Sunday, 23 February 2014

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, I have new favourite MAC, I think you'll like it too! - VIVA GLAM Rihanna lipstick review.

Hmmm... where do I start with red lipstick?

Red lipstick and I have a love hate relationship. Before Friday, I only owned one (MAC’s Red Russian), and some days I loved it and other times I hated it.

With this in mind, I was surprised when I found myself gazing longingly at the newest red MAC had to offer. A lipstick part of their latest ‘VIVA GLAM’ Rihanna campaign, designed in collaboration with the pop princess herself.

I was drawn in, not by the packaging (I must have been ill), but by the description. This lipstick is described as ‘Frosted’. As soon as I swatched the lipstick on my hand, I knew I had to have it, and when my mum kindly offered to pay – I couldn’t refuse!

I have been trying, and mainly failing, for the last two days to take pictures of the lipstick for this blog, but none of them do the colour justice! Similarly, I have also been trying to find the right words and colours to describe the hues and the finished look. Although this is marketed as a red lipstick, it is very much on the pinker side. With a blue undertone, the colour reminds me of an icy fuchsia. Likened to a cold day in the beginnings of Spring.
The lipstick has a glossy finish, and I was happy to wear it without a lip gloss over the top. In the picture below (apologies for the quality), I wore it with MAC’s Brick lip liner. The colour had the staying power you would expect from a good quality lipstick – and was very easily applied.

Now, I couldn’t do a blog post without talking about the packaging. The lipstick comes in the same trademark bullet shape we know and love of MAC lipsticks, but has followed the frosted theme by making the case a seductive frosted red. On the inside the shaft is emblazoned with Rihanna’s signature – a nice touch.
This lipstick has changed the way I feel about red lipstick, and I would highly recommend this if you, like me, are a bit scared or nervous about this bold statement colour. I wore it with a simple silver and black smoky eye and I have absolutely fallen in love with the sheen and finish.

With the RRP of this lipstick, aside from VAT going towards the MAC AIDS Fund – this may indeed be, the perfect shade of red!

What are your favourite reds? Have you tried the new VIVA GLAM Rihanna?

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Boots Booty (not the Beyonce kind) - A Drugstore Haul

After declaring myself ‘broke’ and spouting lines like: ‘I literally have NO money, I am going to be living on cereal’, I found myself on a shopping trip. After narrowly avoiding the Naked 3 palette (which I still can’t stop thinking about), I found myself perusing the wondrous aisles in Boots.

Somehow these items just jumped into my shopping bag and forced themselves through the till (funny how things have a habit of doing that?)

Soap and Glory ‘Off your face’ cleansing wipes (usually £4.50 but there was a 40% off deal at the time so I got for £2.99): The first thing that struck me about this product was the softness of the cloth! Normally I find cleansing wipes a bit scratchy – but these are like cotton! The cloth has 2 sides to it – a smooth side and a slightly bumpy side. I tested both sides as make-up removers, and I found the bumpy side was slightly more effective. They even removed eye make up pretty well – there was still a little residue on my eye, but overall I was impressed with their removal power.

When using facial wipes, I often find that my skin feels slightly sticky afterwards – but with this product my face felt smooth and dry! With a comforting fragrance of Olbas Oil – I will definitely be getting these again!

Soap and Glory ‘Puffy Eye Attack’ eye gel (usually £12.50 but £8.33 at the time): Normally, I get horrendous bags under my eyes and have been searching for a product to at least minimise them. ‘Could this be THE product?’ I wondered.

This eye gel has a thick texture, and a little goes a long way. I have sensitive eyes, so I have found in the past that some eye products have caused stinging. I am not going to lie, I did get a small amount of stinging, but mainly in the evening where I think my eyes are probably aggravated from my initial make up removing. I also tested the gel under my concealer (I use that magic ‘NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer’) and found that the two products worked well together.

After using this product every morning and every night, I have found that my eye bags are better, particularly near the end of the week. I’m not sure if I am ‘in love’ with it, but it is doing the job for the moment!

Maybelline ‘The Falsies’ mascara (£7.99): My usual go-to mascara is the MAC False Lash effect – so imagine my dismay when I ran out of it during these hard times. I had heard a lot of really good things about this mascara, and knew it is a particular favourite with beauty guru Tanya Burr, so I thought I would give it a try. If it’s good enough for Tanya, it’s good enough for me!

The applicator has a scooped brush, which also has a ‘flexi’ element to it. To be honest, it has probably taken me all week to get used to this. Normally, I like to remove most of the product from the applicator, so I can build up thin layers. However, for some reason this was not working, on the second coat, my lashes were clumping together and it looked like I had a grand total of 5.  I found the product worked better if I ‘tidied up’ the applicator, rather than removing the entire product.

 Now I have got used to the product, I am very happy with the results. I am able to create a fluttering lash, with a ‘wide eyed’ look. I love what it does to the bottom lash too!

Batiste Dry Shampoo in ‘Oriental’ (£2.99): Everyone and their Nan knows that this is the Holy Grail of hair products. This product should be in EVERYONE’S bathrooms, bedrooms, offices (I even have a friend who kept some in her car – sensible lady).

I have very long and thick hair. I am also lazy. These three factors often equate to waking up late, hair standing on end, on those days when I had set my alarm early, in order to leave enough time to wash my hair. This is when I find myself grabbing my dry shampoo in a frenzy, and desperately trying to make my hair do ‘something’. There is now a huge range of Batiste products – ranging from fragrances or specific formulas for your hair colour. I was drawn to this bottle, due to the packaging. I love packaging (I am an advertisers dream), and the purple oriental design caught my eye.

The fragrance is also lovely. Obviously, you can’t get completely away from the aerosol smell – but this product has a musky scent which I like. A great product and I don’t need to tell you that this will definitely be on my ‘repurchase’ list.

So, whilst I get back to my cereal, what are your drugstore essentials that you just could NOT live without? 

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Sunday, 9 February 2014

Butter... of the Body Variety.

The Body Shop’s Body Butters - one of my first beauty loves!
When I was a lowly, poor, 18 year old student, this was my splurge product. I was completely sucked in by the colourful packaging, fruity scents and insane moisturising power. And, although now I am perhaps not quite as poor, this still remains a beauty staple.

There is a Body Butter to cater for every taste imaginable, it is available to purchase in around 19 different varieties. Coconut (my first purchase), chocolate, olive, strawberry, and even Japanese cherry blossom! You can also buy coconut ‘shimmer’. A Body Butter with all the moisturising benefits, with just the right hint of sparkle. This one was very popular for me during my ‘clubbing-twice-a-week’ student days (although make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after – imagine a fake tan disaster but with glitter).  

My favourite all time Body Butter is the Pink Grapefruit. I am just obsessed with the scent! My Body Butter sits next to me on my bedside table, mainly so I remember to apply, and I often find myself just picking it up and taking a good whiff, sending me into bliss!

Due to the product’s powerful moisturising skills, I would recommend leaving the product to sink in before putting on clothes (particularly jeans). If you don’t, you may find yourself in an argument with your skinnies, not seen since leggings became acceptable to wear outside of the gym!

I received my most recent Body Butter as a Christmas gift, along with the shower gel (Thank you Mum and Nanny). Since then, they have changed the image on the packaging. To be honest, I am not too sure about this alteration. It is simpler (which I like) and the image depicts the skin of the grapefruit, but to me it just looks like a pink ball.

However, who cares about the packaging, or that it needs soaking in?! This product is just too good to miss! Unbelievably moisturising and I find the feeling lasts all day!

P.S. I visited The Body Shop in Reading yesterday (in the name of research) and saw that there is currently a deal on Body Butters and Scrubs (an equally brilliant product). You can buy the butter and the scrub for £16 – or 2 butters or 2 scrubs if that’s what you would prefer. Considering the butter alone normally retails for £13 this is an un-missable deal.

I also noticed there is a range of body mists and perfumes, also in the matching scents! Every product to satisfy my ‘Pink Grapefruit’ obsession!

Are you listening Father Christmas?!  ;-)

Monday, 3 February 2014

1st Blog Confessions

It seems only apt that I begin my first blog post with a confession.

My name is Hollie, and I... am a nail biter.

Phew, that feels better, like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I know it’s disgusting, I know it’s unhealthy and it has caused havoc on my nails for most of my life (or at least since the time I started noticing things like how my nails look). But, I just can’t help it!

I am a nervous biter. Whenever I am in a stressful or new situation – one minute the nails are there, long and perfectly filed, and the next I’m cowering in the corner chewing on my little pinky.

This all changed however, in the summer of 2012. One of my best friend’s wedding was approaching fast and I was finding myself having yet another argument with my nails. They were flaky, weak and whenever I painted them I was guaranteed chips within about 30 minutes. I reached for my phone and entered the ‘no-going-back’ phrase ‘Acrylic nails Reading’ into the Google search bar. All reservations of making the situation worse with chemicals and filing were ignored in my spat of desperation.

Thankfully, after filtering a few dodgy looking links, I hit on a small salon in the centre of Reading, who were offering ‘Bio-Sculpture Gel’. I rang the salon and within half an hour I was sitting in a chair, having my nail routine changed forever.

Bio-Sculpture advertises itself as the ‘original gel nail colour’. The application involves minimal buffing and filing, which was a massive draw for me. My nails were weak enough – I didn’t need them to be made any thinner. The colour is applied using a brush, and is set under UV lamps.

I have well and truly fallen in love. Each month I still feel a pang of excitement when I know I can choose a new colour. There are around 150 available in total, in a range of light, dark, shimmer and glitter shades. My favourites being 157, ‘Elizabeth’ and 168, ‘Gilded Reflection’.  

I now get my nails soaked off and re-applied once every 4 weeks, and I find that the colour does not fade or stain. Neither does the colour chip. EVER.

It does however, peel. This can be minimised by making sure you wash your hands thoroughly after applying cream products (such as body butters) and cleaning using rubber gloves. It also helps if you leave it alone and do not pick (this I am not so good at – the nail biting habit will never leave me I guess).

And the condition of those flaky, bendy, weak nails now I hear you cry?!

Well, I have been having Bio-Sculpture on my nails every month for the past year and a half and.... my nails have never been healthier. If I do have a colour peel off, the nail underneath rarely breaks, and I am able to keep them at the same length until my next appointment.

The only down side.... it’s pretty pricey.

Ah well, I figure I am saving money on nail varnishes which I now do not need.

Plus....who needs heating anyway, right??

Bio-Sculpture Website:

Nail Salon in Reading, some seriously lovely ladies!