Archive by Author

Who Who Who? MeMeMe! UK Brand Now Available in Ireland

4 Apr

There is much to adore about UK brand Me Me Me, not the least of which are the low price points. I have yet to fully investigate the samples I received for review, but have to talk about Blush Me! immediately because my discovery of its extreme cleverness unspooled like a short film.

I remarked upon the shape of the box.
ME ME ME 01
Hmmmmmm. Seen this shape before.
ME ME ME 02
Thing is though, there really needs to be a —
ME ME ME 03
Yeah!

This is Rouge; there’s a Bronze, Coral and Pink as well. I’ve also got some Goddess Rocks which, once the tanning commences, will be given a full-fledged post of their own.

That price point? €10.99. Enough said.

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If you haven’t already clicked through, have a browse at mememecosmetics.ie for the full range

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KEVIN.MURPHY is Australian For ‘G’Day Hair’

25 Mar

Have you seen Preen? It has installed its stylish salon self on Dame Street, slap bang in the middle of everything, and amongst its many appealing aspects, such as…

00 STYLISH SERVICE

Stylish service

… really pretty presentation of one’s cappucino and eensy cupcake…

02 STYLISH WASH

Stylish shampooing

… one of the most chilled shampoo rooms I’ve ever encountered, one that not only has massage chairs, but also wafts the scent of relaxing essential oils throughout…

01 STYLISH DISPLAY

Stylish display

… a design ethic that even embraces the way things are put on shelves…

03 STYLISH S&C

Style in bottles


… and the actual product that’s actually on the shelves. I would have been drawn to KEVIN.MURPHY simply down to the rectangular bottles — shallow packaging design groupie that I am — but what’s in it is as good as it looks, in style and substance.

What’s not in the Antipodean product is good, too. No parabens! No sulphates! Me, I love a good sulphate even though they are bad. I am of the mindset that suds = clean, and it’s correct as far as the dirt goes, but those foaming sulphates strip the natural oils out of the hair, the ones that keep your locks from drying out, and your scalp from getting all flaky. When I do use a sulphate-free shampoo, I always feel like my hair is still dirty even after the repeat after the rinse, and I go for a third round. Not an efficient use of time or product!

KEVIN won me over simply because I do feel like my hair is clean, despite the lack of bubbles. The first wash is fine, but the second really does the job, and I can feel the cleanliness. The conditioning rinse is fab, and I don’t think I’m using any more than I would of a sulphate-laden sort.

It is as though the products pictured have been tailor-made for my blonde, fine hair; you can check out the brand’s website for more information regarding your own type of tress. There’s some fab looking styling stuff as well!

Oh, and the result, thanks to my stylist Merilee?
04 STYLISH BLOW DRY

***

Preen Dublin is located at 52 Dame Street, right near the junction of Georges Street, but opposite, if ya get me. See preendublin.ie for prices, and ring 01 670 8080 for an appointment.

KEVIN.MURPHY: BLONDE.ANGEL.WASH is €25 and ANGEL.RINSE is €24.

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Mother’s Day 2014: Things That Spritz and Things That… Fits

24 Mar

Gift guides demonstrate the breadth of options one has when coming up to a big day like Mother’s Day {does anyone still call it Mothering Sunday, which sounds a little bit creepy?} or, they are prejudiced to the writer’s own preferences. This is a little bit of both. I like perfume, and I like things that are contained in other things, espesh when the container is ultimately useful in the future. I like all of these, and your mum may, too.

JO MALONE Rain & Angelica {€100} JO MALONEThis is one of four in the limited London Rain edition, hence the extra few bob in the price. The first hit of this is spectacular, truly infused with the freshness of rain. I pick up a little bit of pepper too, but that may just be my screwy nose (don’t ask me to talk about wine; I can tell if it’s red or white, that’s about the extent of it.) I just kept spraying it and spraying it on myself, because I kept missing the dry down — when I did get it, I was delighted for the wee blast of vetiver. This is lovely, but I will say it doesn’t have the staying power of some the classic JM scents.

Other scents in the collection include Wisteria & Violet, White Jasmine & Mint, and Black Cedarwood & Juniper, the last of which appeals as juniper = gin; also, the press materials claim that it has a ‘carnal touch of cumin’ in it, which — the mind reels.

LACOSTELACOSTE Eau de Lacoste Sensuelle {€60} This brand has always seemed preppy to me, which is mainly what they’re going for — that’s all in the way to say that sensual and little alligators haven’t exactly matched up in my mind. This is here to change yours: it’s got some amber notes in it, to darken things down a bit, and the bottle, as you can see, it designed to reflect the new tone.

It’s still sweet and yummy, though, and this dries down to a nougatine, vamilla-y vibe, so not too shocking a change. It’s definitely a touch more sophisticated — as in, less sporty — than the the original Eau de Lacoste for Women — but it doesn’t get completely down and dirty.

MUM'S DAY LUSH
LUSH Mum {€37.95} Talk about ‘what is says on the tin’! This container — yes, made of tin — is chock full of fun Lush stuff. Well, five seems like a ‘chock’ to me. There’s Dream Cream hand and body lotion, which is fab, and a trial-sized Gorgeous mosituriser for the face, along with four delicious bath additives, including a personal fave, the Secret Garden Bath Bomb. The tin is useful after mum uses everything up!

L'OCCITANE
L’OCCITANE The Exquisite Boudoir Collection {€17. with €40 purchase} I myself love a good coffret, and L’Occitane have packed this adorable, yet elegant box with five travel-sized products, including their glorious new scent, Neroli & Orchidee, in Eau de Toilette and body milk form. And you could even spend the €40 on mum — or on somebody else, ahem. You can now shop online at loccitane.ie, using the code VELVET, if you haven’t a boutique in your locality.

MUM'S DAY THE BODY SHOP
THE BODY SHOP Spritz & Moisture Basket {€22.95} Ah! A wee beach bag! Available in three ‘flavours’ — Satsuma, Shea, or Moringa — this contains a shower gel, an Eau de Toilette, and a sample of the brand’s famous body butter. Pictured is Satsuma, which I find to be refreshing and sexy, but the other two are equally good, depending on mum’s preference. Perfect to bring along on the big summer holidays.

FIT FLOPSFIT FLOPS The Skinny {€90} These also come in white, and look fab in either colour, I think it’s thanks to the cork-wraparound on the sole. White might go better with the above beach bag, but the red is so sporty and, I don’t know, yacht-y? Which may match nicely with the Lacoste perfume? If mum is an FF enthusiast, you won’t go wrong.

ROISIN CHOCOLATES ALDI
RÓISÍN’S Luxury Irish Chocolates {€9.99} From Aldi, these are delicious, and I can personally vouch for that, because I would never, ever recommend something without having tried it. Ever. So selfless! Anyway, this ‘fits’ because chocolates always work, for chocolate-loving mums, anyway.

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Bronde. Dames: BRONDE!

20 Mar

This is thing, via L’Oréal Professional and their Marijel Mocha spectrum.

It is hottt.
Malena_Bronde_RVB
That’s Spanish model Malena Costa, who looks amazing.

One time, I got a balayage and I hated it. I would look in the mirror and want to cry from the lack of blonde. I am guessing I myself wouldn’t be terribs happy with this look, but I am also guessing that there are many among you who could kill this.

Have to go to the salon for this, as far as I can tell, but: so worth it. < Did not mean to do that!

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BRONDE.

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O.M.Fibrology: In Word and Deed

14 Mar

L’Oréal Paris’ latest launch, Elvive Fibrology Thickening Haircare Range, is very science-y. It would have to be, I s’pose, to be able to back up claims that your can increase the follicular volume of fine hair just by washing it. So: there’s this thing? Called Sol-Gel Technology? They use it to fix cracked windscreens? {Windshields, to you Americans!} What it does is, it makes a liquid turn into a solid, and in the case of this product, there’s also these Fixollane molecules that bond with proteins in the hair shaft, and they stay and grow when the hair dries, making it thicker, and more able to hold a style.

OMGGGGG. Here, just look:
FIBROLOGY 02  day2
Did not style — as in, did not use any ‘big hair’ drying devices, did use any root-pumping-up product, no spray, nothing. Not much ‘fluffing’ either, just enough to drape it about the shoulders.
FIBROLOGY 01  day2
SRSLY.

I have a lot of time for the Elvive line in general, and here, I couldn’t be more impressed. There’s your standard FIBROLOGY BOOSTERS&C, as well as a Thickness Booster, which is a tube of serum that you mix in with the conditioner, or put directly on the hair before using the Intensive Texturising Mask. The tube is little bit fiddly, and there’s no way to balance it properly, tub-side, but you’ll get over it, as I did. It’s not for use everyday, and the tube contains about four applications, so save it for days when you need to guarantee good, big hair.

The scent is lovely, the texture of all the products is great, and there is a Double Serum styling product that can be used wet or dry; haven’t tried that, but I’m guessing it’s in the same line of country as all those new BB hair creams. {BB hair creams, you ask? Stay tuned!}

Second day hair — always an important consideration — is good, with the usual application of dry shampoo at the roots the evening before. The thickening of the follicles helps them stay that tiny bit less greasy, which for fine hair is always an ish.

All in all, a total scientific success, and I for one am happy to never have to think about the ‘why it works’ ever again — I’m quite satisfied with the ‘what it does’. It does good.

***

Shampoo (250mls) €5.84/£2.89
Conditioner (250mls) €5.84/£2.89
Thickness Booster €9.19/£5.99
Intensive Texturising Mask €8.49/£5.49
Double Serum €10.79/£6.99

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Make Up Mathematics: Smashbox (bumble+bumble) + Davis Factor = WOW

11 Mar

Oh, hello, bus face!
01 46A AS USUAL
Here’s me, at the official start of my 2014, on 12 January. I’m on my way to get done by a squad of beauty experts, in Smock Alley in Dublin 2, thanks to Smashbox UK, bumble+bumble, and American photographer Davis Factor, who also happens to be the great-grandson of Max Factor, the actual Hollywood beauty legend. A legend in his own right, Davis and his brother Dean founded Smashbox Studios in LA, in 1990; our beloved line of cosmetics came along in 1996. Ooh, a twenty year anniversary is imminent!

I have only one snap of Smock Alley, because there was too much craic to be had. It looked amazing in there, like, NYC loft-style fabulousness, and I think I was either homesick for NY home {as I’d only been back a wet week to Ireland home} and/or the setting was so familiar to me — in my own personal NYC loft-style fabulousness {LOL— no so much} that I felt perfectly comfortable.
00 SMOCK ALLEY
Sure, and you wouldn’t know you were in Dublin a’tall.

The vibe was all Irish, or what I’ve come to equate with being an Irish beauty bird: we all know each other, if we don’t, we soon do, and everyone is cool and nice and, and, everything. I always feel so proud of us whenever we get together. *Sniffle*

Let’s get to it!
02 BUMBLE VOLUME
My hair came under the comb of KT from Sobe Brown, Cork, known for their expert use of bumble+bumble products. I haven’t been well acquainted with the brand, TBH. I tried their deeep hair mask years ago, and was impressed, but haven’t found a shampoo & conditioner duo that I like.

03 HAIR
I very much liked what KT did with my hair though, a style in which the Bb thickening hair spray figured largely. Lashed on the roots, it managed to lift the hair but stay light and non-sticky. Above, the moment I realised this very fact. Huh!

My cut and colour was thanks to Aileen Fennessey of Joseph Kramer Studio, Stillorgan — it is still receiving compliments, and the highlights are still going strong.

No sooner was I coiffed but I was whisked into the chair of Lori Taylor, the brand’s Global Pro Lead Artist. I apologised for being American; from California, I was certain Lori wasn’t expecting to have a Jersey Girl in front of her mirror. We did not let any coastal bias effect our time together, and had a great chat about all sorts. I was able to recommend an Irish single malt to bring home to her husband; she gave me a fab flicky, smokey look.
04 FLICKY!
Here’s the flicky! For me, the whole point of getting my make up done by a professional is having them do the things that I am crap at, like flicky eyeliner. I was the extreme opposite of disappointed.
05 SHADOWY!
And here’s the smokey! All the MUAs were availing of the excellence that is the Full Exposure Palette: with fourteen shades to take you from day to evening, from matte to sparkle, there is nothing that this can’t do. Well, okay, it won’t put it on you itself.
06 BLUSH!
Blushy! I haven’t been bothering with blush much these days, but was inspired to change that, by this. Lori used Halo Long Wear Blush, and when I say ‘used’, she barely tapped the brush into the miniscule bit she’d produced, using the grinder. It is serious pigment, and it really did wear long, too.
07 VOILA!
Lippy! Which is not actually lippy, but a secret thing — hang on — okay, looks like it’s not launched yet. Secret thing is still a secret. Check back in the summertime. Moving right along.

My time under the lights came up directly I was done with Lori {or rather, she was done with me…} I found it to be fun, throwing shapes in front of the seamless, and there was a wind machine. THERE WAS A WIND MACHINE: this is exactly what has been missing all my life! It is completely and utterly awesome and hilarious to be in front of a wind machine, getting your portrait taken. It went too fast!

I ended up hanging out, chatting with the PR team over from London, and then going out for cocktails with a couple of my blogger pals, and then swanning around the house trying to defer the dreaded hour when I’d have to take it all off.

Off I took it, because you should always, always take your make up off before you go to bed, right? Right!

***

Weeks went by, and we all checked in with one another: did you get your picture? We were to receive one portrait retouched, and printed properly, and a USB with all the frames from the shoot.

People started getting theirs, and I still hadn’t, and I lost the actual run of myself. When it did appear, it was all I could do not to open the envelope right then and there, with my teeth.
Susan Conely_1064
As chosen by Davis himself!

And as chosen by me:
SBX select 01 RT

SBX select 04 RT

SBX select 02 RT
Haaaaahahahahaha I love this last one, as I said to a pal on Facebook, it’s my ‘look of irritated compassion before I lower the boom.’ Watch out, mortals!

***

So, what’s the point of a post like this? Just showing off the fancy pictures of myself? If I didn’t routinely show unflattering snaps of my gob, I suppose you could draw that conclusion.

For me, it’s worth showing the entire experience of getting done up for the camera, how it changes step by step, to the end result, which is entirely different from any of the stops along the way. It’s like math — you show how everything adds up to the result — only it’s fun.

It’s also demonstrating how flattering a good face from a MUA is, and how well the Smashbox make up comes across digitally. The brand are so active when it comes to offering deals at their counters; maybe this will inspire you to give them a go the next time they have an event, especially if you haven’t tried them before.

I was surprised by the lack of colour, but damn, I would love to live in a B&W world!

***

Make up? Make-up? Makeup? I was making myself cray trying to decide. I went with what turns out to be house style, unbeknownst to the only person in the house. ‘Make up’ it is!

***

Your BFF + You + Smashbox = Glamourous Fun

4 Mar

Oh, so much to share about Smashbox this week, but must get this out there: the brand’s UK team, headed by Janine Bird, Smashbox’s National Makeup Coach, are in town at the weekend to do both you and your best pal.

Well, you know what I mean. Complimentary appointments are available now, for either Friday the 7th or Saturday the 8th, in which you and your friend get a full makeover, with helpful tips along the way, and then get to have a go in the super-fantastic photo booth. Now, what makes a photo booth super-fantastic? A perfectly balanced lighting set up, that’s what.

Any excuse:
00Smash_Boxphoto_grid

Fun! Also fun: hanging out with your bud, and then going out looking gorgeous. And also: quality time with your bestie, and also also, so much is made of, like, doing nice stuff with your significant other, how about doing a nice thing with a friend?

If any of Smashbox’s previous events are anything to go by, maybe go back in time to yesterday and book your appointment then. Failing that, call them now now NOW on {01} 805 0400!

***

Next up: another equation that adds up to glam, via Smashbox, later in the week!

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Roll Up, Roll Up: Benefit Big Easy Multi-Balancing Complexion Perfector and Gimme Brows

24 Feb

Ah sure, how hard could that be?
BENEFIT BALANCE
Pretty hard, I am guessing.

How easy is it to have to perfect skin? Eh, that depends. Benefit are making a new contribution to the flawless face-stakes with Big Easy Multi-Balancing Complexion Perfector, a liquid-to-powder that is balancing {see what they did there?}, self-adjusting and perfecting. Below, please see Mark Dixon, Irish BeneFit ambassador, making that last point:

BENEFIT Mark

Also: mini-burgers and delicious, delicious chips

I’ve given it a go, under a variety of circumstances, and I find that even though it is not technically a foundation — because the coverage is light-to-medium — when I treat it like a foundation, it works better. That means a good going over the face with PoreFessional and application with a brush.

I am not one hundred per cent sure that this product is meant to merit the full welly, but it got it anyway, because it did indeed feel light, yet comprehensively covering. When I used it on its own, I wasn’t as happy with the result. I mean, you can build it and build it, but that seems to run counter to claims that you’re done in one — coat, that is.

I did find the result to be as impressive as our featured acrobatettes, though: a healthy look with just the correct amount of glow, not shine; and even with the primer, it didn’t feel like I had anything on my face.

***

At the same launch, I was introduced to something that I fell in love with instantly. I am always on the lookout for new brow-defining products, and am stupid impressed with Gimme Brow:
GIMME BROW 1
A vast improvement on their Speed Brow, they took its sensible feature — a wand with a brush that is like a mascara brush — made it smaller, and infused the product with volumizing fibres. There’s pigment, too, either light/medium or medium/deep; this is the light version, which I never would have chosen, always going for the Academy Awards calibre Anne Hathaway brow, but seriously, those fibres fill things out, and even extend, naturally:
GIMME BROW 2
This last is dead handy, and as I am having to re-grow the lengths of my brows {what a life! I know, I know…}, this is helping get the look back without looking like something out of a Fellini film.

Speaking of, once more, with feeling:
BENEFIT Fit!

***

Big Easy Multi-Balancing Complexion Perfector: €37/£32.50/$38

Gimme Brow: €24/£17.50/$22

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Kardashian Beauty Joystick in Babydoll Pink: Is Cute

19 Feb

It is, and I love it, I love it as much, maybe more than Shocking Pink.
KARDASHIAN Baby Doll Joystick
> Because it is lighter, it’s easy to reapply without looking.
> Sometimes a nude lip with a smoky eye just gets so boring, right? This is a little pop of colour, but not too much. Not that you can’t do a smoky with colour, I’ve certainly done so in the past, but I do find the best impact is made with a not-bright gob.
> Staying power is spectac.

I will say, though:

> The pointy doesn’t last, because of obvious reasons. It’s still skinny enough, though, so that’s something.
> I got the Retro Red because it looked like the perfect, blue-toned Hollywood rouge, but it’s not — at least not on me. It went all warm, and that simply doesn’t suit me a’tall.

Regardless: loving the Joysticks! Still have my eye on Love Hangover. Clearly can’t get enough of these — am positively cross-eyes with adoration.

***

Available from sammccauley.com and cloud10 beauty, €13.99.

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Lots of Love from LUSH: Literally

10 Feb

Yay! A cute box with things inside! LUSH are a prime purveyor of such containers, and as V Day looms, this goes both ways {ha, ha}: you can share the contents, or use them in anticipation of sharing their benefits, or encourage someone significant and otherly to purchase this for you, or you can treat your gorgeous self, as the case may be. Either way, you’ll come up smelling like a rose, with overtones of jasmine.

Bright, and beautyfull!
01 LOL BOX

Knot is knotty.
02 KNOTTY!
Thank God I wasn’t videoing this reveal, it took me ages to get that thing undone. The ribbon seems rather robust, for use in whatever way you may wish after all the bathing.

Is it me, or has it gotten smutty in here?

Time to clean things up!
03 LOTS INDEED
Now: these samples are excellently sized, which does matter. You’re going to want all the mileage you can get out of the Tender is the Night Massage Bar, which is the yellow thing with the pink flower on. The brand have improved the manufacture of their massage bars: in the past, it used to take about an eternity to get them to soften up. Aeration has made these more malleable from the off, and the scent is a blend of ylang ylang oil, Fair Trade vanilla absolute, and jasmine absolute.

Going counterclockwise, just for the craic:
> Neon Love Soap, made from soya yoghurt, is infused with the fragrance of fresh figs and passionfruit juice

> The invigorating scent of Prince Charming Shower Gel is down to its blend of grapefruit, sandalwood and geranium oils.

>I can vouch very highly for the Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner. It’s an in-shower body lotion, made with argan oil and rose oil > from damask roses, which are really sexy. It’s not rosy, like, you’re eligible-for-your-bus-pass rosy. The resulting super soft skin has to be felt to be believed.

> Sex Bomb Bath Ballistic! Jasmine blends with ylang ylang and clary sage to make your bath a sexy fizz-fest! Look how pretty!

Do with this information what you will. ‘Susan’ is a lovely name, meaning graceful lily, should you be debating same, down the road. Just sayin’.

***

€32.50/£26.50/$52.95

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