Friday, May 31, 2013

Fragrance Friday: Carven Le Parfum


I have to admit, I’m rather fickle when it comes to perfumes. I currently have about 15 bottles on the go and switch daily. I do tend to have a ‘type’ though… fruity, sweet and sometimes embarrassingly unsophisticated. Which is why the fragrance I want to tell you about today really took me by surprise.
It’s Carven’s new ‘Le Parfum’. It’s a clean-cut scent, in a clean-cut bottle, from an uber-sophisticated brand. It’s everything I normally don’t like in a fragrance: floral, fresh, even slightly soapy… but surprisingly… 

I love it.

It’s one of those scents that you can’t stop smelling when you’re wearing it. Feminine and ethereal are words that come into mind when thinking about this scent. 
The almost exclusively floral notes of mandarin blossom, white hyacinth, apricot, sweet pea, jasmine, ylang-ylang, patchouli, sandalwood and osmanthus somehow combine to create a totally non-sickly scent that is utterly sophisticated yet instantly likeable. It’s a close contender for my wedding fragrance.
Carven’s ‘Le Parfum’ is available now, exclusively from Harrods and Harrods.com, and nationwide from 5thJune. Prices start at £38 for 30ml Eau de Parfum.

Have any of you smelt this already? Thoughts?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Nest Moroccan Amber Candle


My lovely friend Tati (otherwise known as GlamLifeGuru on YouTube, if you don’t already watch her fabulous videos, I would recommend that you do!) kindly sent me a wonderful box of housewarming goodies this week. Part of which was this beautiful ‘Moroccan Amber’ candle from Nest.
I’m the first to admit, I’m super fussy when it comes to scented candles. If they don’t kick out the scent sufficiently, they are swiftly banished to the guest bedroom or bathroom and labeled as aesthetic-only, never to be burnt again.

But for this little beauty, that was not the case...


The scent of warm, creamy amber and sweet patchouli radiated from the whole package when I opened it (which has got to be a good sign, right?!) When lit, it didn’t disappoint and filled my office with it’s beautiful fragrance within about 5 minutes of lighting.
I immediately went online to find out more about this brand, which I hadn’t heard of before. The good news is, they have a nice selection of other scents (Hello Fig & Honey, Moss & Mint, Pumkin Chai and Wasabi Pear!) and they do sell them in the UK! You can pick up this scent, along with a selection of others from the brand, from John Lewis. They are £29 each, so quite hefty on the price front, but make beautiful gifts and have an impressive 60 hour burn time. I’m obsessed already.

Have any of you tried any products from Nest? I'd love to hear what you think!

*UPDATE - I believe John Lewis have now stopped stocking NEST (shocker!)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Top 10 Tips for Using Coloured Hair Powders

I have been somewhat obsessed with dying my hair bright pink and purple since the age of 16, when I had stripes of each running through my shoulder length blonde hair, and had to tuck it behind my ears when I was at school to avoid the teachers spotting it…
Since then it’s seen a few ups and downs in popularity, but I’ve honestly never seen quite as many people with different colours in their hair as in the last six months...


And it’s never been easier to play with colour. I became a little obsessed with Kevin Murphy’s Colour Bugs about 18 months ago, and the arrival of Anastasia’s Hyper Colour Brow & Hair Powders has tickled my interest again. They come in 5 different colours. I'm especially happy they included a gorgeous teal (I would have perhaps liked to have seen a bright yellow in place of the acid green... but each to their own!)

You’ve all most likely seen the trends and results before… but here my top 10 tips when using these dusty little pots of neon-goodness:

  1. Wear dark clothing. No matter which brand I use, you always get a little fallout with these products, even after application. These versions are much better than the Colour Bugs in my opinion, but you still don’t want to be wearing white.
  1. Use leave in conditioner underneath the colour. Just a little bit. It’ll help the colour stick to your hair and not your forehead/clothes/fingers. 
  1. Set the colour with Hairspray
  1. If you want streaks, always add the colour underneath your top layer of hair. This helps to blend it in better.

  1. Style your hair first. After putting the colour in you get a very heavy, powdered-texture which is hard to brush through and style. Brushing will also remove some of the colour. (And it will stick to your hairbrush, never good!)
  1. Use a clarifiying shampoo to remove it. Two washes should get it all out with no problem at all.

  1. Don’t worry if you have darker hair… These work on any hair colour!
  1. Cover your surfaces. I would recommend applying these in the bathroom… away from walls, carpet or curtains. They can be a little messy!

  1. Wash your hair before bedtime! They shouldn’t stain your pillows, but the colour will transfer.
  1. Do it with a friend. I always find applying colour into someone else’s hair, and having someone apply it in to yours is often better, as you can see it from different angles and get a better idea of the finished result. 
So there you have it guys… Happy rainbow hair!

What do you guys think of these neon hair powders? Is it a look you’d wear?

You can pick up Anastasia's Brow & Hair Powders now from CultBeauty.co.uk, priced at £10 each.

*I don't own the images of other people's hair. I pulled these from Tumblr - If anyone requires photo credit, please let me know and I will be happy to include it*

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tried & Tested: YSL Babydoll Mascara

I was so excited to hear about the release of YSL’s Babydoll mascara. I’m a loyal, long term YSL mascara-lover and was keen to see how the brand planned to improve on their already wonderful Effet Faux Cils and Shocking mascaras.
Babydoll is housed in the same iconic gold tube, with an added pink ‘Babydoll’ scrawl. The brush is a chunky rubber one, with the head at a slight angle. Apparently it holds two patents and is a revolutionary mix of wide-set bristles intermixed with finer ones to achieve superior definition, but to be honest, the proof is in the pudding when it comes to mascara...

Application, as usual with these super-volumising formulas, is a tiny bit messy if you like to ensure every single lash gets a coating, but it's definitely a little more precise than my other YSL mascaras, as the wand is as smaller.
As for the results… I have to admit I was a slightly disappointed at first try. It took me a couple of times to get to grips with it, but after about 3 uses I really love it. If pushed I would have to say I do prefer the original Effet Faux Cils and even more so the Shocking version, as I personally love a slightly clumpier look to my lashes, but this does leave you with gorgeous, fluttery looking lashes. 
I also think it might be my personal preference for traditional mascara wands rather than rubber ones, so if you like rubber wands, and find the other YSL mascaras too clumpy, then this is definitely the one for you. As you can see, the results are pretty stunning, and a little neater than the others.

You can pick up Babydoll now, priced at £24.50. They also have a few different colours as part of the collection, along with some stunning liquid liners and a lip and nail colour to match, so it’s worth taking a swing by your local YSL counter to take a peek if you're a fan of the brand.

What do you guys think? Do you like the look of the new Babydoll mascara, or prefer the more dramatic look of YSL's Shocking?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Maybelline 'The Eraser' Concealer Review

I was really intrigued when this little tube shot through my letterbox this week. I absolutely hated Maybelline’s ‘ The Eraser’ foundation (greasy and awkard to apply!) but I do however, adore their other concealers, especially the Dream Lumi Touch one (fabulous for under eye circles. If you haven’t tried it, I would highly recommend that you do!)


So needless to say I was interested to see what this would be like...
I really like the packaging. It looks like a dinky little version of the foundation, and feels solid and nice quality. It took about 100 clicks to get the product going as usual with these types of thing… but after it got flowing the level of product it releases with each click seems good.

As for the applicator... 



I know I won’t be alone in detesting it at first sight due to the hygiene aspect (or lack of it!) That aside, it does actually work quite nicely for the undereye area (unlike the foundation version).
The consistency is incredibly light, it almost feels like nothing is on the skin, yet the coverage is pretty decent. I definitely noticed a brightening effect too. It does tend to sit on the skin a little though, so I would recommend blending it in gently with your ring finger for a more even finish.
Wear time was pretty average (I usually re-apply my concealer a couple of times throughout the day regardless of the brand I’m using). 

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by this. Compared to the foundation version, it’s a complete gem. Compared to the Dream Lumi Touch concealer however… it’s not as good, and a pound more expensive! So if you are tempted by a Maybelline concealer, I would definitely recommend that one over this. If you are always on the go and want something that applies quickly and covers evenly while feeling ultra light-weight on the skin, then this may be the one for you.

You can pick up Maybelline’s ‘The Eraser’ Perfect & Cover concealer now (although I think it’s a little hard to find at the moment, it is available in some stores but I imagine in a few weeks time it will be everywhere!) priced at £7.99.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A (Busy) Week in Beauty Products...


OK guys… so I haven’t put up a new blog post for almost 10 days **slaps self on wrist** but there is a good reason, I promise!

I’ve actually been moving house this week (well, technically we moved over the weekend, but it’s taken a whole week to get everything straightened out enough for normal programming to commence!) Anyways… I hope you’ll all forgive me?!

I’m back today to share a few beauty bits that I’ve been loving this week, during the stressful and grueling task of moving house, these products have really helped me through…
First of all and most essential, is a decent hand cream. I’ve never ‘properly’ moved house before (in-between uni and home etc doesn’t really count, as you’re not moving the whole house!) and I didn’t realise quite how badly all the dust and handling cardboard boxes dries your hands out! I’ve been using my gorgeous...


Mor Lychee Flower hand cream to fight off that horrible dryness and it’s been working a treat!
I’ve also noticed a turn for the worst in my skin on my face too. It’s probably a tiny bit due to stress, but I’m 100% convinced it’s mainly the dust that does it… uncovering untold havens of grime you never knew were there (hello, behind the tumble dryer!? YUK!) 
Anyway, to help get my skin back on track, I’ve been using a mixture of my new Ole Henriksen rose hip oil(which he calls Pure Youth Activating Oil but it’s pretty much just rose hip oil with a few added vitamins!) along with a couple of face-ful’s of Borghese Fango Delicate mud mask to keep those blackheads at bay (which, may I add, isn’t quite as good as the original, but I’ve run out, so it’ll have to do! And it’s ok for my whole face rather than just my T-zone which is a plus!)
Lastly, I’ve been using Weleda’s cult ‘Skin Food’ as my nighttime moisturiser to help cut through the dusty-dryness and I’ve fallen totally in love with it. 
It’s one of those products I’ve had a sample of for ages and never really been bothered about trying it… but it’s really wonderful if you have dry skin. You can use it anywhere on the body too, so it’s great for elbows and knees etc.
The final product I’ve found to be a total godsend this week is my This Works Stress Less Deep Sleep roll-on. It’s a blend of essential oils designed to help you sleep. Even though we’ve been going to bed at around 1am every night feeling utterly exhausted, I always find it hard to sleep in new places, and this has been really helping me to relax. I’m not normally a huge fan of these type of things, but I think feeling overly tired, mixed with the excitement of a new home calls for such measures! ;P I love it anyway.

Normal blogging will commence as of tomorrow. I just wanted to say hello and share a few bits and pieces with you. I hope you’re all having a lovely week!

Fleur xo

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Cream of The Beauty Crop...

Today I thought I would share some of my favourite cream beauty products and my favourite ways to apply them. I adore cream products, regardless of season and shade so today I've done my whole makeup look using some of my favourite cream beauty bits and my favourite brushes.

Synthetic brushes are much better for applying cream products than natural bristles, as they don't absorb the product into the hair surface as much. They also tend to be more hygienic as each synthetic hair shaft is smooth, whereas natural hair shafts are uneven and can collect product (and grow bacteria!) While some synthetic brushes can be stiff and hard to work with, I love the Crown brush Syntho range because the brushes are just so soft and flexible, you get the best of both worlds.

So what's on my face today?



First of all I applied my Illamasqua primer. I actually like to apply this with my fingers to get a smooth finish (it's much quicker that way too)

Next I used Crown's Syntho Precision Powder brush to apply my Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua cream foundation. Even though this is marketed as a bronzer brush, I love using it for cream and liquid foundation, as it allows you to really buff the product into the skin, easily achieving a flawless finish.

I also used the Crown Syntho DLX Blending Crease brush to apply my Make Up For Ever concealer, mixing colours from my palette to achieve the perfect shades for different parts of my face. I love using fluffy blending brushes for applying concealer, as I find they easily work the product into the skin, without moving the product around too much, and lowering the coverage (as is often the case if you use your fingers)

I applied a little bit of Illamasqua's Gleam cream highlighter in Aurora (again with my fingers, as that's how I like it!)

Followed by my NYX Cream blush in Glow using my Crown Syntho Precision Powder brush. This brush is actually my favourite little discovery from the Crown Syntho range, as I normally apply cream blusher with my fingers, but this brush works absolute wonders with cream blush, I can't get enough of it.


For eyes, I just blended a tiny bit of my Make Up Forever Aqua Cream in 13 on to my eyelids with my Syntho Angle Shader brush, followed by a tiny bit of Bobbi Brown's gel eyeliner in Espresso using my tiny little Chisel Shader brush.
This brush is another little gem. I have really round eyes, and find gel and liquid eyeliner tricky sometimes, this brush is perfect for lining the lower lash line, which I find to be more flattering for my eye shape.


Last but not least... I finished the look with my L'Oreal Shocking Extensions Mascara and a little bit of Revlon's Lip Butter in Lollipop and voila!


My a complete look with some of my favourite creme products!

You can pick up all of the brushes shown in this post from the Crown Brush website, what's even better is that prices start at £4.49 (for the Chisel Shader).

I'd love to know what you guys think! What are your favourite cream products, and tools for applying them?

* This post is sponsored by Crown Brush UK

Friday, May 10, 2013

Fishwife

I bought this gorgeous butter London polish while I was in New York last month. It's called 'Fishwife'. Not the most attractive name, but the shade is a real grower.
It's holographic, so naturally I was instantly attracted to it anyway, but the shade of pale seafoam green is really unusual anyway, and mixed with a hint of holo, I think it makes it a really interesting colour, and perfect for spring, but not your a-typical mint green...




This kind of shade is the reason I love butter London polishes. The brand really makes an effort to be unique and create original shades.


I picked this up in Henry Bendel (possibly my favourite shop in the world!) but you can pick them up from the Butter London Website, and some larger Boots stores in the UK, for £10 ($15 in the US)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Beauty Jelly: Astalift vs. Illamasqua?

When I clapped eyes on the new Hydra Veil from Illamasqua's summer collection, I instantly thought of Astalift's cult 'Aquarysta' product. They are uncannily similar in texture, but how do they actually compare? Is the Illamasqua really a cheaper alternative?


When I first discovered Aquarytsa's highly unusual formula not too long ago, I was totally taken in by it; a clear jelly that applies a little like a serum, cooling the skin and resurfacing it to leave you a with super-soft, smoothed complexion.



There is no denying that on first impression, Illamasqua's Hydra Veil is almost identical, the colour and scent are the only noticeable differences. Even when applied, they feel the same, and leave the same smooth texture and instant hydration-boost to the skin after absorption (as well as both returning to perfect, clear jelly after being thoroughly mixed up! See pictures below.)


But don't let the aesthetics fool you... there is actually a big difference in what these products claim to do. While Astalift claims to fight the signs of ageing, even skin tone and add long term hydration to the skin, Illamasqua designed Hydra Veil specifically as a 'Cosmetic Care' product, rather than Skin Care (which they don't currently make). They actually don't claim that the product offers any long term skin benefits at all. It is meant to be merely a quick fix, instant-effect product that hydrates and primes the skin ready for foundation.


If you take a peek at the ingredient list, Aquarysta contains a blend of Ceramides and Collagen, along with an interesting bit of background research, conducted by the brand's owner FujiFilm, on how and why the product is effective.

So while Aquarysta might be twice the price at £69 for 40ml, compared to £27 for 30ml there is a reason for this. Having said that... I've been using Aquarysta for about 3 weeks now and haven't noticed a big different in my skin. It does also contain parabens, while Hydra Veil doesn't, and if you are simply looking for that quick fix, and want a fantastic primer for dry or dehydrated skin, then I would recommend going with the Illamasqua.

Either way, both products are a really interesting, unique texture that I would recommend experiencing for yourselves next time you pass by an Illamasqua counter, or an Astalift retailer.

You can buy Astalift from CultBeauty.co.uk, and Illamasqua from Debenhams.

What do you think guys? Have any of you tried these products? If not, do you like the idea of them?