Thursday, September 27, 2012

Review: Armani Maestro Foundation

I'm so sorry for the lack of love on my blog this week guys! I'm not sure how, but the week seems to have shot past at the speed of light, but today I'm back with a review that I have been trying to write for the past month or so.

It's about a product that many of you will have seen or heard whisperings about recently: Giorgio Armani's new Maestro Foundation. It's hot stuff in the blogging world right now, and I was lucky enough to be sent a sample of it over a month ago.

The reason why it's taken me so long to review this product, is because I simply can't make my mind up about it. It's rather an oddity if I'm honest. Here's a bit of background info on it, and how it's meant to work if you haven't read any reviews already:

Hailed as a "revolutionary complexion perfecter" by Armani's makeup artist Linda Cantello, Maestro has been eight years in the making. According to Cantello this is "not a foundation", it's a "whole new generation of makeup that feels incredible, looks invisible and makes the skin appear luminous every time. Everyone can wear it".

The product is formulated using 5 different types of oil, but no water. Using what are known as volatile, semi-volatile and non-volatile oils not only gives the foundation an incredibly unique texture, but it also helps it to stay in place all day. The different oils evaporate from the skin gradually throughout application, leaving a fine film of pigment on the skin. The foundation is also formulated using a lower percentage of pigment compared to most foundations, so the effect is more subtle and natural.

It comes in 12 different shades (as shown above) The shade I have is 5.5 and it's a great match for my skin tone.

It sounds interesting, right?

But how does it actually perform? As promised, the texture of this foundation is something else. It's so thin and silky, it's almost like blending water in to the skin. It's surprisingly non-greasy and super fast to apply. It feels practically undetectable on the skin, and gives a light, natural coverage.

The problem with this foundation is that one day I'll use it, and love it, and on other days, it just doesn't seem to sit right on my skin. It tends to cling to any dry patches, so if you have dry skin I think this is a total no-no. On 'good days', when combined with a good concealer for any problem areas, the effect of this product is really beautiful. Quite flawless, yet still natural, and as the blurb above says... luminous.

No Makeup
With Armani Maestro alone:
Finished Makeup:
I think it really depends on the condition of your skin. If you like natural coverage and have normal-oily skin, I think this foundation would be a great one to consider. The texture alone makes it something that every beauty aficionado simply must see in person. It's a totally new, innovative product, which is quite rare these days, and I love it for that.

Otherwise... I'm on the fence.

I'd love to hear your thoughts if you've tried this foundation, as I feel like it may be one of those love-hate products... Have any of you tried it? What do you think?

You can pick this up in Selfridges now for £36, and nationwide at GA counters from Monday.

Friday, September 21, 2012

It's a 10!

Ever since I discovered my beloved Unite 7 Seconds leave in conditioner over a year ago, no other leave-in, detangling, conditioning type of product has quite been able to beat it for me. I have rather thick, unruly, colour-treated hair that is near enough impossible to brush when wet unless paired with a very effective leave-in conditioner.
 
One of my lovely followers (Muna - Hello and thank you!) sent this curious little bottle of hair goodness to my PO Box a couple of months ago, after emailing me to say that she had discovered a product she knew I would love and to keep an eye out for it in the post.
Well, I can confirm that this little purple bottle did not dissapoint. It is truly incredible.
 
So what is it, I hear you ask?! Well... it's from US salon brand 'It's a 10' which I had never heard of before, but a quick bit of research tells me that it's a line designed to take a lot of the fuss out of hairstyling. All 10 of the products in their line have 10 different benefits for the hair. They are all easy to use and a lot of them are also multi-purpose.
 
This little gem promises to:
1. Repair dry, damaged hair
2. Add shine
3. Detangle
4. Control frizz
5. Seal & protect hair colour
6. Prevent split ends
7.Create silkiness
8. enhance natural body
9. Take the place of your regular heat protectant
 
A bold list of claims! But I can tell you that it seriously delivers! This is the best little product I've used in a long time. I would thoroughly recommend it for those with thick, knotty, colour-treated, or just plain unruly hair. I swear, it works wonders!
 
There are however, a couple of quibbles I have with this product. The first being how difficult it is to get your hands on if you live outside of the US. As far as I can tell, the line is only stocked in US Salons. You can pick it up on Amazon for around $14, but they'll charge you another $14 to deliver it outside of the US.
 
My second quibble is that, if you are actually based in the US and looking for a salon, there is a Salon Locator on their website, but it only lets you search by state, not zip code, and then lists the salons in alphabetical order by salon name, so it could take you all day to find your local one!
 
Either way, the product is that good, I'll definitely be hunting some down when I'm in the US in November... I'll be sure to get some extras for a giveaway if I can - this stuff needs to be shared... it's just so good!
 
Have any of you tried this products? If you know of an easier way to get your hands on it in the UK, please let me know!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Exaltée

I know my blog has been a little heavy on the Chanel front recently, so if you're not a fan of the old CC's then click away, buuuuut... I posted about the new shades of the Rouge Allure Lipsticks a few weeks ago, and while passing my local Chanel counter this weekend, I just had to stop and have a peek.
While I was tempted to come away with more than one shade, I exercised restraint (I must admit it was hard!) and chose only one. It was the shade that caught my eye in the promo images: Exaltée (93)
A gorgeous fuchsia pink. I have to admit I'm a total sucker for fuchsia, there's just something about it that I absolutely love. Having said that, some Fuchsias can look a little too much, but (for me at least) this is the perfect middle ground between sophistication and fun.
The new formulation of the Rouge Allures is amazing too. It's nice and moisturising, without being slippy or looking too glossy. It looks like a 'proper' lipstick, but has a hint of balm texture to it. The staying power is good, probably a hairline above average for this type of formulation.

The lovely packaging is the same as the old formulation. As far as I can tell, the only difference is on the moisture front.

Overall, I adore this colour. I love Chanel lipsticks in general, I think they are such a gorgeous luxury item to own. As much as i love my Rouge Coco Shine in Boy, this may have taken over it's spot as my No.1 luxury lipstick.

I don't think I'll be purchasing any other shades (for a while at least!) as they are heavy on the wallet at £25, but I'm certainly happy with my purchase.
What do you think? Have any of the new Rouge Allure shades caught your eye? You can pick these up at your local Chanel counter now, or online here.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Review: REN Glycolactic Mask

I've never tried anything from 'Clean Skincare' brand REN before, although it has come highly recommended from lots of other bloggers. I love to treat my skin to a face mask at the weekend to freshen up and have a bit of a pamper session. This weekend my mum joined me in road testing Ren's Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask. It's an exfoliating mask formulated with four types of acid, that promises to leave your skin looking radiant, and dramatically improving your skin tone and texture. It's recommended as a fantastic treatment for congested, mature or acne-scarred skin, but is suitable for all skin types (except very sensitive) and promises to leave your skin glowing.

Ren's packaging is very clean and clinical. Their products are expensive (this mask is sold for £30 for 50ml) but not necessarily luxury. I don't mind this when it comes to skincare. As much as lovely packaging looks nice on your dressing table, it's what's inside that counts.

The product itself is golden honey-like in both it's colour and texture. It spreads over the skin smoothly, and feels almost like an oil cleanser.

The instructions tell you to leave it for 10 minutes, and say that it might sting a little. Neither of us experienced a stinging or tingling, but the scent of the mask is absolutely heavenly. To me it smells like fresh orange blossom. The ingredient list boasts passionfruit, grape, pineapple and lemon extracts and I have a feeling that may have something to do with the scent. Either way - it's absolutely divine.

After 10 minutes, you remove the mask using the cloth supplied with the product. The mask left my skin feeling super smooth and simply glowing. I can honestly say I think this is the best face mask I've ever used (a bold claim, I know!) Not many face masks give such noticeable instant results, so I was highly impressed with this. I had a sample size of their radiance perfection serum too, and used this in conjunction with this mask, that was fantastic too.
Here's mums review: "Lovely" (after pestering her for a more insightful summary) "It's made my skin feel really soft and smooth, and it definitely looks brighter! Can't see any difference with the wrinkles though - what a shame! Haha. I'd definitely use it again, and I don't normally use face masks, oh and I like the pump thing!"

I'm seriously impressed by my first experience with REN, and will definitely be looking in to more of their products in the future. You can pick them up in John Lewis, Liberties, Selfridges, and online here.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Bahama Mama

After having my eyes set on Chanel's new limited edition burgundy nail polish in Provocation, from their new Twin-Sets collection, but being a little disappointed when I saw it in person this week (see my previous post if you don't know what I'm talking about!) I decided to treat myself to an Essie nail polish that I've had my eyes on for a while. It's a very similar shade to the Chanel, but a little nicer in my opinion, and quite a bit lighter on the wallet!
It's Bahama Mama. A gorgeous deep red/purple burgundy shade that, in my opinion is just perfect for autumn, and the exact shade I had in mind when I was eyeing up the Chanel variant online.
This is only my fourth Essie polish, and I have to say they formulation is better than any of their other shades I own. It's thick enough to give great opaque coverage in one coat, but not too thick. 
The wide brush makes it super quick and easy to apply and it has a smooth, glossy finish. You can leave it at one coat, but two deepens the gorgeous shade. Amazing. I have a feeling this will be my polish of choice for the season.
Essie polishes are available from larger Boots stores in the UK, or online here priced at £7.99.

What do you think? What's your favourite Essie polish?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Quick Swatch: Chanel Les Twin-Sets de Chanel Collection

Last week Chanel released a limited edition trio of twin-set lip and nail colours in celebration of Vogue's Fashion Night Out. I instagram-ed a picture of the collection immediately after seeing it as I thought the shades (especially the darker set!) were perfect for A/W.
I tried to drop in to Chanel Bond Street on VFNO last Thursday to get a glimpse of the collection in person (and to have a good old swatch!) but there was a ridiculous queue to get in so I abandoned the cause!

I did however, manage to get a quick look at the collection yesterday in Chanel's Covent Garden pop-up store (which, on a side note, is fabulous!)
The photos aren't great as I was in a bit of a hurry and only had my iPhone on me, but have to say, the collection wasn't as lovely in person as I had hoped. (also part of the reason I didn't take more in-depth pictures!)
The lip shades just weren't quite there for me (to spend £25 on at least) Although the formulation of the Rouge Allure Velvet lipsticks is beautiful!

The darker shade I had my eye on for both the lips and nails (Provocation) was actually a lot more purple than the plum I was hoping for, The medium pink (Infidele) wasn't quite 'special' enough, and the nude nail polish (Delicatesse) was a little too orange-toned for me. Surprisingly, I liked the nude lipstick the most (which I expected to like least!) 

So all in all, a little disappointing... I didn't end up buying anything from this collection. Fingers crossed, the new Rouge Allure shades don't disappoint when they arrive on counter tomorrow! 

What do you think of the Twin-Sets collection? Do you like any of the shades? 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Review: AreaH2O Shampoo & Conditioner

I was really intrigued to hear about AreaH2O, a new brand of hair care that is tailored to the water type in your area (in case you weren't aware, water is categorized into 'soft' 'medium' and 'hard' depending on the type and amount of minerals deposits it contains. You water type depends on your area, and the packaging if this product has a helpful map on the back if youre unsure a out your water type) There are a few other similar products out there on the market, but this is the first of its kind that I've tried.

I live in a hard water area, so shampoos and soaps often fail to lather effectively, so I was intrigued to see what this shampoo could do for my hair.


The shampoo itself smells amazing: very fresh. It actually reminds me of a mixture or cucumber and grass (sounds odd, but it's actually quite nice!)


After washing my hair, it left it feeling quite 'squeaky clean' and not smooth to the touch. Followed by the balm-like conditioner (which said you only need a small amount, I felt like I needed quite a lot to coat my hair!) it definitely left it feeling a little stripped.


Without using a leave in conditioner, it's an absolute nightmare to detangle, but with a few sprays of my trusty unite 7 seconds, it's not a problem. So when wet, it's not really a luxurious, or particularly pleasant product to use (apart from the smell!) but once dry, it's a different story. 


The products left my hair feeling soft and smooth, but lightweight with lots of body. I really love the result, but I'm not sure it's really that different to using my normal shampoos and conditioners. I'll definitely finish these, and enjoy using them, but I don't think I'll be repurchasing.


Have any of you tried hair products tailored to your water type?


You can pick up AreaH2O now, from lookfantastic.com, £9.95 each.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Fragrance Friday: Alien Essence Absolue

Thierry Mugler is one of those love-hate brands for me. I wore Angel religiously in my teens, and adored it, but it's simply too much for me now. It seems that their second most famous scent 'Alien' has had the opposite effect on me... I hated it when I used to wear Angel, but more recently it has started to grow on me and when I smelt the new version of the fragrance, I found I actually really like it.
The new Alien Absolue Essence is a slightly sweeter version of the original, with added notes of vanilla and amber. To me it is a lot easier to wear than the original and lasts (literally!) all day on my skin. As usual with Mugler's perfumes, two sprays and you're good-to-go for the whole day. This is one thing that I love about the brand, as I find it increasingly hard to find fragrances that don't disappear within two hours. If you're looking for a scent with serious staying power and you like gourmand fragrances, this is for you!
You can pick up the new Alien Absolue Essence now from all major department stores (It's a permanent addition to the Thierry Mugler family). The 30ml and 60ml refillable bottles are priced at £52 and £69 respectively.

The Original Alien

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

New Chanel Lipstick Loveliness!

I'm absolutely in love with this image of the new Chanel Rouge Allure Lipsticks. There are 16 new shades being added to the collection, available from 14th September.
Swoon!

I currently only own one Rouge Allure lipstick. It's 'Famous' from Chanel's Christmas 2011 collection, and it's quite definitely my most favourite red lipstick. The formula is lovely too, so I'm eager to take a look at these when they hit counters.

I've got my eyes on a few of the new shades from this collection, namely the three pink shades (91 Seduisante, 93 Exaltee and 94 Extatique)

I'm also loving the look of the three nail polishes Chanel have brought out for A/W 2012. I'm not sure if it's the way they look together, but something about these just draws me in.

I'll definitely be making a beeline for the Chanel counter next time I'm shopping!

Do you own any Rouge Allure Lipsticks? Do any of these new shades catch your eye?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Vaseline Pink Bubbly!

You may have seen my post a few weeks ago about the luxurious new Limited Edition Vaseline lip flavour?

Well it is my pleasure to be able to announce to you all that the long-awaited mystery flavour is...

PINK BUBBLY!
Well done to those of you who guessed correctly in the comments of my last post... An utterly decadent choice for the brand, I'm sure you'll agree?! I love these Limited Edition tins, a very exciting addition to the range!
I've had the chance to try out the new flavour this week and it is even more delicious than I expected. It has a distinct fruity flavour to it with a light pink tint. It actually contains champagne grape extract! The packaging is suitably gorgeous and champagne-themed!

Vaseline is such a diverse product, you can use it for a whole range of things, but seeing as this Limited Edition is the most luxurious that we've seen from the brand, they've asked me to share my top 3 tips for how to use Vaseline Pink Bubbly to create the perfect 'Pink Carpet Pout'

1.    To prep the lips - If you want to wear a dramatic lip shade, it is essential to prepare your lips beforehand to ensure they don't dry out or flake. Pop on a bit of Vaseline Pink Bubbly before you start doing your makeup. After you've finished, wipe off any excess product before you apply your lip colour. This will leave your lips smooth and hydrated, ready for your bold lip shade.
2.  As a gloss - if the matte look is a bit much for you, slick a little Vaseline Pink Bubbly over the top of your favourite lipstick to create a super glossy finish that tastes divine!
3.  As a tinted balm - If you don't want to go for full-on colour, mix a tiny bit of your favourite bright lip shade with your Vaseline Pink Bubbly to create a subtle but gorgeous tinted gloss that looks perfect with a classic smokey eye.
And there you have it... Three different looks, all thanks to new Limited Edition Vaseline Pink Bubbly! What are your thoughts on Pink Bubbly and what Limited Edition flavour would you like to see next from Vaseline?

The new limited edition flavour is available from tomorrow, 5thSeptember, exclusively at Selfridges for £3.49. For more information visit www.facebook.com/Vaseline

*This post is sponsored by Vaseline

Monday, September 3, 2012

Shipwrecked

I'm loving this lime-pastel nail polish in 'Shipwrecked' that I picked up from Leighton Denny last week. It's from Leighton's Spring 2012 collection, so I'm a little late on the uptake here, but it's totally different to any other shade I own (which is saying something... I've got a lot of nail polish!)
It's given me a second wind for spring and summer colours... Who says September is the end of summer?! I'll be rocking this well into the autumn!
It's a creamy formulation that is opaque in two coats, lasts about four days on me without chipping (my average) and is currently on sale for £8.80 from feelunique.com. Love it!

What do you think? Would you wear this shade?