Friday, 28 March 2014

Super Quick Lip Balm Reviews

Here is a short review and score out of 10 of every inexpensive lip balm I have tried. FYI, I sually uneed to reapply lipbalms super frequently so you may not have the same experiences as me.

Nuxe Reve de Miel stick, £5.50
Smells like sunflower seeds. Matte finish, but not as matte as the potted version. Shaped like a lipstick - a con for me, but could be a pro for you. I reapplied this every 3 or 4 hours.

Nuxe Reve de Miel pot, £9.50
Smells like sunflower seeds and honey. Matte finish, good lipstick base. Personally I find potted balms annoying. I found I needed to apply much more each time than when I used the stick version. I reapplied this around every 3 hours.

Caudalie Lip Conditioner, £5.50
Faint vanilla scent, not too sweet. Invisible finish. Shaped like a lipstick - again, I count that as a con. Felt a bit grainy in warm weather. For a little while, lips feel like they'll never need lip balm again. I reapplied this around every 4 hours.

Maybelline Baby Lips Repair (yellow), £2.99
Sherbet almond scent? Slightly glossy finish. SPF 20. I reapplied this every 3 or 4 hours.

Maybelline Baby Lips Hydrate (blue), £2.99
Slightly powdery scent? Finish slightly glossier/more wet-look than Repair. SPF 20. I reapplied this every 3 or 4 hours.

Nivea Lip Care Essential (dark blue), from £1.10
Slightly powdery scent. Slightly glossy finish. Very thick. I reapplied this every 3 or 4 hours.

Nivea Hydro Care (pale blue), £1.58
Slightly powdery scent. Subtle finish, feels very light. Lips feel intensely moisturised. I reapplied this around every 4 hours.

Malin & Goetz Mojito Lip Balm, £10
Yummy but subtle scent, not too sweet. Slightly sticky. Very moisturising but not that long lasting; I reapplied this around every 2 hours.

Dr Lipp Nipple Balm, £11.50
Can't remember any specific or strong scent. Very thick. Matte finish. Fantastically repairing, a little sticky. I reapplied this around every 6 hours.

Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Intensive Lip Repair, from £16.80
Repulsive, slightly bitter smell. Not particularly moisturising. Expensive. I chose to forego lipbalm once I needed to reapply after around an hour.

Boots Essentials Spearmint Lip Salve, £1
Spearmint scent (duh). Dragged a little on application. Needed to reapply after around an hour.

Vaseline Paint The Town Red, £3.49
Rosy scent. Very faint red tint. Annoying pot meant I had to choose somewhere to wipe the greasy excess off my finger when I applied it. Needed to reapply around every 2 hours. If you like Vaseline, though, you may well like this.

Burts Bees Pink Grapefruit Balm, £3.69
Nice citrus scent. Dragged a little on application. No real moisturising feeling. Needed to reapply after around 2 hours.

Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfector, £17
Can't remember a particular smell. Very sticky. Expensive. If your dryness is caused by you licking your lips, these will aggravate the situation resulting in a -1/10 rating. If not, more like a 5.5/10

Bonne Bell Dr Pepper, £?
Sweet smell. Slightly sticky finish. Fairly moisturising as long as you don't lick your lips too often. Needed to reply around every 2 hours.

Blistex Liquid Splash (roll on), £?
Cooling sensation. Wet but not sticky. Moisturising at first but then seemed to dry lips out very quickly once it wore off. Needed to reapply around every 2.5 hours.

I still want to try EOS, Lanolips, Neutrogena Norwegian Formula, Carmex, the rest of the Blistex range and Nivea's SOS Lip Relief. But for now, I will keep buying Nivea Hydro Care (Caudalie and Dr Lipp on special occasions...)

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

NARS Night Flight and Night Porter Eye Shadows

NARS has an absolutely stunning eye shadow range called Night Series, consisting of Night Breed, a glittery black, Night Fever, black with red glitter, Night Life, silver shimmer, Night Porter, dark green shimmer, Night Star, shimmer peach, and Night Flight, black with blue shimmer. Night Flight is not currently available on NARS' website, I hope it hasn't been discontinued. That was my first NARS eyeshadow, and last week I bought Night Porter last week so I figured I'd do a post on both!

Both of these shadows wear very differently when wet compared to when they are used dry - lots of people who post negative reviews of the dark Night Series shadows do so because they don't realise how much more pigmented and awesome they are when used with a damp brush (or finger). Additionally, they look totally different in the pan. When swatched wet, Porter becomes much more opaque and the green stands out more clearly against the black base. Flight is super opaque when wet, and the blue is a little more obvious but it stands out best with flash.

Top to bottom: Bonus! NARS Ondine, dry then wet (don't bother wetting this one, it goes patchy), Night Porter, dry then wet, Night Flight, dry then wet.

Used wet in conjunction with a primer they make good eyeliners. I use a little freebie Urban Decay liner brush and Urban Decay Primer Potion, which was the best primer on the market when I first bought it about 6 years ago, but the primer market has boomed in recent years and there are probably others worth trying. Temptalia uses NARS primer, so that's probably a good recommendation.

I'm not quite sure what market these shadows are aimed at as they seem to fill no particular role in an eyeshadow arsenal, but I enjoy using them on the rare occasion I attempt a bold smoky eye.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

NARS Carthage, Manhunt, Niagara

There's something so incredibly sophisticated and alluring about NARS which means I can't stop buying bits from them here and there. Most people find the matte, black, dust-magnet packaging annoying but it's beautiful to me. A few months back I decided to branch into sheer lipsticks. I started with Manhunt - I bought it as a present for myself, but I don't remember why. I never need much of an excuse to treat myself! Then at the start of February I added Niagara to my collection.

From top to bottom: Manhunt 1 swipe, 4 swipes. Niagara 1 swipe, 4 swipes. Carthage, 1 swipe, 4 swipes.

Manhunt is described as a "sheer poppy red". Swatched above at maximum opacity. It looks much redder in the tube than it does on the lips, and, truth be told, I still haven't made up my mind about it. I bought it with the intention of using it when I'm doing a more bold eye look - that is, anything other than mascara on my eyes - to cover up the odd blue tinge my top lip gets when the temperature drops below about 5 degrees. This needs reapplying after a meal but lasts through a drink.

Niagara (swatched above at maximum opacity) is a Satin, not a Sheer, but if you're used to mattes and bold shades, they are one and the same. It's described perfectly as a "pink based coral". It can come up a little more orange on me in certain lights, and again, I haven't decided whether it suits me or not, but one thing's for sure - it looks much better now that I've bleached my hair than it did with my original mousy brown. I usually apply multiple layers and it lasts 4-5 hours.

Less than 24 hours after I bleached my hair, Into The Gloss published an article about bleached hair tips. I took to the comments section to announce my dye job and attached a photo, but noted that I wasn't sure whether my lipstick collection would still suit me. The lovely Lacey, who wrote the article, replied that she reckoned I'd suit a matte orange-red (hooray for Illamasqua Liable) or a glossy mid-pink (I'm looking at you, Bite Beauty Garnet - review to come). Spurred on by the recommendations, I purchased Carthage Pure Matte - as a bright, cool pink it doesn't fit either of her suggestions, but I'd wanted it for ages and never thought I could pull it off. With my new blonde, I thought it would give me a bit of an ironic Barbie vibe, because that's totally a thing. With MAC Prep + Prime Lip, Carthage lasts around 7 hours / through a couple of drinks / a frozen yoghurt - whichever your chosen unit of time happens to be. I just couldn't get Carthage to photo well on my lips, but my arm swatch was pretty spot on.

NARS lipsticks, lip pencils and lip glosses range from £17 to £18.50, though a price rise will come with the new gloss formula. I'm sort of paralysed by my indecisiveness - I've narrowed my next one down to Schiap, Heat Wave, Afghan Red, Rouge Basque, Shanghai Express, Timanfaya, Rikugien, Majella, Walkyrie or Bahama. So what I'm saying is, I haven't narrowed it down at all.

What are your favourite NARS lip offerings?

Monday, 25 November 2013

Jason Natural Care Shampoo

I have a lovely organic produce shop near my house at university, and when I was in there recently I noticed that they sell natural body products in addition to food. I was on the look out for some more shampoo - I'd run out of Yes To Tomatoes which is 99% natural and, since I couldn't find YTT shampoo in any of my local Boots stores and couldn't be bothered to order it online, fancied finding a different natural alternative. I can't remember whether I've mentioned already that I am considering slowly transitioning to more natural hair and skincare products (says the girl who just recently bought the mineral-oil-heavy Eve Lom cleanser...)

I bought "Long & Strong Jojoba" for healthy hair growth and "Volumizing Lavender" to add body to fine hair and have been using the jojoba one for the last two weeks.

Results: my hair has definitely grown, though I can't necessarily say whether it's grown more quickly than usual. My hair felt squeaky clean after washing, but not dried out. However, I've noticed my hair doesn't look good for three days like it did with the Yes To Tomatoes or Pantene Pro-V Fine Hair Volume and Body shampoo that I used between YTT and Jason. Also, while the smell isn't unpleasant, it's a little hippy-ish for my tastes and does last after the shampoo is washed out.

I probably wouldn't buy that one again, but after using the lavender (volumizing) shampoo once earlier this week, I must say I was impressed. My hair felt light and soft and I do feel like it had some extra volume. The smell was also more pleasant. I'm looking forward to finishing the jojoba shampoo and moving on to the lavender one!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Sweater Weather Tag

Favourite fall candle scent? As soon as it cools down I prefer warm, powdery scents. I like Colony's Powder Fresh and Wax Lyrical's Warm Embrace. Of course, it won't be long before I switch to Christmas scents. I have my eye on John Lewis' Winter Spice and Lily Flame's Snowfall.
Coffee, tea or hot chocolate? I used to be a coffee fiend, but now I'm turning more towards tea - I love Twinings' Lady Grey, Pukka's Vanilla Chai and Yogi Tea's Ginger (alternatively, simply adding hot water to chopped fresh ginger is amazing).

What's the best fall memory you have? Until a few years ago, I didn't like autumn at all, so I can't say I have any vivid memories associated with the season.

Which makeup trend do you prefer: dark lips or winged eyeliner? Dark lips all the way! I can count the times I've winged my eyeliner on one hand. It's unfortunate that dark lips are so much harder to maintain.

What is the autumn weather like where you live? In the last few years, autumn has been bitterly, bone-chillingly cold towards the end. It used to be relatively mild. Being England, it's also rather rainy.

Favourite Thanksgiving food? I don't celebrate Thanksgiving but there are plenty of incredible stuffing recipes on the Internet! I also love cranberry sauce and sweet potato mash.

Hats or scarves? I love hats but I don't own many. I wear a scarf pretty much every now that it's cooled down. My favourites are from markets in Oman and Morocco, and I also have a few from Zara and Urban Outfitters. We Are Owls and Yarnz scarves are the stuff of my dreams, though.

(We Are Owls scarf)

Most worn sweater? Last year it was a boyish, blue and purple striped affair by Le Mont St Michel x Urban Outfitters, but this year it's a tie between an oversized brown from Wallace for Madewell, and a navy striped Brora cashmere hand-me-down from my dad.

Must-have nail polish this fall? Chanel Paparazzi and Essie Luxedo.

Football games or jumping in leaf piles? Neither, thanks!

Skinny jeans or leggings? Skinny jeans, no question.

Combat boots or Uggs? Out of the two, combat boots, but again, neither.

Favourite fall TVshow? What is a fall TV show? I don't watch a great deal of TV but round about now I'm starting to feel like watching Christmas films...

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Inspired by Temptalia: My Top 15 Products

Temptalia posted a great poll today asking readers to comment with their top 15 makeup products. I answered with a version of my top 15, and it inspired me to write out a more carefully chosen top 20 on here.

  1. Guerlain Cils D'Enfer Mascara
  2. NARS Night Porter Eyeshadow
  3. NARS Iskandar Eye Paint
  4. NARS Kinshasa Brow Gel (I don't own this but it's amazing)
  5. MAC Graphblack Technakohl Liner
  6. MAC Studio Finish Concealer*
  7. YSL Touche Eclat
  8. Guerlain Meteorites
  9. Dior BB Cream
  10. MAC MSF Natural
  11. Kjaer Weis Blossoming Cream Blusher / MAC Cremeblend Ladyblush
  12. Rouge Bunny Rouge Titian Blush Wand / NARS Penny Lane
  13. Ilia Beauty Polka Dots & Moonbeans Illuminator / NARS Copacabana Multiple
  14. YSL Glossy Stain #9 Rouge Laque (my favourite lip colour)
  15. Armani Lip Maestro #400 The Red
  16. Guerlain Terre de Sienne Lip Liner
  17. Bite Beauty Lush Fruit Lip Gloss in Garnet / MAC Pro Longwear Lipglass in Forever Rose
  18. Stila Lip Glaze in Black Cherry
  19. Chanel Rouge Allure in Rivoli
  20. Dior Ultra Gloss in Flash (discontinued - try MAC Lustreglass in Instant Gold)
*I picked this one as it's the one I've ever owned and liked. NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer isn't for me. It's been about 4 years and I've used half the pot of the MAC stuff if that gives you a clue as to how infrequently I wear concealer, and therefore how little I know about which ones are good.

Concealer aside, take all these as solid recommendations! Some of these brands are harder to hunt down as they are not available everywhere - or at all - so I have added a more accessible (and in almost every case, cheaper) alternative.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Korean Beauty Products On eBay

I recently made my first (long overdue) foray into Korean cosmetics in London's China Town*, where I bought eight sheet masks, including one whitening mask and one containing snail slime, with plenty of help from the lovely assistant. I nearly bought a lip tint from 3 Concept Eyes (fans of StyleNanda will know this brand) for £18 when my companion pointed out they were under £10 on eBay.

So I spent the next few evenings trawling eBay and making a Korean cosmetics shopping list, then I finally made my first purchase via iamlove-shop on eBay. They have a huge range of skincare and makeup from brands such as The Face Shop, Tony Moly, Missha (whose BB Cream is reportedly one of the best ones out there FYI), Innisfree and Mizon. I plumped for something I identified as low-risk, a solid perfume stick from Tony Moly called "Bebe Powder". I absolutely love the smell of baby powder, so I reckoned it could almost definitely not go wrong. There's 9g of perfume and I paid $11.58 + $2.50 P&P which adds up to £8.82.
Bebe Powder on the left (image from
It arrived this morning and I am thrilled! There was a risk I'd find the kawaii bunny packaging tacky, but I think it's rather lovely. It smells so fresh and powdery, plus the main ingredient is shea butter so it is very smooth and not at all drying. It's not a strong scent - I don't think anyone else can smell it unless they hug me or something like that. I like to use it on my wrists and around my ears and neck. I also use it under other perfumes. The order also came with two samples of Tony Moly Aura CC Cream, Intense Care Sleeping Pack (moisturiser?) and Red Appletox Honey Cream.

Other Korean beauty shops include beautynetkoreapzh888rubyruby76 and sing-sing-girl.

Here are the next few products I have my eye on - and at those prices, I really have no excuse not to get them!

Top row: Missha The Style Sheer Fluid Blusher in 04 Vivid Coral, 3 Concept Eyes Cream Blusher in Baby Peach, 3 Concept Eyes Lip Marker in Red and Pink.
Bottom row: The Face Shop Pastel Cushion Blusher in Rose Cushion, Skin Food Egg White Pore Foam, Skin Food Brightening Rice Mask

*sorry, don't know the name of the shop but I think it may have been down Newport Court?

Kjaer Weis Cream Blush in Blossoming

Ages ago I posted about a sample set I ordered from the American beauty site Spirit Beauty Lounge. One of the samples I ordered was a cream blush from Kjaer Weis - an organic brand who, at that point, I'd never heard of, but the they seem to be getting more and more coverage, which is great - which actually turned out to be my favourite blush out of the samples I'd ordered. That's not to say I didn't like the other shades (two RMS Beauty Lip 2 Cheeks) but they didn't suit me nearly as well and I also found them a little patchier. I'll swatch them nonetheless.

Blossoming is a warm peachy-pink shade - the kind of blush that suits me best  - in a super creamy formula. The standard blush, i.e. not the sample, comes in a heavy metal compact, and the idea is that you can buy refills instead of repurchasing the whole thing. I love it when brands do this although it does tend to be a practice of high-end brands such as Guerlain, so even the cost of refills does sting. The original is £38 and the refills are £19 at Naturisimo.

Swatched above heavily then blended out. Excuse the goosepimples and the state of my face in the following shots, I took these at about 8am which is really early for me because I'm a student. The advantage is that my deathly pale morning face shows the blush rather well.


It's super blendable, even without moisturiser underneath (bad habit) and virtually impossible to over-apply. It's a perfect autumn-winter shade for me and would probably suit 99% of those with pale skin, though I'd skip it if I were darker. There are 4 other shades in the range though, so I think everyone will be able to find one that suits them. A huge thumbs up from me!

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Blog I Love: Tinted Red

Tinted Red is a treasure trove of lip (and other) swatches. The day I found it I read every single post on there.

Her lip swatches are excellent. Here, for example, is Guerlain's Orgueil:

Can't recommend it enough!

Tuesday, 15 October 2013


I finally got round to buying Chanel Rouge Allure in Rivoli at the end of August. I've wanted it ever since my MAC What Joy! was stolen at a party (!) but it seems as if putting items on my (imaginary) wishlist means it takes me far longer to buy them than if I were to just get them on a whim... Anyway, Rivoli is a dark, reddish berry shade, almost totally opaque with a shiny satin finish.

The following photo shows the difference between the bullet colour and the colour on the lips:

The following is an outdoor, sunlit shot (skin looks surprisingly good but I have practically no top lip...)

Lip primer almost definitely required. Not the colour/formula to wear if you are planning on doing a lot of eating or drinking. I don't mind touch-ups, but this berry shade obviously carries quite a high risk of high-impact smearing.

Rivoli has, like most berry lipsticks I imagine, some down sides, but it's such a gorgeous colour that I would recommend it to anyone who likes high-end lipsticks. Maybelline Red Garnet is very similar, and Revlon Red Velvet is similar but sheerer. MAC's Hang Up, Dare You and Dubonnet are all nice deep shades.