Thursday, 24 October 2013

Review: L'Oreal Superliner Blackbuster

I used to be a kohl / pencil eye liner girl through and through. I used to choose heavily lined inner rims smudged out to the lid any day over a neat line on the top of my lid. But then something happened and I slowly turned. Now no make-up look is complete without a neatly lined lash line - my eyes just don't look like my eyes anymore without. My preferred type of eye liner is still gel liner, as liquid liner can just be so fiddly and hard to get straight.
That's why I got so excited when I saw this. I can draw with felt tip pens, so surely I can manage to draw a line on my lid with a big fat pen?

The packaging of this pen is something that instantly drew me towards it. I just love the gold lettering on the matte black packaging; it's both sleek and chic. Now, as much as I was hoping that the fat nib of this pen would make it easier to get a nice straight line, it turns out it just doesn't. Unfortunately, it's just way too bulky and keeps getting stuck on my eye lashes, making it very tricky to get an even line.

Pigmentation is another area where I felt very let down by this product. With a name like "Blackbuster" I was expecting the deepest, inkiest black imaginable. In reality it was more of a watery grey that even several layers couldn't get to my desired level of blackness.
On the plus side once it was on the lid there was no budging throughout the day. The liner didn't transfer onto my lid one bit, but was still relatively easy to remove in the evening.

A quick word of thanks to Superdrug for plastering their horrible stickers everywhere and turning half of my make-up stash into a sticky mess.
Overall I had quite high expectations for this product, which unfortunately haven't been met at all. While the lasting power was good, the difficult application and poor pigmentation unfortunately meant that this has been banished to the back of my make-up drawer.

I've seen quite a lot of people rave about L'Oreal's original Superliner, so maybe I'll give that one a go next?

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Love Me Beauty Box October 13

This month's post on my Love Me Beauty Box (formerly known as Beauteco) is a tad late due to the fact that we've not had any internet at home for a while - the cause was two naughty puppies destroying the router, thanks for that, dogs! But on the plus side that means that I've had a chance to try every single one of the products I've received and can give you a little mini review along with a description of each item.

1) Lord and Berry | Smudge Proof Eyeliner
Full size: £7.50

To be honest with you I wasn't overly excited to get another two Lord & Berry products in this month's box, seeing as there had already been two lip products from them two months back which I've probably used twice and then given up on. To be fair that wasn't Lord & Berry's fault; it was just because the colours didn't suit me one bit.
The eye liner that came in this month's box was in the colour "Smoke", which unlike the lip products was a brilliant choice in my opinion. I've got more than enough black eye liners to last me a lifetime, but this is a very pretty off-grey with slight green undertones, which makes a nice alternative to a traditional smokey eye. When I opened my pencil, however, I found this:

For some reason the nib had sunk into the pencil!? But never mind, it was nothing a few quick twists in the sharpener couldn't fix. Unfortunately, however, the dodginess didn't end there. As much as I adore the colour, I found the pencil to be way too hard, which means that it pulls a lot on my eye lids, making smooth and even application almost impossible. And you can forget about using it on the waterline, unless you really insist on poking your eye out with a sharp object.

2) Lord & Berry | Scuba Mascara
Full size: £12

On to the second Lord & Berry product: The waterproof Scuba mascara. Upon first inspection I was sure that I'd quite like this product. The brush is densely packed with bristles and it seemed to be nice and pigmented in the tube. 
Unfortunately that doesn't translate at all to the lashes. For a start, the texture is way too dry - I'm not sure if my tube was simply gone off or if that's just how it comes every time, but it just wouldn't do anything to my lashes. Today I gave it some elbow grease and after five coats (yes, FIVE), I finally managed to get some pigment on my lashes - which resulted in flaking about three hours later and a lot of tears trying to get it off in the evening.
Now, I've got to add to this, that I received an email this morning from Love Me Beauty and Lord & Berry apologising about the poor quality of these two products. It seems that I wasn't the only one left thoroughly unimpressed and apparently this is not representative of Lord & Berry as a brand, so they're adding a lipstick to next month's box as compensation. While that's a nice gesture, this mascara is nevertheless going straight in the bin and I won't be happy if I see any more of their stuff in my beauty box.

3) Balm Balm | Indulge Bath & Shower
Full size: £6 for 5ml

This month's box featured three different scent options of this bath and shower oil and with the one I chose (Menu 3), came the "indulgent" variety. I would definitely say this is a strong, slightly spicy and very rich scent and throughout using it I couldn't really make up my mind about whether or not I like it. The little bottle lasted for three applications, which makes the £6 price tag a tad steep in my opinion. Maybe I've just been using too much, though, who knows? As I tend not to take baths anymore, I used this in the shower, but on its own it just didn't seem to clean my skin at all, so I ended up mixing it with my regular shower gel.
And oh my, this is scented heavily. I did not only emerge out of the shower smelling of this oil, without any lotion or even perfume standing the slightest chance in overpowering the scent - it actually left the whole flat smelling like "Indulge" all day long! Maybe I really have been using too much of this.... Nevertheless, now that it's gone I wouldn't say it's anything I'd consider repurchasing.

4) Weleda | Millet Nourishing Shampoo
Full size: £8.95 for 190ml / Sample value: £0.85

I haven't had a chance to sample too many Weleda products yet, so I was quite happy to see this brand featured in this month's box. This shampoo smells absolutely divine - it's got a fresh and citrussy scent but without that hint of detergent that you can get in a lot of citrus scented beauty products. 
Unfortunately, this was another dud for me. There was practically no lather when I used this on my hair and while I accept that this is common amongst "natural" shampoos that aren't full of SLS, it's still something that bothered me quite a bit. Even worse was the fact that it just didn't get my hair clean at all. I actually had an urge to apply dry shampoo straight after blow drying my hair, that's how heavy and greasy it felt.

5) Amie Skincare | Bright Eyes
Full size: £4.95 for 125ml

This is the only product that offered any real choice this month, as you could choose between this, a moisturiser or two packs of face mask. I decided to go with the make-up remover, as I was running low and didn't really fancy any of the other products. It might not be an overly exciting product, but it's been doing a good job at removing my make-up without irritating my eyes or leaving a sticky film on them. As it's oil free however, it will barely scratch the surface of waterproof make-up (such as the scuba mascara that came in the same box), so you'd need a separate product for that. Even though Amie has been featured in a previous box I don't mind seeing them again as I really love the face scrub that I received in an earlier box.

6) Mitchell and Peach | Body Cream
Full size: £36 for 180ml / Sample value: £10

I got an extra product in this month's box which isn't mentioned anywhere on the menu, so I'm assuming that this is part of Love Me Beauty's special offer that gets you a bonus product for every three months you've been subscribed. A great idea in my opinion! Who doesn't love a little extra surprise thrown in? The cream smells has a lovely and quite sophisticated floral, slightly woody scent. Unlike most body lotions that I always complain about it's not too thin and moisturises my skin very well. A huge thumbs down however for whoever designed the packaging of this sample - it doesn't squeeze and the cream is too thick to just run out of the top, so I can see at least half of this lovely sample going to waste just because there's no way for me to get it out. What a shame!

Total value: £31.30 (£41.30 with bonus sample)

Sadly, I have to say that this month's box was my least favourite out of all of the ones I've received. This is partly down to three products being repeat brands and partly down to four the items turning out to be complete duds for me. Getting four full sized products is still really amazing for any beauty box company and I've really enjoyed my little bonus sample this month. Maybe it's just that I've gotten so used to Love Me Beauty / Beauteco supplying me with products that I absolutely adore month after month - after all most of my last monthly favourites posts lately have featured at least one item from each box! You can't always be on to a winner, so I'm still happy with Love Me Beauty as a concept and I'm looking forward to hopefully discovering some new gems in next month's box. But please, pretty pretty please, no more Lord & Berry products!

Friday, 18 October 2013

Fashion Post: Lingerie from Freya

I've got something a little bit different for you today: Let's talk undies!
During a bloggers' event at London Fashion Week recently I've been introduced to Freya, a lingerie brand I've previously heard of but never felt overly compelled to look at. But browsing through the rails upon rails of pretty girly underwear I very soon changed my mind.

Most importantly, can we please talk about how important it is to get properly fitted for a bra? I'd had a quick measure in a shop once by a very bored and irritated shop assistant who put the tape OVER my jacket - no surprises there then that the size she came up with wasn't right for me. But what I actually realised was that I'd been wearing bras TWO back sizes too big and TWO cup sizes too small all along! Apart from really massaging my ego, having a bra that fits properly was just a revelation. I can't believe how I got by wearing the wrong size all this time.

Unfortunately, that also means that shopping for a bra in my size at regular clothes stores just became a lot more difficult, as they often only go up to a D cup, perhaps a DD. Freya target their underwear at us girls with, erm... "bigger assets" and go up to a K cup. I mean, c'mon, if you've got it you want to flaunt it and not hide those babies in frumpy granny underwear.

I went for this really cute and girly pastel pink polka dot set (the "Patsy"). The bra is sturdy and gives really great support. Even though it says hand wash only, I strongly suspect that this is one of the few bras I own that would easily survive a wash in the machine.
It's really hard to find a good balance between underwear that's comfy, but at the same time pretty and feminine, giving you just that extra bit of confidence even if nobody gets to see it all day apart from you - but when you do, it really makes an unbelievable difference.

Where do you like to shop for underwear?

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Monthly Favourites: September 2013

1) L'Oreal SkinPerfection Serum and Moisturiser
I'm writing this post on yet another make-up free day - granted I'm not working today, but I've been out and about without feeling the slightest bit self-conscious about not wearing any foundation or bb cream. You can find my full review of these products here, so I won't be waffling on too long about these, but there's something about them that my skin just really loves. They hydrate without being sticky or greasy and just leave my skin in nice, peachy condition. I've actually got quite a bit of other skincare to try, but I'm scared of putting these away just in case my skin stops looking the way it does at the moment.

2) Percy and Reed Finishing Polish
I got this as a freebie with a magazine months ago and it's just been sitting in my drawer for ages. Now that I've started using it, however, I just can't get enough of this stuff! My hair is really dry and quite coarse, so after blow-drying and even after straightening I still get quite a bit of frizz and random strands of hair that just stick up. This stuff is perfect for smoothing my hair into a glossy mane where products like oil or wax would be too heavy. And a little goes a long way, so this tube is going to last me forever!

3) Nip+Fab Dry Leg Fix
When I received this in my last Love Me Beauty box I mentioned that I had quite a problem with stupidly dry skin just on my legs and nowhere else on the body - up to a point where the skin got itchy and flaky and I couldn't stop scratching it! I was a tad sceptical at first, but this stuff has really worked miracles on my legs. They're now back to being smooth and flake and bump free. As odd as it seems to have a special cream just for your legs, my regular oils and moisturisers have completely failed in that area, while this has given me some much needed relief.

4) Maybelline Baby Lips in Pink Punch
After these were sold out in practically every drugstore I ever went to, I finally managed to jump on the Baby Lips bandwagon! This is an absolute joy to apply, it's such a buttery soft balm that instantly softens the lips and this shade in particular leaves a gorgeous hint of pink on the lips that looks incredibly flattering. I can now see how these can get pretty addictive!