I recommend the Prestige for when you need a great mascara, able to deliver, on a budget, but it's not a replacement for whichever fabulous high end mascara you favour. My lashes become voluminous with this but with absolutely no length to speak of. My favourite mascara of the moment is the Diorshow Extase, which adds reams of length and gloss - however, if you are most concerned with volume, My Blackest Lashes is bound to please you. This feels quite nice to apply, zigzagged through the lashes, and it lasts for the night, but not into the morning. I would give this 3.5 and I like it about the same as My Biggest Lashes. The wand, I prefer, as it's more maneagable.
Treatments (Eye) -Nivea - Q10 Refreshing Eye Roll-On
pennypencil 5/16/2011 8:19:00 AM
I have had a lot of luck with the Beiersdorf skincare group's eye products, with my holy grail eye product being Eucerin's Q10 anti-wrinkle Eye Cream, and the product I hold singularly responsible for most people thinking I'm 5 years younger than I am - for now at least, touch wood. This Q10 eye roll-on has the same anti-ageing properties, but without the SPF. The substance itself is like a light lotion or serum, which feels like a refreshing drink for the skin. It absorbs quickly, plumps on contact, and fine lines disappear almost instantaneously. Personally, I think this is excellent, and have been smoothing it into my forehead to make sure lines stay at bay there, too. Can't say enough good things about this non-irritating, refreshing addition to my skincare armoury.
Cleansers -Unlisted Brand - Good Things total wipeout face wipes
pennypencil 5/16/2011 4:33:00 AM
Another less than glowing review for these, I'm afraid - though I have just looked at reviews on the Boots site, and several people seem to love these. I was after some cleansing wipes to keep at the beau's house in order to clean up morning panda eyes, but these don't do the job. Not only do they smell really funky - an artificial, juicy scent with a big dose of fruit rot - they don't remove eye make-up very well, spreading it into the eye area but not cleaning. This means eye skin needs a good scrub - something most of us are keen to avoid. For me the only thing stopping these being completely useless is that if I run all of the awful moisture from them first, using warm water, they can work as a cleansing cloth pick-me-up for the face. I am considering using the boy's olive oil over my face and then using these to remove that. Huh.
This is a pretty exciting retro pin-up red, with a glossy finish that adds a pop of drama to toes and fingertips. Shade wise, it's the tiniest bit cool - a bit like 1980s raspberry sauce laden with E numbers. It's the kind of red you'd find in a Martin Parr photograph.
I have way more to say about this scent than the previous reviewer as I've tested it through steamy sessions with my suitor. Too much information? I can attest that this is actually incredibly long lasting on both material and skin; in my beau's case anyway, and it develops beautifully over the hours. I spent a long time choosing a scent for the recipient, when we were still just friends. To give you some idea of what I was looking for - he's a sharply-dressed professional, successful for a youngster, not totally in control of his every fashion choice, but developing a taste for classic styles. His shoes are well polished and his shirts fit his pumped chest span. His skin is becoming apricotty as the spring is generous with its rays, which makes his blue eyes look bright. I wanted to gift him with something that wouldn't challenge his ideas of what is normal, wouldn't alienate his work colleagues or girls, and would take him forward as his career progressed. I didn't expect to be inhaling it myself, but I'm delighted with the performance of The One Gentleman. For me the clear comparison for this scent is Organza Indecence by Givenchy. It's definitely a masculine gourmand, but not a screaming gourmand like Paco Rabanne's hit, 1 Million. It's creamy, woody and spicy - like rum'n'raisin ice cream. The gourmand nature of this makes it suitable for the young set, with another comparison being the earlier Ghost Man. The vanilla is very smooth in The One Gentleman, and the lavender is just aromatic enough. Gris Clair by Serge Lutens is coming to my mind also, though that is a drier scent. Also Courtesan by Worth, for that spicy, rich, chocolate, velvet finish. The One Gentleman would be totally wearable on a woman, especially in the winter months, but it's infinitely wearable for a guy. Delish!
This is a really creamy coloured peachy nude polish with a vinyl finish. It's pale enough to suit lovers of the natural lip, but isn't so light it washes one out. Consistency wise it's the same as the other Pout Polishes - slippery, light and moisturising. Unlike the other reviewer, I find all Pout Polishes a dream for the lips - and my lips get dry with many lip products. The coconut scent is harsh but acceptable and the SPF15 has saved my lips from the sun in this spring heat wave we've been having.
I have a Long Lasting Lip Marker in shade 004 - Chocolate, and it probably is one of my most-used lip products. I'm giving it 3/5 because though it adds definition and polish to my look, the formulation comes with some caveats. The nib itself is a good thickness but a tiny bit dry and scratchy. You need to shake the pen well for saturation. For a lip stain, this colour is very build-able, but care needs to be taken to ensure lips are well-prepped if you are going to apply it all over the mouth as it clings to dry spots. Lips that look perfect before applying this can be shown up to be flaky. I am able to manage this by massaging the stain into the lips and applying Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream over the top. For me, the best use of this pen is to amplify the shape of the cupid's bow. The shade I have is a natural dark nude, which can be paired with colours ranging from nude-->coral-->pink-->plum. I sometimes use it just below the lip to make them appear bigger, and a vertical line blotted down through the bottom lip can give the appearance of Angelina or Scarlett-style plumpness. The ink itself is quite artificially scented and flavoured with some kind of fruit punch. I often pair this with Sleek's pout polishes and the combination of both those saccharine extravaganzas equal beach cocktails on steroids.
I bought this in Morrisons because I had an unexpected date - I had been in London all day and texted my suitor on the off-chance he fancied a drink. I hadn't brought any make-up with me except some Estee Lauder mascara; however, I didn't want to spend much and Morrisons doesn't exactly stock high end brands. I figured the three shades would cover highlight, blush and contour, and I also bought a really rubbish face brush to apply it with. I have this in Pink Me Up, and I'm pretty impressed. The texture is soft and the formulation isn't too pearly, sparkly or chalky - actually, this is a hugely wearable selection; quite subtle, especially when applied with a light touch. The lightest colour is a pale golden peach. I usually like a cream highlighter - the two I use most being Benefit's High Beam and Elf's awesome Shimmer palette, but this powder did give me a diffuse glow around the cheek bones, and would look pretty on the collar bone too. I can compare it to the Bourjois Delice de Poudre Illuminatrice, which is more pigmented but easy to overdo. The blush is a rose pink, with just a touch too much shimmer, in my opinion, so it needs to be worked into the skin well. I find shimmery blushes a bit perturbing on the cheeks as they can amplify pores and look caked on - however on the bridge of the nose and temples they are divine. The contour is indeed a small section of the palette, but a welcome one. This heathery rose-brown made a fantastic contour shade that suited my colouring. Most pleased was I that my sensitive skin didn't react to this, and I think I'll be getting heaps of wear out of it this summer. A really cheap and good find!
Foundations -L'Oreal - Infallible Brush 24h Foundation
pennypencil 5/13/2011 5:12:00 AM
I was interested in trying this foundation following a glowing review in LOOK magazine this week, praising its smoothing qualities, ease of application, and versatility. I'm not a regular foundation wearer because I have skin that is both clear and sensitive - so it doesn't make sense for me to dabble. I adore the ritual of applying foundation but often my skin will pay the price the next day in the form of small patches of irritation on the cheeks. For this reason, I tend not to mix up my foundation choices, and recently have been sticking with the fabulous Face Atelier foundations in the three lightest shades: Porcelain, Ivory and Wheat, I think. I have samples of these but haven't ordered a full £30+ bottle yet. I find this Infallible Brush foundation in shade 2 - Natural Rose, to be a pretty close colour match to Face Atelier's Wheat, and pleasingly, not far off in texture too. Those who have used Face Atelier will be aware of the matte but silky, almost stretchable feel that glides over the skin leaving a creamy, undetectable skin-like mask. I think the Infallible Brush foundation is a touch less natural and durable, and doesn't fill in the plains of your face with such a fine touch, but it does contain silicone particles to do a primer/foundation-in-one job and the results are impressive. I personally use this foundation mixed with my moisturiser, which is by Mir, and the two products bond effortlessly. Not all foundations will do this - my Laura Mercier Moisturising Foundation was too drying on its own, and wouldn't work at all when I tried to combine it with face cream. With my choice of lotion, the Infallible Brush foundation gives a warm and flawless summer glow to my fair skin. The brush itself is novel, silky and dense, but not something I'd personally rely upon, too concerned am I with getting a natural finish. A stippling brush would be better, or fingers, but I enjoy splodging it on the face with the built in applicator. Best of all, despite sleeping in this product last night I have not a sign of irritation, no dryness and a very even and clear complexion. My skin is normal to dry, and this normal/oily formulation works fine when applying the above methods. On a well-moisturised face I think this would suit most skin types.
I was really attracted to the colour of this polish from the photos I could find of it - a gentle, serene green, verging on turquoise, with hazy and friendly holographic particles. Wearing the colour, though it is splendid beyond belief when it catches the light, it can be ever so slightly lacklustre, and needs to be partnered with the right clothes to make it fabulous. Personally I like to think this partners gold and black outfits very well, particularly in the 1970s Bond style - luxe catsuits, smoky cat eyes and peachy nude lips.
Having truly sensitive and reactive skin I had high hopes for the Lily Lolo brand and tried several samples. My skin is fair and quite flawless except for when I try to use foundations - then my cheeks become patchy. With this product, and the blushes too, my skin itched and I developed red splotches. I also noticed it was slightly pore-clogging on the nose, and in addition to this, I found the finish rather dull and cakey in comparison to light liquid foundations or tinted moisturisers. I had the same experience with Prestige's mineral foundation, so I suppose I just can't use this type of make up base.
Gels/Soaps -Clarins - Relax Bath & Shower Concentrate
pennypencil 4/14/2011 3:31:00 AM
I am crazy about this fantastic bright blue shower concentrate, which really is so concentrated the smallest quantity of gel foams into a rich, strong-smelling lather that makes shower time far more satisfying. You know the When Harry Met Sally-esque ads for Herbal Essences? Well, that's the level of enjoyment I feel when I use this fantastic gel in the shower. The aroma is very peppery and aromatic - I get geranium and basil too, and a whole host more herby wonderfulness. The pepper is most dominant, and the experience does soothe and calm the mind, making me feel capable. I find this gel as rejuvenating and invigorating as relaxing, and so urge you not to write this off as a night time accompaniment, It makes a fantastic start to the day.
This is a fascinating, beautiful, warm peachy scent that has an inner luminosity rare in even the most highbrow perfumery. It's a rounded halo - golden, light and fruity - somehow glowing. Not too sweet, but still quite sweet, and not belonging to any particular season. It's a clean scent, but not harsh, sharp or even fresh. It's rather like sake, candlelight, ripe peach, pearls, golden ribbons and chiffon. A musky and comforting delight.
Alice is a light, milky, lightly spicy and very comforting rose and carnation skin-scent, which wears incredibly closely to the skin. It scared me initially with a harsh cinnamon and clove waft, but within minutes the scent is way gentler and rosier. I can see the similarity with LUSH Potion Lotion, which was a favourite of mine, but less so with the clove powerhouse, Potion in solid form. Alice is nice on my wrist where the heat melds it to the skin, but less so on dry bits, where it can retain some harshness.
Fragrances -Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab - Bon Vivant
pennypencil 4/1/2011 4:54:00 PM
This is one of my favourite offerings from the lab; an outside contender that somehow managed to woo with the fine line it straddles between the sticky, sweet red lollies you get in sherbet dips, and YSL's effervescent Yvresse. I enjoy strawberry in scents, and the clean, champagne booziness is a perfect accompaniment. Bon Vivant isn't wholly inelegant, and pleases me and my boy equally (he's voiced regular good-humoured and cheeky distrust about BPAL, in the main because of resinous and incensey blends he's not quite yet used to smelling on his Marc Jacobs Daisy-loving girlfriend! He'll love Snake Oil and Lilith Victoria yet!). Nice for sunshine days, and a possible full bottle order if I find enough else from the lab to love to justify UK shipping.