Thursday, October 31, 2013

L'Oreal Eau De Teint Foundation - Armani Maestro Dupe

Last year, I reviewed Armani's latest high-tech foundation, 'Maestro'. For those of you not-in-the-know, L'Oreal own Giorgio Armani Beauty (along with YSL, Essie, Lancome, Maybelline etc) usually, high street dupes of their high-end bestsellers tend to hit the market a few months after their expensive counterparts (previous examples include YSL Touche Eclat vs. Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch and Armani's Eyes To Kill Intense Eye Shadows vs. L'Oreal's Infallible ones) and unless my eyes deceive me, L'Oreal's new Eau De Teint is almost identical to Armani's Maestro foundation.

Now, I didn't give Maestro a totally glowing review. I liked it a lot, but it's very dependant on your skin type, and most suited to those with almost-perfect skin in the first place. You can read my full review here, but I have to admit, with the hefty £38 price tag almost quartered to £9.99, it makes this foundation a whole lot more appealing, especially as an everyday base...

Left: Armani, Right: L'Oreal. Different shades, but identical formulation.

Before and After makeup using L'Oreal Eau De Teint (no filters)
There are only a couple of differences between the two...

The L'Oreal version comes in a teeny tiny 20ml glass bottle that has no pump. Not the most user-friendly or hygienic but it's passable, and very portable!

The shade selection is also smaller for the L'Oreal version (6 shades compared to 12), but if they have a shade to suit you then I'd recommend checking this out!

If you have normal-combination skin and are looking for a light coverage, ultra-natural foundation then I couldn't recommend this more. It's an absolute bargain by all accounts, and it looks great as a daytime base. See my review of the Armani version here.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Review: Dove 'Style+Care' Dry Shampoo & Heat Protectant

Last week I told you about the new line of styling products from Dove. I've been trying them out for the past few days and wanted to give you a quick review of two products from the line.

The first is the Dove Style+Care Heat Protect Spray, which protects hair up to 230C. Heat protectant is one of those products that you can't really 'see' working... so you just have to trust it's doing it's job in the long-run...

There are a couple of things however, that (in my humble opinion) determine a great heat protectant from a bad one. Firstly, it should be undetectable in the hair once you've styled it, not sticky. Secondly it should help hold your style in place throughout the day, and thirdly, it should smell great (always a bonus, right?!). The Dove Heat Protect spray does all of these beautifully. I've really enjoyed using it and it feels weightless in my hair. I've almost run out of my Tresemme version and I definitely prefer the scent of this one, so it'll happily take it's place.

The second product from the line I'm going to be reviewing in this post is the Dove Refresh+Care Dry Shampoo. Now, I have a very sensitive, dry scalp, so dry shampoos usually send me running in the opposite direction. However, when I went in to try out the line with Dove's celebrity hair ambassador, Christian Wood, he told me he best likes to use dry shampoo for creating texture in the mid lengths and ends of the hair, not to combat grease at the roots. He used this in my hair and it looked great, helped my style last longer, but even better... it didn't irritate my scalp at all as it never came into contact with it! If you like to use dry shampoo to refresh your hair too, this one contains less starch than comes in normal dry shampoos so it doesn't look and feel too chalky. Coming from someone who is very wary of dry shampoo... this is a good one. It actually has a similar effect to using a texturising spray that I like from Oribe, which has a price tag of almost 10x the price, so I'll definitely be using this to create my beachy waves in the future (and saving myself a pretty penny while doing so!)

So far I've been very impressed by Dove's new Style+Care styling range, especially considering how affordable the products are. I'm going to be reviewing the two serums here on Friday, once I've had the chance to give them a full test drive so watch this space!

The Dove Style+Care styling range is available now in stores and online here, RRP £4.49*

*Retailers have the right to change the price at any point without notice. 
A big thanks to Dove for sponsoring this post and introducing me to the line. 
All opinions are my own.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Marc Jacobs 'The Lolita' Palette

Earlier this week I reviewed the heavily-hyped Genius Gel Foundation from the new Marc Jacobs makeup line. The other product that I picked up from the collection was this gorgeous 'The Lolita' Style Eye-Con palette.

There are 4 different palettes in the line, but The Lolita is the one that really stood out to me, as it contains seven perfect, warm-toned neutral shades. I also wanted to get this palette, as it was the one that my friend Tati used to do my eye makeup on my wedding day...

The colour selection contains three mattes and four shimmers, all of which are beautiful and very wearable. The formula of the shadows is wonderful. They are soft and blend better than any others I've tried. These shadows really are incredible. They are easy to work with, and the combination of colours makes the palette very versatile for daytime or evening use. The central shade is quite high on the glitter front, so is great for a night-out look (but beware of fallout!).

The one criticism I have of the shade choice is the lack of a darker medium-brown shade. There is a very dark matte brown, and a paler brown, but I think the palette would have been slightly improved by the inclusion of a colour similar to MAC's Twinks.
My wedding makeup using MJ's 'The Lolita' Palette

The packaging of the palette, as with the entire Marc Jacobs line, is stunning. With a nice big mirror, snap closure and raised lettering on the front. The price however, reflects this at $59, but I have used this almost every day since I bought it three weeks ago and can't see that changing anytime soon. This palette is gorgeous and if you're looking to invest in the perfect everyday palette, This would be top of my list of recommendations!

Have any of you tried the Marc Jacobs makeup?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Dove Style+Care

The lovely people over at Dove hair care invited me to have my hair styled by their ambassador and celebrity hair stylist Christian Wood yesterday. With his previous client list looking like a who's who of the Hollywood A list (Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry & Olivia Wilde to name just a few) It would have been a crime to say no, right?!

So I popped along to a beautiful suite in the Soho Hotel and Christian worked his magic on my hair using Dove's new Style+Care range. The end result?

This beautiful, beachy look complete with a pretty side braid. I'm going to be testing out the products myself this week and letting you know how I get on (after all, I'm obviously not as handy with a curling tong as Christian is!)

The lineup of four products in the Style+ Care range includes the Refresh+Care Dry Shampoo, Heat Protect Spray and TWO serums: the Frizz-Free Shine Cream Serum and the Nourishing Dry Ends Serum. As a girl with long, dry hair, I'm loving the concept of a styling range that focuses on caring for and nourishing your hair as well as creating a great style. Dove's key message with this line is that caring for your hair makes your style last longer. I'm personally not one for a lot of mousse or hairspray, so I'm excited to see how these products perform. On very first impression, I can report that all of the products smell amazing (apparently Dove uses top fragrance houses to help them make their products smell divine), but watch this space for more in-depth reviews!

A huge thank you to Dove who invited me along to try out their new range, which is available in Boots now, RRP* £4.49 each.

Post sponsored by Dove. All opinions are my own. 
*retail prices are subject to change by the retailer at any time

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Marc Jacobs Genius Gel Foundation

I'd heard so many good things about the new Marc Jacobs makeup line, I couldn't wait to try out a few things when I visited the US earlier this month. I picked up a couple of things from the line, but the product I was most excited to try, and had heard simply amazing things about, was the Genius Gel Foundation.

It's a Gel formula foundation that comes in an impressive 16 shades...
I went for Medium Bisque and it's a good match for my skin. The packaging of the whole line, especially the foundation, is very impressive. It's a heavy glass bottle and the design is very unique. It feels expensive (which it is, at $48!)

The Gel formula is quite unique as well, it's somehow thick, but still quite runny. It applies nicely to the skin. Personally I am yet to find a favourite way to apply this. I've tried a number of different brushes, a sponge and my fingers, and it doesn't seem to make much difference which I use.

The coverage is light-medium, but it is also build-able so you can build it up to a medium-high coverage. Personally, I'd rather use a higher coverage foundation when I want full coverage, as using a lot of this product does show on the skin (like any product, you don't want to be caking it on!) The finish is very natural, slightly glowy but not shiny. The formula feels lovely and comfortable on the skin, nice and hydrating.
The wear time is about average, with powder and concealer touch ups, it'll last you a full day. I think it is best suited to normal-combination skins. Anyone overly oily or dry might have issues with it, but personally it suited my skin down to a T.

Overall, this foundation is really nice, and is a lovely choice for everyday wear. It's undeniable that it looks good on the skin (I've had lots of compliments when I've been wearing it in my recent videos) and I have been nothing but happy with it's performance... yet something about it leaves me a little unsure.

It's really nice, but just not amazing. I don't think it does anything really extra special for my skin. I find myself reaching for my Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua and Shiseido foundations over this. I'll certainly use it and enjoy it, but I don't think I would buy it again. Having said that, I know people who swear by this, so it's worth a try if you can get a sample, but definitely try this before you buy! If I had, I'm not sure I would have splashed out $48 for it!

You can see the foundation in action in this video:

*Keep your eyes peeled for another MJ makeup review coming soon - The other product I picked up is an absolute gem!*

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Allegiant by Veronica Roth - Giveaway!

Today's the day guys!  'Allegiant', the third and final book in the Divergent series by Veronica Roth, goes on sale! I am such a huge fan of the first two books, I can't wait to read the third one! 
If you haven't read Divergent or Insurgent, and are a fan of books like The Hunger Games and Maze Runner, then I'm pretty sure you would love the series
(It's my personal favourite of them all!) It's set in a futuristic, dystopian version of Chicago, where society is divided into five different 'factions' based on an individual's pre-disposition for one of humanity's key virtues: Abnegation (selflessness), Amity (kindness), Candor (honesty), Dauntless (bravery) and Erudite (intelligence). The story is centered around Tris Prior, who is 'Divergent' (suited to more than one faction), and her struggle to uncover the truth behind the unnatural society she has been born into.

If you're also a fan of the series and fancy winning a copy of the new book, the lovely people over at Harper Collins are giving 20 of my readers the chance to do just that!

I have 20 hardcover copies of the book to give away... All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning one is:

1. Be a follower of my blog.
2. Write a comment telling me what you like about the Divergent series.
3. Don't forget to include your email address or Twitter handle so that we can notify you if you win!

Good luck guys! If you don't want to wait and take your chances of winning one of the free copies, Allegiant is in shops now, and for sale online here.

T's & C's: This giveaway is open for ONE WEEK (closes Midnight GMT Tuesday 29th October). It is open internationally. You can enter once per account, per day. If you are under 18 please ask permission of your parent or guardian before entering. The 20 winners will be chosen at random from the comment entries.

PS: If you're into Tumblr, Harper Collins have made a cool theme that you can download here, and they've also release a trailer for the book if you fancy a gander...

This post is sponsored by HarperCollins. All opinions are my own.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Get Ready With Me: My Wedding Day

Today I posted a very special 'Get Ready With Me' video... from my wedding day!
Those of you who have already seen my wedding video might recognise a few of the shots, but I thought it would be nice to give you guys an extended version of the getting ready process for my big day, along with a full list of all the makeup we used on the day...

My Makeup

I wanted to go with a very natural, glowing look using some of my favourite shades. I know a lot of people are keen to know which foundation I went for in the end and yes, it was my all time favourite Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua...
Benefit Porefessional Primer
Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Foundation in B30
Gosh Blush is Flower Power
Hourglass Bronzer in Mirage
Soap & Glory Glow All Out Highlighter
Hourglass Powder in Ambient Lighting

Urban Decay Primer Potion
Marc Jacobs 'The Lolita' Eyeshadow Palette
MAC All That Glitters
Marc Jacobs Genius Gel Eyeliner in Black w/ MAC Carbon over the top
YSL Effet Faux Cils Mascara in Waterproof Black

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Boy
NARS Larger Than Life Lipgloss in Piree

The Bridesmaids

The bridesmaids wore blush/nude dresses with a bronze / rose gold sash, and matching nails (Essie's Buy Me a Cameo!) so we wanted to keep with the theme and give them a gorgeous rose gold eye. The look was tailored to suit each bridesmaid's features. (as there's nothing worse than not feeling comfortable when you're getting photographed!)

Benefit Porefessional Primer
Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Foundation in B30
Gosh Blush is Flower Power
Hourglass Bronzer in Mirage
Soap & Glory Glow All Out Highlighter
Hourglass Powder in Ambient Lighting

Urban Decay Primer Potion
Lancome Eyeshadow Palette in 'Kissed By Gold'
Marc Jacobs Genius Gel Eyeliner in Black w/ MAC Carbon over the top
YSL Effet Faux Cils Mascara in Waterproof Black

Soap & Glory Glosstick in Nudist

For those asking about who did my makeup, and the bridesmaids... A huge thank you has to go to the lovely Tati from GlamLifeGuru for helping with my makeup and doing the majority of the bridesmaids' too! My gorgeous friend Tanya Burr was originally meant to be doing the makeup, but when we couldn't get a time that worked to do a trial before the big day, I decided to do my own (If Kate Middleton can do it, then why not?!) Alas, on the day I was feeling a bit shaky and nervous so Tati (who was meant to be helping with the bridesmaids) stepped in and saved the day! She really was a superwoman as I think she ended up working on 11 faces that morning... including her own! We all looked and felt gorgeous so a big, huge thank you to her! (If you haven't seen her channel, go and check it out, she's wonderful)

You can watch the full video below...

Saturday, October 19, 2013

MAC Extended Play Mascara Review

I haven't used a MAC mascara in a really long time. Although I've liked their mascaras in the past, I've never loved one enough to repurchase it multiple times and if I'm honest, I was feeling a little 'over' the whole MAC obsession and had been for some time. This all changed however, when the new Rihanna limited edition collection came out this month. I went a little crazy and ended up spending nearly $200 on shiny rose gold goodies from the collection while I was in Los Angeles last week.

Overall I was really impressed with all of the products I picked up from the collection, even if there were mixed reviews online. One of the products I picked up on a whim was the Extended Play Gigablack Lash Mascara...
(what a mouthful!), it ended up being one of my favourite products so I thought I'd share a review with you all today.

It's a super lengthening, defining mascara that also gives you quite a lot of added volume. I'm normally a volume girl when it comes to mascara, but finding one that can do volume AND definition is quite rare.

The tiny little brush makes it easy to reach every single lash and it's great for the bottom lashes. I have naturally quite long lashes and people comment on them a fair amount, but I have to say, whilst wearing this, numerous people have asked me not only what mascara I'm wearing, but if I'm wearing false lashes (which is something that does not happen very often!)

The wear time of this is really good. It claims to be a 16 hour wear mascara and I definitely agree with that. I've applied this at around 7am and not removed it till midnight and it was still going strong. I haven't noticed it flakes or smudges easily and although it's not the easiest mascara to remove, it's not overly stubborn to get off at the end of the day.

Overall, I'm really impressed with this and would definitely repurchase it. If you like the look of it, but missed the RiRi collection before it sold out, then fear not! It's part of MAC's permanent line (albeit not in the snazzy pink packaging) and you can pick it up for £15.50 from MAC counters or stores. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Rouge Ecstasy

Giorgio Armani beauty have been a pioneer in creating unique formulas for the past few years. Love them or hate them, there is no denying that the Maestro foundation and the Lip Maestro gloss are utterly stand-out in texture and concept. Despite my appreciation for their bases, I hadn't been taken in by any of their lipstick range so far. The packaging is undeniably fabulous but the lipsticks, to me, where not as unique as the other products in their line up. Until now.
October 15th saw the release of their brand new 'Rouge Ecstasy' lipsticks...

They are formulated as 'CC' lipsticks, combining colour and care. Giving your lips the moisturising and repairing benefits of a nourishing balm, with the same intense colour pigmentation of a traditional lipstick. This combination is a common aim, but it's pretty rare to actually achieve the perfect balance between the two and I really think Armani have done this with their newest lipstick formulation.

The lipsticks are beautifully soft and smooth, yet the colours are vibrant and long lasting. The swatches below show just how beautifully pigmented and smooth the product is. What's more, the range of colours is the most extensive we've seen from Armani so far. The line-up consists of 36 beautiful shades, so there is literally a shade for everyone. Ranging from the deepest, darkest browns to the palest bubblegum pinks.
The packaging is the same beautiful magnetised design as their original lipsticks, but this time in a glamourous cherry red colour. Very chic and utterly luxurious. As always with Giorgio Armani products... The price does reflect this however. At £25, they are one of the most expensive lipsticks on the market, but if you're looking for a new high-end lipstick, these will certainly not disappoint.
Armani have also created a beautiful beatbox video to promote the release of this line. If you're a beauty addict, it's a bit of a must-watch. They challenged me to create my own little version on Instagram this a couple of weeks ago using seven different shades from the range. Not many people actually guessed what I was saying... Can you?!

Click HERE to see Armani's professional version.

*This post is sponsored by Giorgio Armani Beauty. All opinions are my own.*

Monday, October 14, 2013

Macadamia 'Flawless' Review

I've always been a huge fan of hair oils, but ever since Moroccan oil set the trend a few years ago, oil-heavy hair products have been bombarding the market. Whether it's oil in shampoo, conditioner, treatments or styling products, you have to admit it's become a little overwhelming. It's hard to know which products are worth investing in, and which are easily 'dupable' with cheaper alternatives.
I therefore couldn't resist trying Macadamia's 'Flawless' as it seems to be utterly unique. A 6-in-1 product that claims to cleanse, condition, reduce drying time, detangle, enhance volume and eliminate frizz in one quick step...

Cleansing conditioners are nothing new, but one based on the use of oil as a cleansing and perfecting agent is certainly new to me. Flawless is totally free from parabens, surfactants and the stripping suds contained in regular shampoos, and therefore claims to balance out your hair's natural oils: cleansing without stripping.

I was so intrigued to try this and I have to say, I was pretty impressed with the results!

The application of the product was surprisingly nice. It's a creamy mousse constancy when it leaves the can, then becoming more like a thick conditioner when massaged into the hair. Although it doesn't lather, it feels really nice in the hair (I left it in for a few minutes to let it fully penetrate) and rinses out easily, leaving the hair feeling clean and fresh.

I'm not 100% sure about the drying-time claim (It reduces it a little bit, but definitely doesn't halve it!), but in terms of all the other claims, it definitely delivers. My hair feels clean, soft and full, with a noticeable reduction in frizz. I don't need to use a leave-in conditioner, which I normally use every time I wash my hair, and the results last for about 2 days (average for me).  I also have quite a sensitive, dry scalp and this left it feeling hydrated and comfortable.

It's pretty heavy on the price front at £25.75, but if you are replacing 3-4 products by using this, then it is arguably not as expensive as it first appears. Personally I have been really impressed by this product and will continue to use it. I do like to alternate a regular shampoo and conditioner with it every few washes, but overall it's a great one-stop-shop for all you busy girls out there. It will save you time in the morning and make your hair look gorgeous... what more could you ask for?!

This is currently on sale on for £21.88 including a free oil treatment, comb and international delivery!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Dark Amber & Ginger Lily

Yes, Yes, Yes, Jo Malone!
My all time, hands-down favourite Jo Malone scent has finally been made into a candle!

The previously limited edition Dark Amber & Ginger Lily has been a favourite of mine for years now. I was so happy when them made it part of their permanent line up, but the release of the candle has made me even happier, as it makes a wonderful home fragrance. The wax is black too, so its a nice change for all you Jo Malone lovers out there. Now all we need is the body creme...

Jo Malone's Dark Amber & Ginger Lily candle is in shops and on counters now, priced at an eye-watering £48. Jo Malone have also released a dry body oil of the same scent, along with Out & Bergamot from the same 'Cologne Intense' range.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Rimmel Colour Rush Balms: Review & Swatches

L-R: Drive Me Nude, Not An Illusion, Give Me a Cuddle, On Fire, Rumour Has It, The Redder The Better, Keep Mauving
Last week I took a sneaky peek at the brand new Rimmel Moisture Renew lipsticks, but this week I'm going to be showing you the other new lip line-up from Rimmel: The Colour Rush Lip Balms...

We've seen these type  of products all over the beauty market for the past few years. Clinique led the way, Revlon, Pixi, Soap & Glory and Bourjois followed (to name but a few!). One of the last to jump on the bandwagon is Rimmel.
Despite this fact, they managed to produce some of the best out there. These new balms are creamy, pigmented, moisturising and have a lovely finish.
They are very similar to the Soap & Glory Sexy Mother Pucker gloss sticks in almost every way. The yummy vanilla scent is very similar, the texture of the balm (very hard, but build-able) is the same, the packaging is the same. The only thing that is different is the finish. I would say that these are more of a 'lipstick' and the S&G are more of a gloss. They also stain the lips, although aren't marketed as a stain, merely as 'long-lasting'. While the balm aspect of the product doesn't last that long on the lips (certainly not through eating) the colour does. I think these are a vast improvement from those double ended lip marker/clear balm duos (Remember those? Yuk - I never liked them!)
Drive Me Nude
Not An Illusion
Give Me A Cuddle

On Fire
Rumour Has It

The Redder The Better

Keep Mauving

Either way these are undeniably lovely. They come in seven shades, and where Rimmel got it a little wrong with the shade choices for the Moisture Renew line, they got it all right with these. I would personally wear every single one of these colours and I think they've also managed to choose flattering colours for most skins tones.

I'm not sure if these will be an instant sell-out like the Revlon lip butters (remember the frenzy they created?!) because they are quite late in the game when it comes to balms, but I think some colours will disappear fast (Rumour Has It, The Redder The Better and Not An Illusion are my bets). I personally prefer these to the Revlon Lip Butters or Balm Stains.

All in all, another hit for Rimmel here. I'm very impressed. These are out now, priced at £5.99.