hands on one too!

This mini set came in a cubed box meant to look like a house...very cute! Guerlain definitely knows what they're doing when it comes to packaging, I mean look at the bottle of these perfumes; vintage looking and elegant (thanks to the bottle shape) yet modern at the same time (pink colour and LBD little black dress designs). Brilliant!!!

Interestingly enough, the vintage bottle shape is in fact a replica of Guerlain's long standing perfume L'Heure Bleue, invented back in 1912, and the lid which is shaped like a hollow heart (albeit upside down) alludes to those romantic pre-war years...fascinating! But it doesn't stop there, Guerlain have recently launched a La Petite Robe Noire beauty range (lipsticks and nail polish) with similar heart shaped packaging to match...must resist! Sooo much history in one design.

My only qualm with the mini perfume version (which are 5ml) is that the bottles are not sprays, and unfortunately the stoppers are prone to breakage (I've already cracked one of the stoppers) and if you're heavy handed like me, you risk spillage too. But I'm getting ahead of myself: this set includes Ma Première Robe, Ma Robe Cocktail, Couture and last but not least Ma Robe Pétales.

Guerlain - La Petite Robe Noire "Ma Première Robe" (Eau de Parfum)

Don't let the name deceive you, this wasn't the first perfume from the La Petite Robe Noire range. Guerlain first launched an exclusive limited edition for Paris back in 2009 and again in 2011, it finally came back, slightly modified, and for a worldwide market, in early 2012. I first heard of it and bought it in Paris back in 2012 during my University exchange year at the Sorbonne (I'm halfway through my second 50ml bottle already...shhhh). So as you've probably guessed, this perfume brings back a lot of wonderful memories of Paris and my later Uni years back in Edinburgh. Especially during the colder months, as this is quite a "heavy" perfume that I reserve for autumn/winter. It is a rich fruity sweet scent which from the moment I first smelt it, I knew would be my signature scent. Four years later, and I'm still not tired of it!!! Furthermore, thanks to this mini set, I've now expanded...muahahaha!!!

- TOP NOTES: Black cherry, bergamot, red berries and almond

- MIDDLE NOTES: Bulgarian & Turkish roses, liquorice and smoked black tea

- BASE NOTES: Aniseed, tonka bean, vanilla, iris and patchouli

Guerlain - La Petite Robe Noire "Ma Robe Cocktail" (Eau de Toilette)

If you know your perfumes then you'll know an eau de toilette is a lighter version of an eau de parfum (see this perfume scale as reference). However, this "Cocktail" version is in no way just a watered down version of the original. The rose, jasmine and orange blossom top notes give this perfume a much more floral quality, you only really get the sense of similarity with the original when the middle notes come in (similar to the top notes of the original) but even then it's just a fleeting recognition. Still very sweet, the lack of vanilla (which along with patchouli and sandalwood are my favourite notes) makes this version less of a sweet caramel-y melt in your mouth candy-like perfume and more of a sharp sweetness like a rhubarb and custard sweet (probably due to the sharpness of the cherry and crispness of the apple middle notes).

- TOP NOTES: Rose, jasmine, orange blossom

- MIDDLE NOTES: Cherry, apple, blackcurrant, green accords

- BASE NOTES: White amber, white musk, patchouli

Guerlain - La Petite Robe Noire "Couture" (Eau de Parfum)

This is the evening gown version of La Petite Robe Noire, it's not richer or heavier than the original, which is something you would be forgiven for assuming given the "Couture" name. On the contrary, the rose notes which are much more prominent here than in the original gives this perfume a more vintage/powdery smell, a softness that complements the sweetness and fruitiness of this perfume charmingly. However, don't be confused, none of these perfumes smell like variations of the original; despite all being in La Petite Robe Noire range they are very much individual smells in their own right. Don't make the mistake that because you like one of them you'll like all of them, you really do have to test all of these out before buying. Now sadly this "Couture" version is being discontinued in favour of the "Intense" version which released this summer (not featured in this mini set). I haven't smelt the latter so I can't tell you how they compare or just how intense the new version is. But let's be honest, the original is quite a strong perfume to begin with, so how Guerlain can make it any stronger is beyond me.

- TOP NOTES: Bergamot, raspberry

- MIDDLE NOTES: Rose essence, rose absolute

- BASE NOTES: Patchouli, vetiver, tonka bean, moss

Guerlain - La Petite Robe Noire "Ma Robe Pétales" (Eau Fraîche)

The freshest of the bunch (and the most short-lived because it's an eau fraîche), I personally think this is the one that smells the least like the original (again they are all very different), which seeing as it lacks cherries or any kind of red fruit in its notes is not a surprise. Very similar to the more floral "Cocktail" version with its orange blossom and jasmine notes, this one however stays fresh and citrusy, unlike the former which becomes sweeter and more like the original as the middle notes come in (as previously mentioned above). Whereas the original La Petite Robe Noire is more of an autumn/winter scent, the freshness of this one makes it very spring/summer appropriate, which looking at the petalled LBD design was most probably Guerlain's intention. :P

- TOP NOTES: Mandarin, lemon, bergamot, orange blossom from Sicily, grass

- MIDDLE NOTES: Bulgarian and Turkish rose, almond blossom, freesia, jasmine Sambac

- BASE NOTES: Pistachio, almond, tonka bean, patchouli, white musk

So there you have it, a quick overview of La Petite Robe Noire perfume range (minus the "Intense" one obviously). For a more detailed history of the perfume I would highly recommend you read this web page (of course Fragrantica is also always a great source of perfume information). Personally, my favourite is still the original La Petite Robe Noire "Ma Première Robe" (2012), followed by "Couture", "Ma Robe Cocktail" and lastly (because it's the most different) "Ma Robe Pétales"...what can I say, I'm predictable!

Have you tried any of the La Petite Robe Noire range, which one is your favourite?

When it comes to mini perfume bottles do you prefer just a stopper or a spray? Rollerballs are one step better than a stopper but like the latter you can only dispense the perfume so far i.e. on the pulse points (neck, wrists and if you're legs are on display/you're feeling fancy, back of the knees).

What perfume, if any, have you come to associate with a specific place? I also wore YSL's Parisienne in the beginning of my exchange year back in 2011 (before La Petite Robe Noire launched worldwide) so when I think of Paris, I think of those two perfumes. :)

 

xxxemma

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The Body Shop's Piñita Colada - Review

I've got a quick post for you today (I know, what is this sorcery?!!) and it involves the delicious new scent from The Body Shop; Piñita Colada!!! As you might have guessed, it's a play on the famous pineapple and coconut drink, Piña Colada :P Now sadly you can't drink these, but don't worry, you will be smelling delectable in no time!

The Body Shop Piñita Colada: Body Sorbet

I was the most intrigued with this one as I had never tried a Body Shop sorbet before. Much like the palate cleanser, this product is super refreshing! It has a gel-like consistency which is ideal as a light moisturiser in the summer when it's hot (I wish!!!) but you still have to shave your legs (rather drying on the skin) and a rich "slow absorbing" body butter doesn't cut it. I would have to agree with The Body Shop's claims that it's fast absorbing and instantly moisturising, plus the lightness of texture means that it doesn't clog my pores and I don't get spots on my décolleté area, which you'll know if you've read my Winter Saviours post and Zoella's Sweet Inspirations post, is a real problem for me when it comes to moisturisers. Furthermore, I think if you leave this product in the fridge before using it, then applying it will be like a little slice of refreshing Heaven...especially after tanning (do always use sunscreen though, we don't want any sunburn here)!

The scent, as promised by its name, is a combination of pineapple and coconut. The pineapple provides a lovely fruity zingy side to this scent (much like The Body Shop's citrus scent: satsuma and grapefruit) and the coconut compliments it with a creamy soft richness. Like the drink, this is a perfect fusion of flavours!

The Body Shop Piñita Colada: Body Butter

This is one of the lightest body butters I've tried, if you're like me and you've tried more or less every Body Shop body butter there is, then you'll know that different scents mean slightly different textures. Some are slightly harder like the strawberry and peach, and some are softer and creamier in consistency like the mango and piñita colada. All of course are easily spreadable on the legs with the natural body heat from your hands (too rich for my décolleté area though).

I would say this scent is slightly softer than the body sorbet, more soft coconut-ness maybe? And because it is richer it keeps the skin hydrated for longer compared to the sorbet (kind of a given) and when you're experiencing a British or Belgian summer (80% of the time miserable and not particularly warm) then this body butter is ideal. It provides all the hydration you'll need whilst transporting you to a summer vacation full of cocktails and relaxation! It also comes in a smaller travel size, great for easy packing if you are actually going somewhere sunny!

The Body Shop Piñita Colada: Shower Gel

I've got to be honest, when it comes to shower gels I'm pretty un-experimental, my all-time favourite scent is the Dove's Winter Care with Nutrium Moisture. It's limited edition sadly, so I usually stock-up like crazy in the winter (we're talking at least 20 bottles of the stuff). But come summer, even I will get bored of the scent and this piñita colada is the perfect fruity fresh and yet soft alternative! The smell does linger a bit after towelling yourself dry, but for maximum longevity I would highly recommend using either the sorbet or body butter depending on your moisturising/climate needs.

Why...oh...why does this also have to be limited edition?! Definitely grab as many as you want while you still can guys (they also have a special gift set available).

Dear Body Shop, if you're listening...please bring this scent out again next summer...pretty please!!!! Love, a new #piñitacoladafan

So there you have it, a relatively short post from me. Hope you've enjoyed it nonetheless?!

What's your favourite summer scent to wear? You can include perfumes!

If The Body Shop was to bring out a new tropical scent next year, what cocktail would you like them to base it on? I'm not a drinker (all virgin drinks for me) but I think a Tequila Sunrise would be fun, you?

Have you been anywhere nice? I'm certainly enjoying the sporadic heat/summer we are having (better than nothing eh?!).

 

xxxemma

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Coloured Eyeliner - KIKO Super Colour Eyeliners

So it's no secret that I love KIKO products for their affordability and quality, so let me introduce you to their Super Colour Eyeliner range. Yes, when it comes to matte black eyeliner my go-to favourite; as you'll know from my Stila Soul Palette post, is Collection's Extreme 24 Hour Felt Tip Liner in black. However, while Collection do make some great coloured eyeliner in the same 24h range, my go-to for coloured eyeliner has to be KIKO.

From their Super Colour Eyeliner collection I've picked up: 109 Pearly Purple Cranesbill, 112 Crocodile Green and 107 Blue Majorelle (by far the brightest of the lot). Of course you can wear coloured eyeliner all year round but I especially like to wear it in the summer when I'm naturally craving something a little different and brighter on the eyes than my go-to dark brown eye pencil and mascara. So I've created three makeup looks around each eyeliner, of course you can pair these up with anything, but this is what I tend to go with.

But first as with any use of liquid eyeliner I always properly prepare my eyelids to prevent any smudging throughout the day or bleeding of the eyeliner upon application (although to be honest if your liquid eyeliner is bleeding too much in the first place, it's not a good product). So I always first apply my Too Faced Shadow Insurance Eye Primer to my eyelids. Yes at £17 it's expensive, but you only use the tiniest amount (less than half a pea size for two eyelids) so it easily lasts me a good year. Try not to put any foundation or heavy moisturiser on your eyelids beforehand, as this just creates product build up and will reduce the efficacy of the primer. A good and light eye moisturiser (which also doesn't give me milia #bonus) is Boots' own brand Essentials Cucumber Eye Gel. Before applying any makeup though always allow moisturisers to sink in for a good 5-10 minutes.

Then over my primer I apply a bit of my face powder in N°7 Perfect Light Pressed Powder in 10 Fair, if I'm doing a specific eyeshadow look that day then it might be an eyeshadow. Either way, your primer acts like glue (hence why eyeshadow last longer because it's more "glued" onto your eyelids), therefore you have to set it down with a powder of some form to prevent your liquid eyeliner from wanting to stick to your primer and hence being smudged (which defeats the whole point of using a primer in the first place). The powder/eyeshadow will act as your matte barrier which will prevent your eyeliner from smudging onto your eyelid, and because of the primer the matte barrier will not budge (it's your eyelids' natural oils that makes eyeshadows and eyeliners smudge/not last).

 

LOOK 1: Using 109 Pearly Purple Cranesbill

For this look, I tend to keep it simple on the eyes and just let the flash of purple bring out the green of my eyes (purple complements green and brown eyes if you didn't know). The mascara is also purple but you can only really tell in direct sunlight, either way it gives a lovely "je ne sais quoi" to the eyes. And because purple and pink are an obvious/girly combination I paired it with a pink blush and fuchsia coloured lipstick and nails. Looking at this look now though, I think adding a bit of a lilac coloured eyeshadow on either the outer corner of the eyelid (like the lime green in the next look) or on the mobile lid itself would have been very nice too.

Products Used:

  • Eyeliner: 109 Pearly Purple Cranesbill
  • Eyeshadow: N°7 Perfect Light Pressed Powder in 10 Fair
  • Mascara: YSL Effets Faux Cils in 4 Violet
  • Blush: Clinique Cheek Pop Blush in 03 Berry Pop
  • Lipstick: Bourjois Rouge Edition in 07 Fuchsia Graffiti
  • Nails: Maybelline Super Stay Gel Nail Color in 190 Pink Volt

 

LOOK 2: Using 112 Crocodile Green

For this look I added a bit of lime green eyeshadow in the outer corner and upper crease to match my lime green jumper. I paired this look with a more orange-y tomato red lip and nails and the same pink blush as above. Ideally a more orange-y red toned blush would have been a better match but the pink worked surprisingly well. Also the YSL Shocking Mascara in 3 (sadly discontinued) is black with the slightest hint of green. Again you can't really see it except in sunlight and even then unlike the purple mascara above it's not that obvious. But have no fear, YSL are masters of the coloured mascara (in fact it's the first brand I think of when I'm searching for a particular colour) and they are launching this summer 2016 their Vinyl Couture range, which you guessed it...has some amazing colours; including a green...YAY!!! But don't just take my word for it, check out this amazing blog post by Musings of a Muse a.k.a. Isabella. Now I have yet to see this new collection on the Boots or YSL websites but I have spied them/swatched them in my local Planet Parfum :P

Products Used:

  • Eyeliner: 112 Crocodile Green (more of a khaki green eyeliner which is to say a yellow toned green which goes perfectly with lime green eyeshadow; a green toned yellow)
  • Eyeshadow: N°7 Perfect Light Pressed Powder in 10 Fair all over eyelid with a lime green eyeshadow in the upper crease and outer corner from my First Edition BH Cosmetics 120 Color Eyeshadow Palette
  • Mascara: Volume Effets Faux Cils Shocking in 3
  • Blush: Clinique Cheek Pop Blush in 03 Berry Pop
  • Lipstick: M&S Limited Collection in Matte Coral
  • Nails: Maybelline Super Stay Gel Nail Color in 490 Hot Salsa

 

LOOK 3: Using 107 Blue Majorelle

This eyeliner is so bright I let it do all the talking! Blue goes really well with orange so for lipstick and blush I would tend to stick to more neutral/orange-y toned colours. In these photos I'm not wearing any blush but that's more from lack of time than anything...since normally I would pair blue eyeliner (or if I'm wearing baby blue eyeshadow) with my Clinique Cheek Pop Blush in 02 Peach Pop. And because you guys know I like to match everything, this pop of blue eyeliner goes extremely well with Essie's Aruba Blue on the nails and a gorgeous pair of blue tinted aviators that I got for €5 from C&A last summer!

Products Used:

  • Eyeliner: 107 Blue Majorelle
  • Eyeshadow: N°7 Perfect Light Pressed Powder in 10 Fair
  • Mascara: Lancôme Hypnôse Precious Cells in Densifying Black
  • Blush: Nothing but would normally be wearing Clinique Cheek Pop Blush in 02 Peach Pop
  • Lipstick: N°7 Precision Lip Pencil in Nude under Rimmel London Lasting Finnish Lipstick by Kate Nude Collection in 42
  • Nails: Essie in Aruba Blue

 

WEAR

I've honestly been able to wear these eyeliners for a good eight hours without any issues of smudging or peeling off. But I'm pretty sure my application technique (primer and powder) have got something to do with that. Plus, I'm very conscientious when I wear makeup and I don't tend to rub my eyes either, so that might be another factor in their longevity.

REMOVAL

All eyeliners come off pretty easily using a makeup wipe, so no issues there.

 

So there you have it, the three makeup looks I would wear with these KIKO Super Colour Eyeliners. Which one is your favourite?

What makeup looks/lipsticks would you pair these eyeliners with?

Do you wear coloured mascara? If so, what's your favourite brand? Are you also looking forward to the YSL Vinyl Couture Mascara Collection?

Now I do also own KIKO Super Colour Eyeliners in 104 Dark Slate Green (black with teal shimmer), 110 Pearly Regal Purple (black with indigo shimmer), 111 Pearly Charcoal (black with silver shimmer) - would you like me to do a blog post about those three this autumn/winter?

 

xxxemma

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Zoella's Sweet Inspirations - Review

Hi guys, sorry you haven't received any new post from me in a while, but I'm back!!! Minus the full body allergic reaction to a new softener I bought (yay!!!), which delayed my testing out of these gorgeous products for you.

Now if you haven't heard of Zoella, that's okay...you just haven't been around YouTube for as long as I have...circa 2008:

Zoella a.k.a. Zoe Sugg, started off as a beauty guru/fashion guru (endearing term given to people making beauty/fashion videos on YouTube). I think I started following her...about 5 years ago, certainly, I remember looking forward to coming home from Uni and going straight on to YouTube and catching up on all the makeup tutorials/hauls out there (I also loved Elle Fowler, Fleur DeForce, Pixiwoo and Tanya Burr's tutorials...hands up who remembers the epic Edward Cullen tutorial on Jim?!!).

Yes guys, you heard correctly; there was a time when Zoe had yet to introduce us to her brother (Joe Sugg), met Alfie, or even started ombré-ing her hair (shock horror...I know!!! #ZoellaSignatureLook #KateRimmel107 hadn't happened yet either!). But since then she has expanded her work greatly; her video content has broadened (she has 10 million subscribers for good reason!), she has written books (destined for young teens which sadly now that I've reached a quarter of a century, I'm old...sniffles..., are not really my cup of tea) and launched a beauty line!

Zoella's "Sweet Inspirations" is the third official scent from Zoe's beauty line which also includes her original scent the "Classic" (launched September 2014) and last year's summer scent "Tutti Fruity". All of which can be found at Superdrug.

If you follow Zoe's channel, you'll know that she's not a fan of sweet scents; when she said that she didn't like "The Comforter" from Lush, I think I died a little inside (16 minutes in here). So when she announced that she was coming out with a sweet scented line; I've got to be honest, my first feeling was trepidation. You'll know from my perfume post that I'm a big fan/obsessed with sweet sugary scents (if it smells edible - I'm more than likely going to love it!). But I needn't have worried, as Zoe's sweet tooth prevailed and she based this new scent on the soft sweet almond smell of French macarons...yummy!!!

Zoella LIFE IS SWEET: Beauty Bag

This sweet little bag is in a gorgeous light periwinkle blue - think Essie's Saltwater Happy (yes, I do relate all my colours to nail polish).

While I do like the scalloped edging, the actual size of this bag is not that useful (for me anyway) when it comes to holding makeup (I've expanded too much since my schooldays of carrying just powder, lipgloss, mascara and a nail file kit).

Yes, technically it's a coin purse...but I have a wallet to hold my coins. And who honestly has time, whilst at a till, to take out several wallets to put away their change? Without simultaneously holding up the queue that is?! (Good in theory but not so much in practice). However, I've found the perfect use for this bag; holding the unused cubes from Le Fizz bar once you've opened the packaging (I go into more detail about that below).

Zoella Le Fizz: Fragrance Bath Fizzer

This product is the one that most intrigued me from Zoe's beauty line as Lush doesn't really have an equivalent. And when you're going to compare bath product you can't not mention Lush.

While I was hoping this would give off way more fizz, and last longer (a bit like taking a bath in fizzy water for 5 minutes...wouldn't that be fun?!) expectation didn't quite match reality. It gives a little fizzle (not quite the power of a typical bath bomb) but by the time you get in the bath i.e. when it's run (Le Fizz is recommended to be used under warm running water) there is no fizz left... #Fail. But it does give a pleasant soft scent to your bath water, so I will give it that.

My issue with this product however, is the recommended dosage. Why recommend 4 cubes of product when you've clearly designed it to be broken off in 3s (see pictures above)? Instead of neatly snapping off the end (with 3 cubes) each time you want a bath and sliding the rest back in the paper packaging (like chocolate...oh I do like that design!) you have to try and break off a single cube without crumbling the others next to it, and for one of your baths you'll be left with only 2 cubes. This creates a messy "trying to put it back in the packet/I give up and put it in the Life Is Sweet bag instead" scenario.

Overall, just break this product in 3s and don't expect much fizziness. The soft scent that Le Fizz gives your bath is what makes this product worth it.

Zoella Bath Latte: Bath & Shower Milk

I've gotta say, this is my favourite packaging from the Sweet Inspirations line, well done Zoe! And you might be fooled, like me at first, but it's NOT ACTUALLY GLASS!!! So no worries, you're not going to end up accidently re-enacting a Saw movie if the bottle drops in your bath.

I've used this product in all three ways: to pour into your bath as your water is running, to wash with in the bath, and to wash with in the shower (you wouldn't think there would be much of a difference for the last two; but gravity is a fickle thing).

The consistency of this product is what surprised me most: it isn't as liquid-y as you would think, in fact it's a bit more gel-like (like a hybrid between a cream and a jelly maybe?) either way, when pouring it under running water, it's quite easy to control. As the consistency is thicker, when you lift the bottle it stops pouring relatively easily and doesn't dribble, same when washing with it in the bath. However, when showering, the gel-like consistency has a tendency to slide off your arm before you have the chance to lather it and the quantity that come out is a bit harder to control (yay, gravity!). Ideally, had there been an added flat nozzle (a bit like the Bioderma one) so that you could still have the milk bottle imitation screw on cap (aesthetically pleasing) and more control when pouring (smaller circumference), this product would be much easier and less wasteful to use.

Now the product itself is gorgeous! When used to pour in the bath (my favourite way to use it), it adds the sweet macaron scent from this line without being too powerful (Le Fizz is quite faint in comparison though). It also leaves your water hydrating without being oily or leaving an oily residue all over your bath which is just asking for trouble (yes...butterbear I'm looking at you!); no bubbles though. All in all, a great product! Plus, the scent does manage to linger for a good 7 hours after you've dried yourself off (without cheating and using the Body Cream to extend its life).

Zoella Double Créme: Body Cream

This product is by far my favourite one from the Zoella Sweet Inspirations line. Not only does it smell incredible, like the rest of the line, but it doesn't give me spots!!! As you'll know from my Winter Saviours' post, I can only use The Body Shop's Body Butter on my legs as it causes spots if I put it anywhere near my décolleté area. This Double Créme however (yes as a French speaker, it does hurt me a little that they couldn't get the accent right...wrong direction people! Please tell me that it was at least purposeful and not because someone didn't bother to check), I can slather it on as much as I want...and no spots, which is a big deal!!!

I did notice that the product does take some time to fully soak in...especially after taking a hot bath and your still technically sweating a little; then the cream does act a bit like a sun screen i.e. it leaves white areas where the cream isn't properly rubbed in/absorbed, but I'm putting this down to its thickness (which also means it's super hydrating). Definitely not a cream I would use in the summer months though because of this issue, but come winter...gimmy gimmy!!! Packaging-wise I have zero issue with this one, and would not see any way to improve it, perfect as is!

So there you have it, my thoughts on the new Zoella Sweet Inspirations line (and there are a couple more products that I didn't pick up but you can see here). I feel like I've been rather negative in this review but I really do like the products...promise! I'm just a perfectionist, and when I see a way to improve a product, why not mention it?

Certainly, for someone who doesn't like sweet smelling things; Zoe has nailed this scent and if anything, I urge you to go sniff it for yourself! Plus, all her product are super affordable so what's not to love.

What do you think of Zoella's Sweet Inspirations line?

Do you remember what your first Zoella video was? I'm pretty sure mine was this one :)

Who were/are your favourite YouTube beauty gurus? New discoveries would be awesome!

 

xxxemma

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Father's Day perfumes

When it comes to writing or in my case blogging, I think we all know the "write what you know" rule; but rules are meant to be broken right? Nah, I'm totally a goody two-shoes, but I did make a promise to my brother in my Mother's Day perfumes' post that I would write a Father's Day one too. So here you have it; broaching the subject of male perfumes...do keep in mind that it is by no means my area of expertise and I did go raiding through my brother's perfume collection (yes men can have one too!) for my favourite ones. Purely in the interest of research you understand. So if you don't like any of these, there is only him to blame (scuttles away innocently...muahaha!).

Armani Privé by Giorgio Armani - Figuier Eden (Eau de Toilette)

One of my brother's favourites from the Les Eaux selection of the Armani Privé Collection (i.e. all composed of Eaux de Toilette). I would describe this as a very fruity and sweet scent with a touch of woodiness to it. It is meant to smell like a Mediterranean garden/pristine nature, olive and fig trees but having never personally sniffed a fig, I couldn't tell you about that last one. Certainly, when it comes to Mediterranean gardens I always think fresh citrus; I mean they can grow full orange and lemon trees in that climate (my Dad is currently attempting to grow one too, but at the moment it's still more of a...bush, yay for Belgium weather!...note the sarcasm). Anyway, there is zero citrusy-ness in this perfume, definitely more on the sweet side that's for sure!

- TOP NOTES: Madarin, bergamot and red pepper

- MIDDLE NOTES: Tea, grass and green fig

- BASE NOTES: Moroccan iris and amber

Armani Privé by Giorgio Armani - Pivoine Suzhou (Eau de Toilette)

This one is quite similar to the one above in that is is very sweet, but it doesn't have the same woodiness that Figuier Eden has, and I would describe it as a tad sharper thanks to the fresh floral peony, the musky base notes however gives it that rich spiciness reserved solely for evening perfumes. Inspired by Asian gardens this time, I know what you're thinking...Japanese cherry blossom? No, this one celebrates one of China's favourite flowers the peony (any Chinese readers are more than welcome to give their input).

According to fragrantica this perfume is for women, but Armani's own website doesn't specify a gender (which at the £110 - £200 a pop, I get why they aren't limiting themselves to just 50% of the population, right?!) so if you have the money and your Dad likes these kinds of scents, then go for it! Personally, I can see this being worn by both genders (why limit yourself?). Yes, it is very sweet and also a bit floral thanks to the peony but layered on top of the typically masculine scented shower gels and aftershaves it provides a nice contrast. In any case; happiness, prosperity and grace, the symbols of the peony, are gender-neutral qualities!

- TOP NOTES: Madarin, pink pepper and raspberry

- MIDDLE NOTES: Peony, rose essence and May rose absolute

- BASE NOTES: Amber, orcanox, musk and patchouli

Armani Privé by Giorgio Armani - Vétivier d'Hiver (Eau de Toilette)

Unlike its namesake, my brother finds this one to be quite a summery scent. Which, with its citrusy top notes I would have to agree with. This perfume, inspired it is said by the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, also has a faint herby pepperiness to it, thanks to the middle notes (similar to the herby-ness of my Blackberry & Bay by Jo Malone perfume), but it remains still just as sweet as the other two from Les Eaux Collection. These perfumes are for sure not a given (for cheaper scents see below) but I wanted to cover all budgets so there you go.

- TOP NOTES: Madarin, lemon and bergamot

- MIDDLE NOTES: Coriander, cardamom and pink pepper

- BASE NOTES: Vetiver and patchouli

Yves Saint Laurent - La Nuit de l'Homme (After Shave Lotion & Eau de Toilette)

If you really wanted to treat your Dad (or overload him with a particular scent...make sure he really likes it first though) then this duo of aftershave lotion (the tall bottle on the left at £45) and eau de toilette (bottle on the right at £50 - £60) is perfect! This is my personal favourite scent from my brother's collection; another sweet one but with a manly undertone that I unfortunately can't quite describe. Exquisite!

- TOP NOTES: Cardamom

- MIDDLE NOTES: Bergamot, lavender and cedar

- BASE NOTES: Vetiver and Cumin

Gucci - Gucci Pour Homme (Eau de Toilette)

This perfume is the one that reminds me the most of my brother. Seeing as it's half empty (or half full depending on your perspective) it's safe to say that it's his favourite (and he has confirmed this suspicion). At £49 - £62 this is a normal price I would expect for a perfume. The fragrance of this one is very similar to the typical Axe shower gel smell or even a shaving foam; definitely one that will have you instantly smelling fresh and clean. A pretty safe bet when it comes to picking out a perfume for Dad if you don't know his particular tastes, sure to be the crowd pleaser this one!

- TOP NOTES: Bergamot, cypress and violet

- MIDDLE NOTES: Leather, sweet tobacco, amber, jasmine and black pepper

- BASE NOTES: Patchouli, cedarwood and amyris

Crabtree & Evelyn - Uncharted (Cologne)

Finally we've reached the more budget-friendly scents! This is a cologne which on the perfume scale puts it right beneath an eau de toilette. It's what I would call a typical man scent (again not sure how to describe this), quite similar to what I would expect an aftershave to smell like (the bottle is pretty typical of one too), plus we've finally veered away from the sweet. Very woodsy and fresh, this £30 cologne would make an ideal gift, unfortunately I can no longer find it on the Crabtree & Evelyn website, but they have three other scented colognes in this packaging/range and currently at 30% off, I say go go go!

- TOP NOTES: Ozone and citrus

- MIDDLE NOTES: Juniper

- BASE NOTES: Scraped pale woods and moss

Zara - Zara Man Gold (Eau de Toilette)

I remember when my brother bought this one, as I had dragged him to Zara for a "quick look" and he entertained himself by looking at their perfume range. At £5.99 (I kid you not!) this is another lovely manly fragrance with a twist of chocolateness (from the praline note of course...nummy num num) yet not too sweet. Unlike most "cheap" scents it smells rather sophisticated (people would be none the wiser), I shouldn't expect it to last too long at that price, but for an evening event it would be perfect!

- TOP NOTES: Lemon

- MIDDLE NOTES: Cinnamon and praline

- BASE NOTES: Ebony tree and amber

 

So there you have it, I think we can all draw the same conclusion from this post; big brother likes sweet smelling toilet water...sorry I mean "eau de toilette" (possibly the worst name they could have thought of when thinking of things that smell nice; but everything sounds better in French n'est ce pas - oui oui!).

Hope you all got some ideas on what to get your Dad on his special appreciation day, and have a lovely weekend!

 

xxxemma

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Dior Addict Lipstick in After Party - Review & Swatches

Sorry I've been so MIA lately, unfortunately spring cleaning is a thing and no amount of sugar is making this job a game! :P But this new lipstick beauty certainly made things more fun!

A couple of weeks ago, right before (Belgian) Mother's Day, my brother and I were browsing the beauty section in Galeria Inno...oh alright, I was browsing, he was being dragged along! :P And we saw an engraver sitting next to the Dior counter; discovering she was providing free engravings on any Dior purchases, I thought this was it!...my chance to finally own my very own personal Dior lipstick!

I've always loved the look of the Dior Addict Lipstick range (yes totally judging a book by its cover) but the extreme sheerness factor of some of these lipsticks really put me off making the final splurge, can you tell I tend to prefer full coverage matte lipsticks? But the engraving option swayed me, now was the time to pick a colour!

As I know mauve-y plums suit my colouring the best and the lipsticks are mucho dinero, I went for my "everyday colour" (which I always highly recommend when first testing out a new range of lipsticks, because that trendy colour isn't going to be trendy forever, and you don't want to base your whole opinion on a range from a colour you won't like as much by the end of the season). If I'm honest, I was quite disappointed by the complete lack of mauve and cooler toned lipsticks in this range (even after looking on Dior's official site I can see that all the lipsticks are very warmed toned; but if corals and reds are your thing, you're covered!). The closest one I could find to my liking was the one I picked up in 680 After Party.

Dior Addict Lipstick - 680 After Party

This is a gorgeous berry coloured lipstick with a tiny hint of mauve, but overall rather more warm toned. It also contains beautiful silver flecks of micro-shimmer which give the lipstick a lovely glistening look (not the dreaded frosted finish). The micro-shimmer does feel a bit gritty on the lips but only because the formula of the lipstick is so smooth and glide-y; barely noticeable unless you're looking for it!

Comparing it to my two favourite lipsticks in the swatches below, you can see why I picked After Party as my "everyday colour". Almost an exact dupe to Clinique's Plum Pop the different finishes give however a distinct look; Clinique's is much more of a opaque creamy finish whereas Dior's is more of a high shine glossy finish (without the awful stickiness of a lipgloss), which is the finish I tend to prefer in the spring/summer months anyway. Now although Rimmel's Vintage Pink is more of the mauve I would be looking for, Dior's After Party is pretty close to the mark, so I'm very happy with my final choice of colour!

P.S. On my nails is Rimmel's 60 Seconds nail polish in 630 Be A Star, which I don't think they make anymore (...weeps in corner), but which is a perfect match to the lipstick.

Left: Clinique Lip Colour Pop - 14 Plum Pop       Right: Rimmel Moisture Renew - 180 Vintage Pink

Dior Addict Lipstick - 680 After Party

DESCRIPTION

It's just so pretty!!! The packaging is a real pleasure with its magnetic seal, the opening and closing of which is always extremely satisfying (much like the clicking of a pen). The silver lipstick tube is of course adorned with the CD monogram on its end. And the plastic (made to look like glass) lid casing has the Dior name indented on it; overall super sleek, chic and luxurious! Plus, mine has my name engraved on the lipstick tube, which makes it that much more special of course! :P

Side note; the ribboned box in the photos was the perfume we bought and had engraved for Mother's Day (best kids ever!!! Going to be hard to top it next year). Just in case you were wondering about the large amount of packaging for just one lipstick! :P

The formula is described as a "breakthrough creation" boasting "a hydra-gel core with a top coat effect for sensational mirror shine" composed of "three expert oils among the shiniest used in cosmetics. The Sensorial oil delivers unprecedented fluidity and glide for a new generation of voluptuousness. The Comfort oil improves moisturization of the lips, while the Shield oil ensures colour will adhere and last."

Now this all sounds rather fancy but the general idea is that they are mega shiny and hydrating, which I 100% agree with! Now, whether it's a "breakthrough creation" I would say the Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butters come pretty close and at the fraction of the price! Admittedly, a tad more sticky (still not lipgloss sticky though) and pigmented, which makes it last a fraction longer than the Dior Addict Lipstick, the shine of the latter last way longer. So your preference really depends on what your looking for in a lipstick and how much money you have to spare, if I'm honest. :P

APPLICATION

Sadly the embossed CD all but disappears after a couple of applications (you can still see it in the lipstick as it's a lighter colour, it's just no longer 3D). Super easy and smooth application that really just glides on. Normally, I'm not a fan of the rounded and flat-topped lipstick (the classic pointed shape makes for far more precise application) but with this sheerer formula it works (much like the Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butters)! You can get away with a rough or even no mirror application due to the lipstick's sheer factor, which is very forgiving in nature. To get full opacity though, you do have to swipe a few times across the lips.

WEAR

After 1h30, I noticed fading in colour (not shine) the opacity is fairly low to begin with (as it's not a full coverage lipstick) plus, it also might have been affected by my tapping and rubbing it into my lips after application. But I did wait another hour before feeling the need to reapply, after which was another two hours before the next re-application. So lasting powers (again opacity wise, not shine wise; my lips still looked shiny and super moisturised) is estimated between 2h00 and 2h30 hours, which is pretty high maintenance if you're used to matte lipsticks like I am (which generally require zero re-application on my part) but when you're taking into account the pleasure of application (and opening and closing of packaging) all is forgiven! Plus, any glossy lipstick including my trusted Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butters give me around 3h00 of wear time before needing a top-up, so pretty standard performance really! :P

REMOVAL

Couldn't be easier! Quick removal with tissue if you're just swapping out your lipsticks from day to night. Otherwise, for complete removal of the leftover silver micro-shimmers, a babywipe or makeup wipe will do.

CONCLUSION

I wish they had more mauves in the Dior Addict Lipstick range (but this is more personal preference than anything). Other than that, I can't find any fault with this lipstick! Gorgeous colour, high shine, super hydrating and amazing packaging...all in all, sold!!!

Do you have any of the Dior Addict Lipsticks? What do you think of their colour range?

What was the first high end lipstick you were super excited to finally buy? Or if you generally buy high end, then has any drugstore lipstick ever caught your eye?

What is your "everyday" lipstick colour?

Do you tend to prefer very opaque matte lipsticks or sheerer high shine glossy ones? Or are you like me and it completely depends on the season?

 

xxxemma

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Stila Soul Palette - 3 Looks, 1 palette

About a year ago I purchased Stila's Eyes Are The Window Shadow Palette in "Soul". Now, since I didn't have my blog back then you only get to see it now ;) But as you can still get Body, Mind and Spirit from BeautyBay (where I purchased mine), Soul although sold out (no wonder, what with all its bronzy shades) might still reappear. And you never know, you could still find it in your local beauty watering hole!!!

I must say, although I tend to stick to the cheaper side of things when it comes to eyeshadows (I have yet to own a Naked Palette...I know, shock horror!!! #dupesalltheway) this £30 palette was definitely worth it! It was a hard decision picking from the four beautiful Stila palettes of this Eyes Are The Window Collection, but ultimately it was nearing autumn and bronze shades really suit my green eyes, plus, I'm not going to lie, the rose gold packaging won me over! :D

These eye shadows are all buttery smooth, pigmented and blend superbly (except Character; small patchiness issues with that one, but nothing major) and there is the tiniest amount of fallout (I have yet to come across eyeshadows with zero fallout...don't think they exist!) but doing your eye shadow first, wiping off the fallout, then doing foundation/concealer, solves this issue with no problem.

By now you must know that I like to show swatches of products (which are always colour corrected to make them the most accurate) but for an eyeshadow palette I thought that giving you 3 "wearable" looks additionally would be the most useful (Allana Davison on YouTube is #queen when it comes to doing 3 looks with 1 palette, so I highly recommend watching her videos for some tutorials too). I have to say I did struggle a bit to think of 3 "unique" looks without going the extreme smokey eye route or the barely there why did I even bother with eyeshadow route, all without being too repetitive, but I love the final results!

THE EYESHADOWS (going horizontally left to right, on my arm by threes as presented in the palette)

Light, Individual, and Being: the "matte row", these eyeshadows are the transition/blending shades. Light is the perfect eyeshadow to place all over your lid to set your eyeshadow primer in place and provide easy blendability for the rest of the shadows (if you skip this step, eyeshadows will tend to be patchy as the darker colour will try to stick to the primer...this will happen unevenly though, so always have a "skin toned" powder over your primer before starting...my pressed face powder from N°7 works equally well for this step).

Kitten, Affection, and Character: these are the shimmery versions of the 3 colours above. Kitten is a classic and the first Stila eyeshadow I ever purchased. Always try an individual shadow before splurging on a full palette (particularly in Europe since you can't return makeup, it will save you a lot of money in the long run, especially if you end up being allergic to the stuff!). Kitten is the perfect inner tearduct and brow bone highlight (I tend to skip highlight as I don't like the look on me, plus I tend to keep most of my eyeshadow to my mobile lid, but if highlighting suits your eyeshape, then this colour is a good one!). Character as previously mentioned is a tad patchy and the more red-ish bronze glitter flecks which you can see in the palette do not translate on the eye, it really is just the shimmery version of Being above.

Thought, Heart, and Peace: the "bronze row", these eyeshadows are a lot more brown toned compared to Individual and Affection the more coppery/almost orange-y shadows of the palette. Heart is another matte in this palette (Thought and Peace are shimmers) and just like the "matte row" it makes for the perfect blending/transition shade. Plus, it's a lot cooler toned which makes it ideal as a crease shade to cool down a very warm eyeshadow on the lid, or warm up a cool toned one. Because of this versatility, Heart is definitely my favourite shade of the bunch.

Vitality, Substance, and Essence: compared to Kitten, Vitality is a lot yellower; almost a pale gold in contrast to the champagne of Kitten. Substance is the only completely cool colour of the palette (a grey) and although you may think it sticks out, it actually provides this palette with a much needed flexibility...LOOK 3 (below) makes a lot of use out of this one. Essence is the standard matte black needed in a palette for eyeliner or to help make your look more smokey; an essential! ;)

 

LOOK 1

You may recognise this look from my KIKO Rebel Romantic Collection post, granted the lipstick and blusher make this look a little bit more dramatic than it needs to be, but I'm not shy when it comes to makeup, so I would wear this during the day (more so autumn/winter time hence why this is the perfect autumn palette).

I had my standard N°7 pressed face powder all over my lid to set my primer. Then I went in with Individual all over my lid and crease area, over which I added Affection to provide the shimmer. I also put Affection close to my lower lash line and connected it with the eyeshadow in my outer corner in a more rounded shape than the standard V-shape. I skipped all eyeliner and just put on a couple of coats of my favourite mascara; Lancôme Hypnôse Precious Cells in black (I would have preferred brown but they discontinued that one unfortunately).

As previously mentioned, my blusher is 04 Passion Red Wine and my lipstick is 06 Melodious Wine both from KIKO's Rebel Romantic Collection. On my nails (if interested) is a BarryM polish in Plum On Baby light My Fire from their Daylight Curing range.

To make this eyeshadow look more spring/summer appropriate I would pair it with an orange blush like my Clinique Cheek Pop blush in 02 Peach Pop, and a nude or peach lipstick (depending on my mood). For the eyes I would also add a bright turquoise or blue liquid eyeliner (KIKO and Collection have some good ones) in a cat eye shape (not too elongated) and either wear a blue or purple mascara (YSL 03 or 04 Volume Effet Faux Cils)

 

LOOK 2

Admittedly this look is pushing it a bit, to be a daytime one :P I'm wearing my Rimmel Scandal Eyes eyeliner in black on my waterline for this look which make my eyes way more intense (this is an easy trick when wanting to adapt your daytime look to a nighttime one, just add eyeliner on your waterline!). It is a beautiful look though to try for a date or any other occasion you feel like wearing it to.

Again I have my N°7 pressed face powder over my primer to set it. I went in with Heart all over my mobile lid and upper crease area then placed Peace over what I just did; concentrating it more on the mobile lid and creating quite a long V-shape on my outer corner. I also brought down Peace along my lower lash line (quite close to it to create a more "thin" line). Character was then used to create the cat eyeliner shape. Usually I struggle to create a long cat eye flick on my eyes (they never end up even...am I right?!!) but this time, first try I might add, both eyes looked the same...woop woop! (I used a flat angled brush I got in a Sephora brush set, yonks ago). I also added Character on the outer corner of the lower lashline to connect it to the cat flick. I then added eyeliner on my waterline to make the whole outer corner more seamlessly dark. Finally, I added a couple of coats of my trusted Lancôme mascara in black (you could even add false lashes if you can be bothered with that palaver).

Since my eyes are doing all the talking, I've left my cheeks and lips drama free. Hence, I'm not wearing any blush and on my lips I've kept it rather neutral with my daily N°7 lipliner in Nude with Revlon's Colorburst in Complex on top.

 

LOOK 3

Hard to deny the influence of the 60s for this final look...Twiggy anyone? But I've kept it a bit more modern with the double cat eye flick that seems to be on trend at the moment.

I wanted more of a highlighted/glowy overall look to my brow bone, so I put Light all over my lid to set my primer in place this time. I then put Heart in my crease (which added a bit of warmth to the overall look) to start off the shading of the 60s look. Then I went in with Substance in my upper crease to create the cut crease look, you don't want to blend it out too much as the harshness adds to the effect. I then lined my upper lashline with Substance (quite thinly, it mostly gets covered up by the liquid eyeliner) and connected it at the outer corner in a distinct V-shape with the Substance eyeshadow placed earlier in the upper crease. To finish off the look, I did a double winged cat eye on my top lash line using my Collection's felt tip eyeliner in black and added 3 little flicks (imitating lashes) on the outer corner of my lower lash line, re-creating that wide doll-eyed look of the 60s, just a little bit less intensely. And of course a couple of coats of my Lancôme black mascara later, the look is complete!

No blush on my cheeks for this look either, on my lips I'm sporting my Sephora Cream Lip Stain in 13 Marvelous Mauve over my N°7 lipliner in Nude. On the nails I have Essie's Virgin Snow from their latest Winter Collection, but Apres Chic would work just as well with the overall look.

So there you have it, 3 looks using 1 Stila palette. As I said earlier these shadows are well worth the money; smooth, super blendable and pigmented...basically a dream to work with! But there are four to choose from, so if these shades aren't to your liking, I'm sure one of the other three will be! :D

What's the best eyeshadow primer you've ever used? I'm still loving my Too Faced Shadow Insurance after all these years! :P

What's your favourite eyeshadow palette?

Do you tend to stick to drugstore or higher end eyeshadows?

What's your makeup trick to quickly turn a daytime look to a nighttime one?

 

xxxemma

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Mother's Day perfumes

I know Mother's Day is fast approaching for my UK peeps, this Sunday in fact! So I thought this post would be ideal for the kids out there who might be looking to give their mum a new perfume this special day. But perfumes are for any special occasion really, so feel free to be inspired to treat yourself later too :P

Personally my family celebrates the Belgian Mother's Day (yap they're different!) which made sense when my brother and I were kids and were producing those little hand drawn cards from school (a Belgian primary school), but as we've grown older we've had to be on the ball to buy Mother's Day cards when they come out in the UK (to get an English one as opposed to the French/Dutch selection we get here), so as to have one ready in time for our Mother's Day in May (luckily enough it comes after the UK one). Because surprisingly those hand drawn scribbles are no longer acceptable at 24 years of age. :P

So recently as my Dad went to buy a new perfume for my Mum's birthday this January, the sales assistant took pity on him (I'm sure they recognise the bewildered look men often have on their faces as they go gift shopping for perfume!) and loaded him up with lots of perfume samples...more for me...muahahaha (gathers all perfumes in my arms and walks away). No, but really as someone that often chooses perfumes after sniffing them from magazines (yes I'm aware I look insane while doing it!) your sense of smell just disappears after a while if you go directly to a perfume store. And I find samples, whether magazine ones or little spray bottle ones, are best when you want to make an informed decision without overwhelming your senses!

P.S. As with my last perfume post, all the perfume notes come from the much trusted fragrantica.com website. I highly recommend this site if you're at all curious as to what is in your favourite perfumes. :)

Viktor & Rolf - Flowerbomb (Eau de Parfum)

Don't be fooled by the name, this one is definitely on the sugary side of things (which is odd when you look at the notes). I don't know why I've never purchased this one before as it's right up my alley with its sugary vanilla-y smell, albeit with a tiny (and I do mean tiny) tinge of floral-iness after you've had it on for a while. Although I do detect a bit of the green tea note, but only because I'm looking for it (or should I say sniffing for it?), the sharp "freshness" I've come to expect from floral perfumes is certainly not present here! So even though fragrantica does in fact label it as a floral (for which the notes would make sense), I think this would be an ideal perfume for a mum who loves the sugary sweet scents of a gourmand perfume (and might I add; quite strong ones too...not that I would mind. More sugar I say!).

- TOP NOTES: Bergamot and green tea

- MIDDLE NOTES: Sambac jasmine, Centifolia rose, freesia and Cattleya orchid

- BASE NOTES: Musk and patchouli

Lancôme - La Vie Est Belle (Eau de Toilette)

This perfume was quite an odd one, because both my Mum and I loved this one! This is not to say that I don't trust my Mum's tastes; but she likes her florals and I like my fruity sweets (which looking at the base notes, cough...cough, vanilla, people! It's not surprising that I like it). It's very rare, in fact it only happened with this perfume, that we both see ourselves wearing it.

My Mum's two favourite perfumes are Oscar by Oscar de la Renta (the original one that's very hard to find these days) and Trésor by Lancôme, so really it shouldn't be surprising that Lancôme has produced another one of her favourites. But when my Mum, my Dad and I went perfume shopping for a new perfume for my Mum's birthday (January last year) I smelled this one first, liked it, and immediately thought; nope Mum's not going to like this one (usually this is a pretty accurate assumption). But she smelled it and loved it too, and it was bought! Now I know Julia Roberts is the face of this perfume's campaign, but I'm sad to say that a free Richard Gere did not come with it! Although I'm sure if that were the case, this perfume would be sold out faster than you can say "Pretty Woman"!

- TOP NOTES: Blackcurrant and pear

- MIDDLE NOTES: Iris, orange blossom and jasmine

- BASE NOTES: Tonka bean, praline, patchouli and vanilla

Christian Dior - J'adore (Eau de Parfum)

I think we can all recall at least one of the Dior ads for this perfume; involving a gold mermaid dress mimicking the shape of the bottle. But I've got to admit, till this sample I had never actually smelt it before...(but I do want that dress, "nul points" for effective marketing Dior!) :P Definitely on the more floral side of things, I don't hate it! Actually at first I thought I smelt lily-of-the-valley (that very soft powdery floral scent) but in fact I think it's magnolia (although I couldn't find a magnolia note in my search), and funnily enough this one reminds me the most of my Mum (even though she doesn't own it) because she loves the magnolia deodorant from M&S and the more I smell it the more I think I need to get her to smell it too (but whether she wants to have her deodorant smell as a perfume is yet to be determined). A reviewer described this perfume as having an old-world feminine element to it, which I think suits it perfectly! A soft powdery floral which you have a nostalgic inkling you've smelt before, this one definitely ticks all the right boxes for a "mum perfume" if ever I smelt it. :P

- TOP NOTES: Fresh mandarin and ylang-ylang

- MIDDLE NOTES: Jasmine, plum, orchid and rose

- BASE NOTES: Amaranth, musk and blackberry

Chanel - Coco Mademoiselle (Eau de Parfum)

This one is a very citrus-y fresh perfume, it has that just come out of the shower after using a great shower gel feel to it. The problem with citrus scents is that they can very quickly smell like cleaning products, now whereas I can still detect the "perfuminess" of this smell, I wouldn't be surprised if someone stopped me in the street to ask me what I had been cleaning that day. However once the citrus-y top notes make way for the more floral middle notes (they kick in quite quickly), there is no doubting this perfume, it's a lovely fresh and sweet floral, and if your mum likes florals then have her smell this one (just give it a minute to settle a bit first).

- TOP NOTES: Orange, mandarin orange, orange blossom and bergamot

- MIDDLE NOTES: Mimosa, jasmine, turkish rose and ylang-ylang

- BASE NOTES: Tonka bean, patchouli, opoponax, vanilla, vetiver and white musk

Cartier - La Panthère (Eau de Parfum)

This is described as a chypre perfume; a perfume composed from citrus top notes, middle notes based on cistus labdanum and base notes of mossy-animalic substance (i.e. oak moss and musk) - you learn something new every day! This perfume is another lovely surprise and very much one I can see mums wearing. It smells like a "powdery" but gorgeous soap you would get in a very expensive/exclusive hotel (you know the one; with mini hand towels you put in a basket when you've finished washing your hands). Definitely the most unique and yet classic perfume of the bunch (it has a modern twist I can't quite describe), I really like this one too, which is not that surprising with all the fruity top notes (it's still quite floral thanks to the gardenia). Undeniably one I can see myself wearing along with Dior's J'adore when I'm a little bit older and "wiser" and I've retired all my sugary sweet vanilla-y scents (shock horror...I know!). I'm putting this one in the "Mum must sniff" pile too!

- TOP NOTES: Rhubarb, strawberries, dried fruit, apple and apricot

- MIDDLE NOTES: Gardenia

- BASE NOTES: Ketone musk and oak moss

Guerlain - Shalimar (Souffle de Parfum)

Now starting on the more masculine looking samples (they are definitely all labelled for women despite appearances). The original Shalimar is known to be the go-to perfume if you like vanilla scents, I mean there is a reason it's one of the best selling perfumes ever. Personally, I find the vanilla smell too synthetic. But this new "souffle" version really softens the much stronger smell of the original. It has a more floral and fresh hue that gives it the perfect touch of femininity, ideal for the sweet floral loving mums out there.

- TOP NOTES: Lemon, bergamot and mandarin

- MIDDLE NOTES: Sambac jasmine and orange blossom water

- BASE NOTES: Vanilla from Tahiti and India and white musk

Sisley- Eau Du Soir (Eau de Parfum)

The most masculine smelling one of the bunch (I had to double check that it was indeed for women) "an ode to femininity" I don't think so (despite the female bust as the bottle's lid), this smells too much like a man's cologne or aftershave to me, certainly at first spray. It does soften and have a more floral element to it once you get past that first whiff, but it's undoubtedly what I would call a "characterful/strong" perfume. I think this one could pull off the unisex label no problem! Clearly for the powerful mums/women out there (can a perfume be a no-nonsense perfume? Because this one would be it).

- TOP NOTES: Mandarin orange, grapefruit, spruce and carnation

- MIDDLE NOTES: Seringo, jasmine, rose and lily-of-the-valley

- BASE NOTES: Musk, amber and patchouli

Boucheron - Boucheron for Women (Eau de Parfum)

This one (also for women) is a more masculine version of Oscar de la Renta's Oscar, or Lancôme's Trésor, without my Mum's perfume on hand I can't remember which one (will correct when I can double check). This perfume reminds me an awful lot of the boxes of "masculine" soap my Mum used to get my Dad for Christmas from Roger & Gallet. Again like Sisley's Eau du Soir, it is nice (it does remind me of soap after all) but it's definitely also in the "strong" perfumes category. In fact the original Boucheron is a male perfume (which makes sense when you know that Boucheron is close to the French word "bûcheron" which means lumberjack); this one is its female counterpart. Now the notes for this perfume were quite hard to find as there are apparently three Boucheron pour femme (two of which were limited editions from years ago and the third is in a different bottle on fragrantica). I would say that even though some of the notes are different, the female version doesn't smell much more feminine than how I would imagine the male version to smell like, so if your mum likes more unisex perfumes then this is the one for her.

- TOP NOTES: Basil and pelargonium

- MIDDLE NOTES: Jasmine, ylang-ylang, tuberose, daffodil and orange blossom from Morocco

- BASE NOTES: Civet, benzoin, woody notes, Tonka bean, Indian vanilla, oakmoss, ambergris and musk

 

So there you have it, all the samples I have acquired as of late, I think the stand out ones were definitely Lancôme's La Vie Est Belle (as my Mum already owns this one, I'm pretty sure it would be a success with yours), Dior's J'adore and Cartier's La Panthère. That's it! Hope you enjoyed this post, and that it proved useful! Now I'm off to sniff some coffee beans to clear my palate because I can't feel my nose...I don't know how parfumiers do it!

What is your all time favourite perfume?

What is the funniest Mother's Day card you've ever found? Funny cards are my personal favourites! :P

As a kid, what was your best piece of macaroni jewellery ever made for your mum? We've all been there! :P

 

xxxemma

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KIKO "BFF" Collection - Review & Swatches

So it's no secret by now how much I love KIKO products (hint hint previous post); great quality, awesome packaging and amazing affordability, what's not to love? So their new Valentine's Day collection was going to be a must for me anyhow.

But KIKO have done things a bit differently this year and on this special day of "love" they want you to celebrate your bestfriend-ship, thus the Best Friends Forever Collection was born! So now all the #singlepringles out there don't have to feel left out anymore, and can celebrate the day with makeup and chocolate!...Let's be honest, those heart shaped chocolates aren't going to eat themselves :P Plus, who can resist a heart shaped lipstick?...No one I tell you! Or you're just allergic to cute...in which case "Bless You!" Hands you a tissue. :D

I've only picked up four lipsticks from the "BFF" Collection. Since I wasn't particularly impressed by the lip pencil from their Rebel Romantic Collection, which I found very drying, I was already hesitant. But when I saw that the lip pencils from the "BFF" Collection were twist up (my favourite packaging) I had high hopes! Until I went in store (a newly opened Chaussée d'Ixelles store here in Brussels, by the by) and all the ones I tried to swatch snapped before even making a mark. Now, on hindsight they were all being displayed with their caps off so that might be the contributing factor to their epic fail/dryness! Might have to go back at a later date and see if I can get a swatch out of them (not buying without testing I'm afraid).

Also the nail polish selection didn't intrigue me that much either, if you aren't a massive nail polish collector/hoarder like me then you might not already own any of the three colours on offer but "sadly" I do. Grabs hands; forms support circle...repeat after me..."Thou shalt not buy repeat colours...unless thou really hates the formula"...resist the temptation ladies, we can follow this Golden Rule together! Okay, enough blabbing - time for swatches:

Endless Love Lipstick - 01 Candy Red

This is a gorgeous bright orange-y red, it has a lot of "peps" as the French might say (pronounced like the beginning of "pepper") i.e. a lot of oomph! This is definitely a classic one for a Valentine's collection, I mean any red is, really. But I would describe this as a fun, bright and "happy red" not a "Scorsese-red" (name that quote for extra brownie points in the comment section).

Endless Love Lipstick - 02 Dinky Magenta

Despite its name (which appears on the box not on the lipstick tube, for some reason?! KIKO really needs to sort the naming discrepancy out) this is a classic blue toned red (not showing enough pink to qualify it as magenta, I think). I would say this is the most sophisticated red from the Collection, and I can definitely see this one being worn for fancy dining. Best friends can have posh dinners too! :P

Endless Love Lipstick - 04 Romance Cyclamen

Here is where we end up with the most fun/young colour of the bunch. This is a deep fuchsia colour (fuchsia = blue toned pink, magenta = red toned pink) with a slight iridescence of blue/purple (you can see it on the bottom lip of the bottom picture). Love it!

Endless Love Lipstick - 06 Passion Plum

This is what I would describe as a Coca-Cola colour, or Black Honey from Clinique. Clinique has a Cheek Pop (a blusher) in 07 Cola Pop, which was a Sephora exclusive but is now widely available in the US and hopefully soon in the UK (crossing fingers), and which would go perfectly with this lipstick. In trend with the whole 90s throwback, which we're still having, this is the perfect warm toned brown lipstick. It does have a touch of gold micro-glitter which feels ever so slightly gravelly when smudging your lips together, but otherwise undetectable, and gives the lipstick a beautiful slight golden sheen (we're not in the land of "frosts" people, it's all good). P.S. This lipstick would look amazing on darker skin tones!

DESCRIPTION

At last I can talk about the cuteness of the packaging! KIKO definitely hits it out of the ballpark every time when it comes to packaging. It's a silver tube that has an indented heart in the lid in the exact colour of the lipstick inside. Plus, much like a Louboutin shoe, the inside of the cap is also the lipstick colour, a beautiful touch! But unlike its sister Collection it's not a magnetic seal but a strong click (no risk of it coming loose in your handbag).

The lipsticks are described on the KIKO website as having a formula "enriched with bixa orellana seed extract" which makes it glide on with "vivid colour payoff." I have to say I couldn't agree more with that description, it's so buttery smooth and hydrating that it definitely doesn't need prepped lips for a fantastic and pigmented end result. "Dermatologically tested and Paraben free" it does however have a strong vanilla scent to it, exactly like a Mac lipstick, so if that's not your thing, avoid! But I personally love this formula...and the packaging is just so cute!

APPLICATION

Although the heart shapes are cute, it doesn't lend for super easy application. I found picking one of the rounded edges from the heart shape as your "pointy" bit (from the classic lipstick shape) makes for the easiest application. If you use both rounded edges as your "pointy" bit the lipstick ends up being way too wide and applying in places it shouldn't be. If you had one of the pencils from the Collection to do the fine lining with, and then filled in the rest straight from the lipstick bullet, then the heart shape would not be such an issue. But if you only own the lipsticks then either use "my" rounded edge technique or eventually just get a lip brush for a quicker and more precise application. I mean they're all "reds" after all and we all know that that requires a bit more patience to apply than the slapdash nudes that rarely require a mirror.

WEAR

Exactly the same consistency as their sister Collection (i.e. hydrating and not mattes), these lipsticks wear beautifully for up to 3-4 hours before needing reapplication. They wear off evenly too, leaving a lovely stained quality to your lips.

REMOVAL

Babywipe/makeup wipe will work somewhat, but you will be left with tinted/stained lips. I needed Lancôme's Bi-facil for complete removal (not that I minded the staining that much)

CONCLUSION

Gorgeous, cutely packaged lipsticks. The shape although adorable makes precise application a bit more tricky, but practice makes perfect! And for such a great formula I would say it's definitely worth the slight hassle. The colour choices were a bit limited as they where all variations of red but from a Valentine's collection even if it's for BFFs, I can't say I was expecting any differently.

So there you have it. Which is your favourite colour?

Have you got your Valentine or Galentine makeup look already planned out? If so what will you be wearing?

What's your best BFF memory, since that's what this Collection is all about?

Also what's your favourite chocolate? If you haven't already guessed by my blog name I'm somewhat of a chocoholic, plus I grew up/live in Belgium so I have super easy access to some of the best chocolate out there (I definitely see diabetes in my future). Mine are Guylian chocolates which I sadly can't eat anymore...cause gluten! And Hotel Chocolat for the sheer variety of their flavours (plus gluten is always indicated and rarely added).

Happy Valentine's day, or should I rename it as Chocolate Eating day! Yum!

P.S. I would just like to point out the three hours of my life (that I'm never getting back) spent cutting out those heart shaped confetti...you're welcome! #commitment

 

xxxemma

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Clinique Pop Lip Colour and Primer - Review & Swatches

Back in November as you may recall I was in Bluewater and I managed to get my hands on not one but TWO Glamour UK December issues (featuring the lovely Tanya Burr on the front cover...woop woop for beauty gurus everywhere!!!). That issue came with the possibility of getting either one of four Clinique minis - the Pop Lip Colour and Primer in Nude Pop or Cherry Pop, a High Impact Mascara or the Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+.

Now, as I'm pretty fond of my current moisturiser and mascara I had my eyes out solely for the two lipsticks. My dad spotted them first on the magazine rack in the John Lewis Food Hall (I've trained him well!), and shortly after they were mine...muaha ha HA HA!!! Coughs...sorry don't know what that was about :P And although any good lipstick collection can be judged by its Nudes and Reds I still wanted to get my hands on a full sized one to compare them to. After much umming and ahhing...so many gorgeous options and quite a hefty price point of £16, I set my heart on what makes or breaks a collection for me...the PLUMS!

As you may or may not know, these lipsticks are the accompaniment to Clinique's very successful Cheek Pop Blushers (of which I've already written a blog post about here). They are divided into four different colour categories: Nudes, Pinks, Tawnies/Corals and Violets. And just like its fellow blushers, the packaging is stunning, but more on that later...Swatch time!

Pop Lip Colour & Primer - 01 Nude Pop (Nude Category)

This is a beautiful nude, you can see in the lower right picture that the lipstick bullet has got a bunch of silver micro-shimmer in it. While this may look like it would give the lipstick a "frosty finish" (which is basically the kiss of death for any modern lipstick) in fact it gives the nude a lovely moisturised look to it. A bit like the glow from a highlighter, but on your lips...stunning!

Pigmentation is good, but unfortunately it doesn't cover my white dotted scarring underneath my cupid's bow from previous allergies...itchy little buggers! As a kid I sadly just didn't have the will power not to scratch :( So I would personally wear this one with a lip liner but as I know this would impact the colour, my swatch is just of the lipstick of course!

Pop Lip Colour & Primer - 08 Cherry Pop (Tawnies/Corals Category)

A beautiful blue toned red. It has the same duality as Essie's Watermelon nail polish (would be a lovely match) though if you're familiar with this polish then you'll know that in some lights it can look like a very VERY dark cherry pink and in others a bright juicy red. Hence the name Cherry Pop suits it perfectly! It has the pinkness of the cherry and the Pop-iness of the bright red...great name, applause for whoever was involved here!

Pop Lip Colour & Primer - 14 Plum Pop (Violets Category)

A superb pinky plum which I think is safe to say is in direct competition with my favourite go-to lipstick of all time (for nearly 8 years now...probably) the Rimmel Moisture Renew in Vintage Pink!

Left: Clinique's - 14 Plum Pop                        Right: Rimmel Moisture Renew - 180 Vintage Pink

You can see in the comparison photos above that Plum Pop is ever slightly more of a red-y plum whereas Vintage Pink is more mauve. But as I always apply Vintage Pink over my ever trusty N°7 Precision Lips Pencil in Nude (also very warm toned) the colour I end up with, more or less correlates to Plum Pop on its own...if you like your mauves and plums it's a game changer that's for sure!

DESCRIPTION

Let's get back to the packaging, these lovely lipsticks (like the blushers) come in a nice sleek modern packaging, not in the classic tube shape, but rather a squared rectangle (if that makes no sense, then a picture is worth a 1000 words...the photos say it all). The lid of the lipstick is a lovely metallic mirrored finish whereas the base is the colour of the lipstick inside.

Described on the Clinique website as having a "luxurious yet weightless formula" combining "saturated colour with a smoothing primer" with "a modern-velvet finish". The "colour stays true and keeps lips comfortably moisturised for 8 hours". This is a pretty accurate description except for the 8 hours claim (see: wear below) and the finish I would describe as more of a mixture between a Mac amplified (for pigmentation) and cremesheen (for hydration) formulas. The Clinique formula basically feels exactly like the Rimmel Moisture Renew lipsticks; creamy, pigmented and hydrating...everything you could want in a lipstick! But unlike its drugstore equivalent the Clinique lipsticks are also "100% Fragrance Free", so if that's a thing that bothers you, you now know which one to pick! :)

APPLICATION

Super easy application straight from the bullet (typical pointy shaped lipstick), I would say you wouldn't even need a mirror to apply the Nude Pop, but Cherry Pop and Plum Pop are much darker colours so mistakes are not as forgiving (apply with mirror for these ones). Your lips can be in any condition for these lipsticks; no prepping required! The hydration is in the lipstick, so even flaky lips will look good with these on. :)

WEAR

If you look at the turn of phrase from Clinique they aren't directly claiming 8 hours of colour but rather of moisture...sneaky :P The lipsticks do need to be topped up every 3-4 hours (without lip liner - I have not yet tested the duration with lip liner) depending on activity (definitely after eating) otherwise they wear off leaving a lip liner shape around the edges of your lips, not so attractive! But that's the price you pay when you have moisturising lipsticks, and I'm not going to fault them on that since the Rimmel ones do the same.

Cherry Pop has quite a bit of a staining quality to it though, whether swatched on the back of your hand or on your lips, removal solely by tissue leaves behind an exquisite reddish stain.

REMOVAL

Simple babywipe or makeup remover wipe does the trick!

CONCLUSION

Gorgeous all-rounder lipsticks! The packaging is awesome (yes I totally do judge books by their covers) and looks beautifully modern on your vanity table. The formula is epic (even with the 3-4 hour top up mark) and the colours options spoil you for choice. The only downfall is the price point £16, but it is Clinique after all so not a cheap brand (you could always try a Rimmel Moisture Renew one to get the feel of the formula).

P.S. Clinique has a special offer on at the moment in Fenwick Stores, so get your hands on a complimentary gift set, now's the time to try something new from them :P

So there you have it, hope you've enjoyed the review :)

Do you own any of the Clinique Pop Lip Colour & Primer (Lipstick Pop would have been a much catchier name though)? What colour did you go for?

What has been your all time favourite lipstick formula as of yet, drugstore or high-end?

Do you have a favourite go-to lipstick? Would love to know what (my lipstick collection is clearly not big enough already)

I was thinking of doing a post about my favourite nude lipsticks of the moment since that's pretty much all I've been wearing in January? If you would like to see that, let me know :)

 

xxxemma

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KIKO Rebel Romantic Collection - Review & Swatches

If you know me, then it's no secret that I love KIKO! I don't exactly remember when I first came across this brand (it's been that long) but I've been very impressed with them ever since. Whether it's their amazing packaging...let's just take a moment here...or their innovative ideas; sticky tape on their nail polish stands so that you can actually swatch polishes before you buy, pure genius!!! KIKO certainly knows what they're doing, and at budget prices. Honestly what's not to love!

So back in Autumn, they released their Rebel Romantic Collection, if you haven't got your hands on it yet then now is the time, "sale" people "sale" (not that their prices aren't ridiculously cheap to begin with). I personally picked up: 1 lip pencil, 4 shades of lipstick, 1 blush and 1 mirror (because the packaging of this Collection is all in rose gold and I just couldn't resist okay!). Let us begin;

Intensely Lavish Lip Pencil - 01 Peony

This is a beautiful pinky dark nude lip pencil with a hint of very sparse micro-glitter; barely noticeable and doesn't show up on camera, but definitely there. It's a beautiful everyday colour that you could wear on its own if it wasn't for the rather drying formula (the lipsticks are much better - see "Description" below). If you were to just opt for the pencil, then wear a balm or gloss over it because otherwise it's just too drying.

Described on the KIKO site as a "long-lasting lip pencil" with a "high-coverage texture". And "Its no-transfer and long-lasting formula improves the hold of the lipstick." While I would agree that it is long-lasting and non-transferring, it's quite unpleasant on the lips. I would describe it as quite "heavy", you can certainly feel it once it's on your lips, a bit "à la Mac Retro Matte" but I know some people look for that in a pencil. Mac pencils have a very similar formula and those certainly fly off the shelves.

But for me, I personally look for a pencil to be creamy and long-lasting such as the N°7 Precision Lips Pencil I have in Nude (plus it's twist-up, so no sharpening requirements), KIKO's lip pencil unfortunately doesn't measure up formula wise, but I certainly prefer the Peony colour over the N°7 Nude one, so it really depends on personal preference here.

Intensely Lavish Lipstick and Lip Pencil - 01 Peony

The lipstick definitely adds a bit more red to the dark pinky nude colour of the pencil (see the lipstick on its own below) but while I was hoping it would also add more moisture, it didn't. And while I thought the pencil was "heavy" on the lips, the lipstick just made it even more cumbersome. It's such a shame because I really love both the colour of the pencil on its own and the combo with the lipstick. But this is a combo you do have to be prepared for "à la Mac Retro Matte", that is to say to have nicely exfoliated hydrated lips before applying and expect dehydration galore by removal time.

But now let's talk about the lipsticks on their own, because that's a much happier story, but first swatches:

Intensely Lavish Lipstick - 01 Peony

This is a gorgeous colour, slightly redder and lighter than its "matching pencil", but still a very beautiful everyday pinky nude.

Intensely Lavish Lipstick - 04 Mild Sangria

I would describe this colour as a very warm toned cherry pink with a smidgen of brown to it.

Intensely Lavish Lipstick - 05 Heavy Cherry

This colour is a true blue toned cherry pink, not too bright and in your face, a very complementary classic pink colour.

Intensely Lavish Lipstick - 06 Melodious Wine

If you mixed Mild Sangria and the Heavy Cherry lipsticks and made them a bit darker you would get Melodious Wine. A gorgeous dark pinky red brown with a very slight blue undertone, exactly like a bottle of red wine (wait, those are technically green...like red wine then).

DESCRIPTION

Let's first talk about the amazing packaging these lipsticks come in. All rose gold with sleek minimalist labelling and a magnetic seal, you could spend all day just opening and closing your lipstick, it's that satisfying (...and hypnotic). The magnetic seal is also strong enough that the lid doesn't come loose in your handbag. I think we've all experienced that "moment" with flimsy packaging; RIP lipsticks and, in worst case scenarios, handbags too. Honestly, if I ever came out with a makeup line (let's dream big here people!) I would undeniably want KIKO manufacturers to be on my case. With the packaging alone you can hardly believe the £6.90 price tag, let alone their amazing formula.

The lipsticks are described on the KIKO site as having a formula which "contains orchid extract, corn oil and gotu kola," and a texture which "transforms into a liquid that coats the lips in an intense and ultra-shiny colour." While all my photos do indeed show off this said lipstick sheen (as I had just applied the swatches before taking the photos) it dries down slightly more matte, but all the while staying rather moisturising. And unlike the preceding pencil, you can barely feel them on the lips. Plus for all my "perfumed products" hating peeps out there, there is no smell or flavour to these lipsticks. Personally I really don't mind either way, but I know "perfumed" and "flavoured" is bothersome for some, so worth mentioning.

APPLICATION

The lipsticks come in the standard pointy lipstick shape (not sure how else to describe the shape to be honest, other than the highly descriptive "pointy"), so super easy to apply straight from the bullet. I also found that if you rub/blend the lipstick in with your ring finger once you've applied it from the bullet, you get the "real" finish much sooner and it stays on your lips for a tad longer.

WEAR

Lovely wear from these lipsticks, as they are more on the moisturising end of the spectrum they do wear-off a lot quicker than a true matte. I'd say 3-4 hours (and after eating of course) before needing re-application. But they wear-off beautifully evenly too, leaving you with a "stained" quality to your lips that is very pretty.

REMOVAL

Simple babywipe or makeup wipe will do :)

CONCLUSION

Gorgeously packaged and formulated lipsticks with no smell or flavour to them. "Barely there" feeling whilst being moisturising and slightly matte. My only criticism would be the colour range...although beautiful, they are all from a very similar colour category (dark fuschia/magenta pinks) with only minor alterations between shades.

Also KIKO seem to have an issue with names on their products. Numbers will always appear on packaging but the names sometimes will (the blush from this Collection has both name and number), sometimes won't (lipsticks and pencils). Their nail polishes are also never named on the packaging even though they do in fact have names (according to their website, where again both names and numbers always appear there). But I can hardly blame the Rebel Romantic Collection for this incongruity that is found across the brand.

Rebel Bouncy Blush - 04 Passion Red Wine

This is the darkest and brightest blusher from the Collection. As you may know from my previous blush post I'm really not afraid of some colour on my cheeks, I admit I may sometimes go a bit overboard (but I love the doll effect okay). Hence why this bright reddy pink colour intrigued me the most.

Described on their site as a "blush with a new sensory aspect and a satin matte finish. A lightweight powder combines with a new consistency that's extra soft, supple and highly blendable for a unique product."

I've certainly never come across a blush with quite this consistency before, that's for sure! It's like a finely milled powdery cream. I know that doesn't sound the most appealing but I don't know how else to described the texture. It feels like a "hard" cream in the compact, not as "petroleum jelly-ish" as most cream blushers are, but I wouldn't apply it with my fingers like a cream (because the pigmentation doesn't apply evenly without a fair amount of rubbing, hence displacing foundation). Definitely has to be applied with a brush like a powder, and it has more of a "satin matte" finish like a powder, not the dewiness of a cream. So powdery cream it is!

Although I did have very minor patchiness, overall the blush applied like a dream! The colour wasn't too intense either, I tapped my brush into the product as I normally would with one of my Clinique Cheek Pop blushes and the pigmentation was there. I can see how you can quickly have too much on your cheeks especially with this colour, so if you're scared just dab your brush off a bit on the back of your hand and you should be fine. Certainly worth trying, simply for the unusual but excellent formula.

So there you have it, my pics from KIKO's Rebel Romantic Collection. Do try and get your hands on a couple of lipsticks if you can, especially now that KIKO has recently opened quite a few stores across the UK (no longer just a London store) including a great one in Bluewater. No excuses, go! I dare you not to fall in love with them just like I did :P

Have you picked up anything from the KIKO Rebel Romantic Collection? If so what, and what did you think of it? Would love to know :)

Have there been or currently are any KIKO Collections that must be checked out?

Who does your favourite lipstick packaging (don't worry about budget for this question)?

Has a new KIKO store recently opened near you? What do you think?

 

xxxemma

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Winter Saviours

As someone who had very oily skin for most of my teenage life, Winter dryness was never something that really affected me. But fast forward to my mid-twenties (I'll be 24 forever I tell you!) and my skin has certainly dried up (I was on Accutane for a year in the process but even then my skin wasn't this dry). So what are my Winter saviours, I hear you ask?...

Let's start with something that I use all year round; the Body Butters from The Body Shop (except in the height of Summer when I still moisturise but using something a lot lighter like a lotion). I always slather these on after shaving my legs, because they never fail to soothe the skin.

However as an acne sufferer (Yes you heard correctly, Accutane did not work for me, and I would not recommend it to anyone, let's just say my health has not been the same since) I can't moisturise anywhere else (especially the "décolleté" area and the top of the back i.e. shoulders) without getting acne in those areas as a consequence. This is just something I've noticed with my skin, it has to be at a certain level of dryness to be acne free (I've noticed this on my face too). Luckily my body wash provides all the moisture I need for the rest of my body (Dove's Winter Care with Nutrium Moisture, if interested), but if you're not an acne sufferer then by all means...bathe in the stuff!

Speaking of Body Butters, Origins' Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask is like a Body Butter for your FACE!!! It definitely has the same consistency as one, and moisturises just as well. Now as I don't fancy getting this stuff all over my pillows and hair I have yet to use it for its intended purpose, which is to say "overnight". However on a makeup-free day (where I don't have to go anywhere) I put it on in the morning and rinse it off with my evening bath, and I more or less get the intended amount of hours with this on. The first couple of times I used it, it saved my skin from the dry rashes I was suffering from on the top of my cheekbones (this was before I discovered the La Roche-Posay Effaclar H which I'll be talking about next), since then I've been rather more diligent in its usage. As I've mentioned before, too much moisturisation gives me acne, but if I'm ever that dry again, this will be the product I turn to!

As for La Roche-Posay's Effaclar H, it's specially formulated for dry skin which has been or is currently under drying acne treatments (i.e. Accutane, Epiduo cream etc.): that's me! But I did initially try the Avène HYDRA which is the exact same idea (for drying acne treatments) but it didn't sink into my skin at all!!! As I sleep with an eye mask (I can't get to sleep otherwise) the product would somehow stick to the eye mask at night and when I took it off in the morning so did the top layer of my skin on the cheekbone; hence the irritated dry rash that was saved by the Origin's Drink Up Mask. After several months of this Avène HYDRA which on a side note made my skin look greasy (I know a novelty, very dry skin that looks greasy = product not sunk in) I went to the pharmacist (like France, this is where all our good skin care is sold...no branch of Boots here for us I'm afraid) and I described my predicament, so he just recommended Effaclar H, and lo and behold this one works and sinks in! Yay!!!

As in Winter I have more of a dry combination skin, the Effaclar H goes on my cheeks and the dry areas of my face and on the T-zone/more oily areas I put Avène's Cleanance MAT Mattifying Emulsion (which I've been using for years around my dry mouth area, hence why I tried Avène in the first place). Now it might seem like a bit of a faff to use two different moisturisers to some of you, but I can really tell a difference in my skin since I've been doing this trick. I'm only giving my skin the extra moisture where it actually needs it, instead of just putting it everywhere and overloading some areas of my skin to the point it can't cope (where I then get acne). So if you're in need of an extreme moisturiser, I would highly suggest La Roche-Posay's Effaclar H: plus it doesn't leave you looking greasy, which is a bonus!

Going back to the idea of masks, I'd like to talk about Garnier's Fructis Nutri Repair 3 hair mask. This baby has been a repurchase of mine for nearly 10 years, it's that good! When I started dyeing my long hair (around 15 years old) my hairdresser told me to keep it hydrated using masks. Up to that point I had only used conditioner. Since then I've ditched the conditioner and have only used this Nutri Repair 3 from the bottom of my ears to my ends (which is now a lot shorter since I cut my waist length hair to a bob...#NoRegrets) and my hair has been in excellent condition since, no matter how much dyeing I did.

The tub says to leave in for 1 minute but I like to leave it in for at least 15 whilst I wash and shave the rest of my body (I'm not a gorilla, I just mean legs duh!), but it's up to you. Also as a side note I've tried many different masks from the Garnier range and although I love the scent of many of the other ones too, I don't find my hair coming out quite as hydrated after I use them. So if I fancy mixing up the scent of my hair mask a bit, I will mix in some of the Nutri Repair 3 with another one.

Also as a side note; I like to add an oil to the ends of my hair once dry (literally a pea-sized amount) and my favourite is the L'Oréal Elvive Extraordinary Oil for all hair types. The bottle I'm currently using I've had for 3 years and I'm just half way through it (you use so little), you definitely get your money's worth. So if you have long hair try this out too!

P.S. my hair gets greasy at the roots which is when I know I need to wash it, every 4 days...#DryShampooisLife! So I'm not sure how this would work in hair that just gets drier if you don't wash it, maybe try the mask higher than your ear point? I don't really know...sorry

Finally we have the "crème de la crème" that is the Nuxe Rêve de Miel. You've probably already heard about this cult product, but for the longest time I refused to give in to the hype, how good could it really be? Plus I had already tried a Nuxe's hair oil which did absolutely nothing (this was before I discovered the L'Oréal one, mentioned above), so my expectations for this brand were pretty low. Last Summer however my normal lip balm just wasn't cutting it anymore, I applied it twice daily and would still get dry flaky lips, so despite my apprehension I went out and bought Rêve de Miel.

I've not looked back, it truly is as amazing as everyone says!!! It's a thick balm that makes your lips instantly hydrated, it fixes flaking problems and your lips will never look better! No really, I didn't know my lips could look this good (I thought slight flaking was a natural part of life) plus it doesn't have that greasy slippery formula that some lip balms have, it's a very "creamy" balm.

The only thing I don't like about this product is the flavour, you would think that it would taste of honey from the name (not that I like honey flavour any better), but mine (and another girl's on YouTube I discussed this with) tastes of lemons (hence the photo). My product is still in date, and it doesn't specify lemon flavour on the packet so I'm assuming it's the original. After brushing my teeth and putting this on I definitely have the flavour of lemon sherbet on the lips and it's just really not my favourite! I like things to be candy or fruit flavoured (yes I know lemon is a fruit! But more along the strawberry or raspberry route).

So there you have it - my Winter saviours, hope this helps some of you...flips hair "the cold never bothered me anyway!" (I'm sorry I had to...Olaf made me do it! Hey count yourself lucky I didn't make a "Winter is Coming" joke)

Do you have any products that are a must-have in these drier months?

What's your favourite Body Butter scent? Mine is definitely the Glazed Apple one, although the Peach one is good too, oh and the Passion Fruit one...ok I may have a top 5 if I'm honest with myself.

Does your Rêve de Miel taste like lemons, or do I just have weird taste buds?

P.S. I tried to link as many of the products mentioned, to English websites (none of the links are affiliated; as I said in my Facts I would always let you know). Unfortunately I couldn't find the Dove's Winter Care in body wash format on the Boots website (they had other products from that line though) nor the Garnier Nutri Repair 3 hair mask (which apparently is called hair balm in the UK). Definitely try a Garnier hair balm if you can, it might not be as hydrating as the Nutri Repair 3 but it will certainly be more effective than other brands you may come across (I tried a L'Oréal mask when I was at uni in Edinburgh and couldn't easily repurchase my Garnier one, and it did nothing other than leave my hair smelling like laundry detergent, not quite what I was looking for).

 

xxxemma

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Clinique Cheek Pop Blush "US exclusive" - Pansy Pop - Swatches

Arm Swatches L to R: 02 Peach Pop, 03 Berry Pop and 15 Pansy Pop

Pansy Pop was the main reason for my US beauty order that I talked about in my previous post (in which I cheekily added the Sephora Cream Lip Stains). 

If you can recall, Clinique came out with these flowered beauties last Spring (2014). From that very popular original line I only purchased two: 02 Peach Pop (an orange) and 03 Berry Pop (a bright magenta pink, i.e. a red toned pink).

I gravitated towards these two colours because I felt that 01 Ginger Pop was a "watered down" version of Peach Pop and the same thing goes for 04 Plum Pop, a "watered down" version of Berry Pop. And this is pretty much the only criticism I can make of these blushers; the repetitiveness of the colours!

This is why when I spotted the 15 Pansy Pop (very blue toned pink, i.e. a light mauve) colour as one of the new releases of this year's Spring Collection I was ecstatic! Swiftly followed by extremely gutted when I found out it was a "US exclusive" :( Once again, I feel that the new UK releases are just another "watered down" version of what we have already seen, and unfortunately because of that I'm not buying any of said new UK ones. Admittedly 14 Heather Pop is more of a light brown toned pink, but built up it's just too similar to Berry Pop for me (when using a lighter hand to apply).

The amazing thing about these blushers and what simultaneously shoots them in the foot; is the versatility of the product! Let me explain!

They are extremely buildable, which means that you only truly get the intense colour from the container gradually (depending on how heavy handed you are). So if you're afraid of bright looking blushers, don't be! If you just want a lighter wash of colour, a quick couple of dabs (I use my retractable N°7 blush brush I got in a Christmas limited edition set years ago) should do the trick, and if you want something more intense...just keep building.

This is not to say that it takes forever to get to the final colour, on the contrary the pigmentation is sublime, and I don't quite know how this product manages to have simultaneously irreproachable pigmentation while sustaining extreme buildability. And this is how Clinique have shot themselves in the foot. If you want something more akin to Plum Pop then just use a lighter hand on Berry Pop (that's why I say that the former is the "watered down" version) and there you have it! Hence, they have made it very unnecessary to own all of the colours!

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15 Pansy Pop

This is a beautiful and unique mauve shade, a very blue toned pink, that you might think has the potential of not being flattering but "au contraire, mon frère" it really is! Furthermore, the colour for some reason really carves out your cheek bones. In the picture above, I have ZERO contouring products (they're not really my thing), and while admittedly I have been blessed with quite strong cheek bones (and jawline) they aren't usually so pronounced. That, right there, is mostly down to Pansy Pop!

APPLICATION

Lovely pigmentation, however it takes quite a bit more product (than the other two I mentioned from the original line) to build up to a satisfying colour. Mind you, I like my blusher to be a bit more obvious than just a tiny wash of colour, as I feel it gives me more of a doll-like softness to the face which counteracts my strong jawline.

Zero patchiness, it looks like you've applied a cream blusher without the hassle of said consistency! I don't know how people apply cream blushers without smearing their carefully applied foundation, and if you have acne, the concealer. For acne sufferers, you know that cream blushers are a no-go, unless you want to spend hours doing and redoing your makeup after the blusher has destroyed half your application. Well this is your solution! If you like the look of cream blushers but can't be bothered with the hassle just get your hands on a couple of these and you won't look back.

WEAR

Amazing wear on this product, what you put on in the morning is what you take off at night! This might sound redundant to some of you but if you've experimented with your blushers a bit, you know this is not a given. For example, when I'm applying my N°7 blushers I know that in the morning I can get away with being a bit more heavy handed because the colour will wear off a bit during the day. Or an even cheaper blusher I used that ended up being patchy at the end of the day...not a pretty sight.

But these Clinique blushes are the first blushers I've owned to remain consistent with what I applied in the morning...and Pansy Pop is no exception! 

PACKAGING

I though I would add this category because it's impossible to ignore how pretty these blushers are, they come in a clear plastic casing with the Clinique logo printed in silver on the front. This alone gives these blushers a nice clean sleek look, but the star of the show is of course the Gerbera flower print, so fresh and Spring-like! The embossing might scare some of you from ever using the blushers and spoiling the design. But let me reassure you, I've been using my Berry Pop almost daily for practically a year and as you can see from the photos, although worn, the design is still clearly visible (I dab my blush brush to pick up product though, I never swirl, so that could be a factor). There's certainly no denying that these beauties will look stunning on your dressing table!

M.A.C. Amplified Lipstick - Up The Amp and Essie - Splash of Grenadine

MAKEUP

This Spring, before I even owned anything close to this blusher colour, I've been gravitating towards more of a mauve-y pink. It started off with Essie's Splash of Grenadine for which I bought Mac's Up The Amp to match (because I love matching my nails to my lipstick...well not when I'm painting them blue...obv) and no drugstore lipstick came close to matching (I don't usually buy Mac lipsticks because I love drugstore so much). Some of you might think that matching lips to nails is a bit too old school, but I still love it; I think it's a true classic! And by pairing more unusual colours (like a mauve-y pink) you're bringing it up to date :) And Pansy Pop harmoniously completes this little matching trio, a gorgeous combination that I've really been enjoying as of late. <3

Clothes wise, instead of the stripy top (you know the one, the Parisian looking one that everyone and their mother owns) I was sporting with these nails and lips during the Spring, I'm wearing a dark plum/purple jumper, which gives this makeup look an instantaneous Autumn feel while still staying very fresh looking (sorry I don't have any outfit photos and you can only just about see the purple roll neck). 

For the eyes, I used a couple of pink eyeshadows from my BHCosmetics 120ColorsPalette in the socket line and outer corner (I did a V-shape) while the eyelid just had a plain nude/taupe-y eyeshadow on it, that I have from a random l'Oréal palette. My mascara is the final touch to this very pink and purple look as I added my adored YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils in 4 (a gorgeous purple/black mascara)

There you have it a gorgeous makeup look (if I do say so myself) to pair with this fantastic blusher.

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Have you picked up any of the Clinique blushers? If so which ones?

What blusher formulas have you been blown away by?

What are the most "unique" blusher shades that you own? I really wish I could get my hands on the Clinique Cheek Pop in "Sephora's exclusive" 07 Cola Pop, it looks so amazing! Alas, living in Belgium there is only so much you can do ;)

 

xxxemma

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Sephora Cream Lip Stain - Review & Lip Swatches

For the longest time, I heard beauty gurus sing the praise of these liquid lipsticks and I really wanted to try them out for myself. However living in Belgium with zero Sephoras and no immediate travelling plans to the US or even my neighbouring France, what was I to do?

Well this is where my amazing distant relative (my cousin once removed) that lives in America comes in. She generously took the time to ferret these out for me and send them, along with a "US exclusive" blusher from Clinique, but more on that in a future post ;)

Was it worth it...I hear you ask? Absolutely, these things are truly amazing, definitely worth trying out for yourself; hopefully your access to these beauties is a lot easier than mine :P

P.S. All colours have been corrected in photoshop to give you the most accurate idea of what the swatches looked like on the lips in daylight as opposed to what the camera sometimes picks up.

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14 Blackberry Sorbet

One of the darkest of the collection, I thought this would be perfect for the Autumn & Winter seasons. The slight blue sheen you see on the bottom lip of the bottom right swatch was just the effect of the flash. This colour really doesn't have such a sheen in real life, the top right picture is the most accurate in that respect (I really didn't know how to photoshop out that sheen unfortunately, otherwise I would have)

APPLICATION

Slightly finicky. You can see that the product sort of collected at the edge of my top lip, but if you wipe that line off using a tissue and sort of dab the sponge applicator, you should be ok.

 

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13 Marvelous Mauve

This is the "your lips but better" one of the collection (does anyone else roll their eyes when they say this or hear someone else say it?). Apart from the weird fluorescent pink outline I got with this at the end of the day (see further on in WEAR) this is one of my favourites of the four purchased. A very easy daily pink to wear.

APPLICATION

Very easy to apply; the description of the general application process is below.

 

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09 Watermelon Slice

The unusual one of the bunch, this one is strictly reserved for the Summer! Slightly more orangey/coral than I was expecting, it's a lovely colour nonetheless. However, word of caution when wearing such an orangey based red, your teeth will look yellow! So unless you happen to live in the US with easy access to whitening strips, maybe avoid smiling with your teeth with this one, but you do you boo!

 

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03 Strawberry Kissed

The most gorgeous red I've ever owned! I had my eye on the M.A.C. Relentlessly Red lipstick colour for a while now (it's also a pinky red) but never got round to buying it (I'm not the world's greatest fan of M.A.C. lipsticks; controversial, I know!). But this colour just hits the spot, it's a gorgeous pinky red, that keeps you guessing; is it a red? A dark pink? Heaven in a bottle is what it is! The author is not responsible for slight over-exaggerations, that may lead to false expectations. :P But it really is gorgeous!

 

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DESCRIPTION

These lip stains are described on the Sephora website as a high coverage lip products containing avocado oil. Said to apply via a creamy texture then dry to a silky, lightweight stain. With two finishes in the range: satin & matte.

I would, however, completely disagree on the whole "silky, lightweight stain" spiel. It really isn't a stain and more a liquid lipstick as I'm sure many of you have already heard them being referred to as. The only "staining" quality I could think of, is that once on your lips and having dried, these bad boys are not going anywhere (think M.A.C. Ruby Woo but not as drying)! But if you're like me and you associate "stain" as a tinting of your lips (you know like you've just engulfed a bucket load of blackberries), then this is not it!

These lippies also have a lovely vanilla-y taste and scent to them, that wears off a bit once dried but is quite distinct on first application, so if that's not your thing; avoid! Personally, I love the vanilla taste/scent as I'm sure you've gathered from my previous perfume post :P

APLLICATION

I found that these were super easy to apply, and correct if necessary, using a baby wipe (correct before dried though because then it's impossible). Mind you 14 Blackberry Sorbet was a bit finicky but that's just because it's the darkest colour of the lot, and it's to be expected.

The tiniest amount of product is needed; this is not a lip-gloss people! I wipe off half the product that comes out on the end of the sponge tip applicator (which by the way; is super precise) on the edge of the tube: do my bottom lip. Then pick up the other half and do my top lip. You really don't need much or need to re-dip your applicator in the bottle, one dip is enough for the whole lip!

WEAR

So far I've only worn 13 Marvelous Mauve for a whole day. You can definitely feel it on the lips (not lightweight) but I didn't find it too drying. Although some of the photos may look like these lippies weren't doing me any favours, my lips weren't in the world's greatest condition at the time. I feel you could still pull these off with slightly dry/damaged lips; just as long as you don't intend on a major camera zoom-in like me, you should be good to go! Just don't expect major moisturisation from these "creams", they do have a matte finish after all (the ones I bought anyway), and that finish has always been drying; am I right ladies?!

But back to 13 Marvelous Mauve, it did something very weird that has never happened to me with a liquid lipstick before...at the end of the day (6 hours wear) I ended up with a weird fluorescent pink outline on my lips (the rest of the lips was still the same colour I had applied earlier in the day; that you see in the photo). Now it wasn't too obvious, definitely not going to put me off wearing the colour again, but maybe something that could be corrected using a lipliner, I'm not sure. I have just used them directly on the lips so far. 

REMOVAL

This is maybe where the "staining" quality comes in. Once these babies have dried from their creamy texture (that bit is true) to their matte one, baby wipes no longer provide easy removal (unless you fancy giving your lips an extreme exfoliation). You have to entrust a waterproof remover; my weapon of choice is the Lancôme Bi-Facil (it's magic in a bottle, does the job with no fuss or scrubbing and I got it free with my mascara, so what's not to love). But once removed there is no stain on the lips, so it really is a matter of interpretation when it come to the "stain" description.

CONCLUSION

Don't expect the world's creamiest liquid lipstick from these (I've only tried out the mattes) they are mattes after all, with all that that implies! Super easy to apply and very long-lasting, these are definitely worth it! Just remember to have a good waterproof remover on hand and these are a dream (you could eventually just scrub it off with a baby wipe if you really wanted to though).

 

Which is your favourite colour?

Do you own any must-haves from the range and if so which ones?

Would love to hear your thoughts on these, Since so many people love them :)

 

xxxemma

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