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Snap! Judgement: IsaDora Volume Lash Styler Mascara

29 Jun

Oooh!
ISADORA mascara

ISADORA wandEh: it’s not much of a Snap! Judgement, which generally amounts to me reacting to a product as it is, fresh out of the package, but IsaDora’s Volume Lash Styler needed to be taken through its paces.

It is pretty impressive. That spiky little comb gets all up in your lashes, lifting and separating, and getting as much product onto them as quickly and efficiently as poss.

It usually takes several goes to achieve this look — I only did two coats (apply-dry-apply-dry) and got this result. As well, this formula didn’t get glommy and sticky at any stage.

When MUA Stephen Øien was in town presenting the brand’s summer looks, he said this was his favourite mascara —it’s now mine too!

***

€17.95

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Beautyfull News: Clarins Paris, bliss, CND, The Body Shop, Botanics

23 Jun

CLARINS PARIS Mission Perfection Serum {€60}
***
I always love trying a new serum from Clarins, but this isn’t inspiring my adoration — not like the Double Serum did. Specifically targeted for age spots, BN 16 06discolouration and dullness, and redness, it doesn’t feel nearly as fluid as a serum ought, although the scent of the cherries is pleasant in the extreme. I’m using this at night, and dreaming about delicious fruit salad — JK, although I do feel like I’m dropping off more pleasantly than usual. We’ll see if it makes a difference to my skin.

bliss triple oxygen radiant protection energizing serum {€73}
*****
My very first facial ever, in life, was one of the Triple Oxygen persuasion in an actual bliss spa, in NYC. It. Was. Amazing. This? Is. Amazing. Too. It’s for anti-aging and smoothing fine lines, and is loaded with Vitamin C and cruciferous extract, which means maybe I can bin the kale? It feels like a teeny tiny face lift, about as good as you’re going to get without going under the knife: my skin feels markedly tighter every time I use it, which is first thing in the morning. Better than espresso!

CND Solar Oil Nail & Cuticle Conditioner {€10.95}
****
CND are doing an incredible line in nail varnish, but this is my hero as far as the brand is concerned. Be prepared to undergo something of a healing crisis: once you begin daily use of this, your cuticles will start peeling and clearing up well within 24 hours. It takes some time to absorb, which is a good thing, unless like me you keep it by your keyboard so you’ll remember to use it. It gets all over the keys, even when I wait and think I’ve given it enough time to sink in. Nevertheless, the best thing ever for raggy, snaggly cuticles. You can get it on cloud10beauty.com.

THE BODY SHOP Virgin Mojito Bath & Body Limited Edition {€Various: €8.95-19.95}
****
A replication of the famous cocktail for your body, the line includes body sorbet, splash, butter and scrub, minus the alcohol, sadly — it is pretty delicious, even without the rum. I prefer the body butter to the sorbet — the latter feels very sticky to me. Love the scrub, and am in like with the body splash and hoping once we get to know one another better, we’ll really have something. In general: super fresh and invigorating, and it’s got a sort of old school vibe to the fragrance? It feels like high school, in the best possibly way.

BOTANICS Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm {€8.66}
***
I generally have mixed feelings about balms. As much I want to love them, the texture just seems terribly messy to me, unless I’m lolling in a bath and can sweat most if it off. Also, my bath only has a free-standing basin sink and the water just gets everywhere. This didn’t change my mind much: weirdly green in colour {probs from the olive oil in it}, the tub is very small {70mls}, and if I had been wearing a full face ‘o’ make-up, I think I would have made serious inroads into the product. It’s good for a first pass at the face, but I had to do another cleanse to feel really clean. I preferred this in the morning, as the scent is gentle yet invigorating.

***

Elizabeth Arden Oxygen Blast Facial is Amazers

16 Jun

I know I say this every time I go to Arnott’s but: there is nothing like the buzz of a beauty hall. I adore the sounds of happy people mooching around looking at lipstick and the sight of all that product. Can’t help it, just love it.

That buzziness, though, is not perfectly ideal for a treatment — or it hasn’t been, until now. The Oxygen Blast Facial from Elizabeth Arden errs on the side of fast rather than pan-pipey zone-out, which is great, because it’s designed to get you in and out of the chair and on your glowy way in 20 minutes or less.

I got one the other day and it was fab. Having gone in barefaced, I nevertheless got a double cleanse, a tone, the blast of the mineral and seaweed extracts that serve to get deep into my cellular layers, and then the follow-up blast of oxygen. The latter two elements were applied with an airbrush, and my aesthetician Lauren made sure that every pore got a good dose of both.
THE AIRBRUSH
Apparently you can get this done over your existing make-up if you’re heading out on the town after work and want to look as though you’ve been lying around at your leisure all day. I kind of get it: after all, we’ve been told for years to use pressurised spa water to set our make-up. Lauren says it totally works, and I believe her.
THE AFTERCARE
Prevage Serum Quotidian and Anti-aging Triple Defense Shield Sunscreen SPF50 were applied after the treatment; I was only sorry I didn’t need to do my face, because my skin felt like new, and like it would be the best make up application ever. My pores felt nice and tight, and the overall glow was impressive indeed.

This is ideal for last-minute revitalising is you’re all made up, and perfect for the day before — even the day of! — a big occasion.

***

Elizabeth Arden’s Oxygen Blast Treatment is priced at €20 for approximately 15 minutes, redeemable against any Elizabeth Arden purchase. This is exclusive to Arnotts, and an appointment is necessary. Ring 01 805 0400.

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I Try Before You Buy: Oils, From Top to Toe

15 Jun

Almost didn’t get the toes in — and it’s a bit of a push — but ‘top to middle’ just wasn’t doing it for me.

MATRIX Oil Wonders: Micro-Oil Shampoo & Conditioner, €12.50/each
****
I wasn’t sure that this was working for me, blonde {‘blonde’} that I am, and when I initially tried these, as argan oil always dulls down my fresh highlights. As my hair has evened out, however, this combo is perfect: for less than €30, you get salon-shiny hair and extreme manageability. Since my keratin treatment has run out, I am all about any S&C that can calm down the flyaways and the half-arsed waving that my hair does. Love these, but won’t be using them on newly ‘did’ hair, because of that pesky but beneficial argan oil.

SHU UEMURA Art of Hair Cleansing Oil Shampoo, €40
****
It took me a while to get used to the non-sudsy element involved in using this class of oil, but oh boy, this is good. I’ve used the Gentle Balancing Cleanser, and can’t see that this will any less effective: for those who suffer from dry hair and scalp, this promises to bring balance, and the right kind of moisture, to your locks. It’s infused with Neroli essential oil, which is such a useful and versatile oil and is the key ingredient that’s going to get to work on your scalp. One star off because a conditioner would be a nice accompaniment — IDK, my hair is just too tangly to do without one, despite this line making for such silky tresses…

CLINIQUE Turnaround Revitalizing Treatment Oil, €39
*****
I’m using this at nighttime, and finding it to be terrific, brightening my complexion and adding loads of hydration — which is exactly what it promises to do. It absorbs quickly, so my pillow cases are safe, and I feel better every morning after the night before I used this: looking in the mirror first thing is actually quite fun as I notice improvement every time.

I TRY OILS

No7 Youthful Replenishing Facial Oil, €30.50
***
This is a little bit too oily for daytime, if you’re me and never give yourself enough minutes in the morning to allow something to fully absorb. So: good news in that this is so rich that it does take time to sink in, but bad news if you need to hit the ground running. I’ll use this at night, or on lazy days — oh, and a little bit truly goes a long way, half a drop does the business. Great value!

L’OCCITANE Immortelle Oil Make-up Remover, €26
****
Love a good oil as a makeup remover — there really is nothing like it. This has a gorgeous scent and it is very effective in its job. I find I prefer to use it in the morning, to wake up my skin and to remove the foundation that inevitably did not come off despite my relentless cleansing campaign. Would that be a thing of the past if I used this at night? Not so much: there’s nothing like the spray of the shower and good going over with my Clinique Sonic to do the job properly. Again, a little of this goes a long way, so it’s well worth the price tag.

LACURA Suncare Oil Spray, €3.99
**
This is where I got the toes in, which is a push because I don’t think my toes have seen the sun for about six years. Aldi’s spray has only got 15 SPF/UVB, which seems so 90s, but the texture of it perfect: silky, not sticky, just like it says on the bottle. There’s a top-note of alcohol (the rubbing kind, sadly) but it dries down to a delicious, tropical coconutty fragrance. Sure, at that price you can reapply with abandon, and might only need two for your hols, if you’re lucky with the weather.

JO MALONE Velvet Rose & Oud Dry Body Oil, €62
***
The scent is gorgeous: not too rosey, not too masculine, but the combination of the oud and the rose is rich and sexy. The spray bottle is unwieldy, and as many ways as I tried to get the most out of an application — whether by spraying all over myself without rubbing it in until I was done, or spraying into one hand and applying as I went along —  slippy hands made it hard work. The staying power makes it worth the struggle. #FirstWorldProblems.

***

Hugs & Kisses: A Flying Visit to Smashbox

12 Jun

Back in January, on a wander through the East End of London whilst visiting a pal, we came upon Boxpark, a clever pop-up set-up in Shoreditch. I related my Urban Ears PR horror story {back when I used to review gadgets, I was asked to return the headphones I was reviewing. Yuck} and we moved on. Just a few weeks ago, I spent a morning in the Smashbox pop up; considering the constraints of the ‘box’, they more than managed to make the space their own.

SMASHUP

Mood board; Da gang; Janine demonstrates hugs + kisses on Heather; new shades of Be Legendary lipstick

Above, a mash-up — indeed, a Smash-up — of some of the highlights of MUA and National Makeup Coach Janine Bird‘s masterclass. The highlight of the morning was the contouring lesson using the brand’s Step By Step Contour Stick Trio, three softer-than-soft pencils for highlighting, contouring and bronzing. Here’s an introductory video from Lori Taylor Davis, Global Pro Lead Artist for the brand {who did my makeup once!}; Janine applied contour beneath the cheekbone in Xs, and highlight on the cheekbone in Os, and blended them flawlessly together, what she called using ‘hugs and kisses’. It worked amazingly well, it’s easy to remember — and cute! — and it prevents one from drawing on one’s face like a child drawing on a wall and making a mess.

05 MIIIINE

Miiiiiiine!

The clutch of lippys in the collage are all new shades in the Be Legendary line; above is Fireball Matte, that literally has my name on it. Now, this is definitely at the warm, orange-y end of the spectrum, the end I generally avoid. I’m glad I didn’t and availed of the expertise of MUA Heather Jackson, because:

06 FIREBALL

As seen in the wild {the back of the number 8 bus to Tottenham Court Road Station}

It’s not all that orange-y, and it lasted until the burger I had at Stanstead on the way home! That’s me off on a jaunt on the number 8 bus to the National Portrait Gallery, where the John Singer Sargeant show was slightly disappointing, but the view from the rooftop café was boss.

Fog + Rain + Big Ben = London

Fog + Rain + Big Ben = London

I’ve got a few things to take for a spin:

Smashbox collection

That’s a new face right there

There’s the pencils, along with two of the new LA Lights Blendable Lip & Cheek Color. Also: the Donald Robertson Photo Angle Pure Pigment Gel Liner is in purrrrrrple, and the upside down thing is a bronzer {d’oh!}

Do call in to your local Smashbox counter and get your face did — you’ll learn something new and end up being able to use whatever you purchase to their best effect!

***

Smashbox are in Arnotts in Henry Street, Dublin and in good pharmacies nationwide. Check the store locator at smashbox.com.

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Beautyfull News: NARS, Max Factor, Rimmel London, Payot

9 Jun

BEAUTYFULL NEWS 02It’s mainly about colour for me this week, with a bit ‘o’ skincare thrown in.

NARS Christopher Kane Violet Atom Multiple {€40}
****
Lips and cheeks and general highlighting are covered by a multiple, and NARS are well known for their contributions to this cosmetic enhancement. I have to say, I don’t know where I’d be without my Orgasm — but what gal would, in fairness? This is an iridescent tube of purple-y/silvery goodness and it’s all I can do to not draw all over my face with it. I find it wears away more quickly than I’d like, so be prepared to reapply often. This is a limited edition!

MAX FACTOR Creme Puff Blush {€11.49}
****
I reach for this more often than not — and I’ve got an Hourglass trio of Ambient Blush sitting right there. This is effectively a dupe for said Ambients, and has equal pigment and durability. I don’t know, I think because it is less spendy, I feel like I can use it on a daily basis? I have nothing bad to say about this at all, although it could use more impact in the highlight. Otherwise, this is produces a rich, expensive glow to the complexion.

RIMMEL LONDON Oh My Gloss! {€4.99}
****
Enriched with Argan Oil and Vitamin E, this is the perfect treble-purpose lip gloss. It applies (and reapplies) like a lip balm, shines like a gloss, and fades with aplomb. I found the lighter shades to be too light, but the ones that have got decent pigment — like Rebel Red (shown) and Twinkle Twinkle (not) — truly take you from desk to disco. There’s a good balance matte and sparkly choices, too.

PAYOT Élixir Idéal Skin-Perfecting Illuminating Serum {49.50}
***
I am currently motoring through a Payot moisturiser, which never happens — I never finish a moisturiser. I’ll be writing about that soon, but until such time, I got stuck in to this. I love a good serum, and this is pretty good. I’m finding it absorbs that bit too quickly — I don’t think my skin is suffering from unusual dryness, but it is ‘summer’ after all. I’m not giving up on it, just saying that it’s not been an immediate ‘love’.

***

I Try Before You Buy: Palettes of the Eyeshadow Persuasion

8 Jun

01 YSL couture
YVES SAINT LAURENT Couture Variations 10-color Eye Palette in Tuxedo €70
*****
This is an almost unbelievable world of combinations here, in a wealth of textures — although they do err on the side of sparkly, a side I have been known to err on lo these many years. It’s suits its name as it does feel very formal, but don’t be put off by strength of the pigments: the key matte shades are there for day, and the deeply rich ones (love the navy) are there to transition you into the evening. The lightest touch has you covered, and the colours stay strong.

02 ISADORA eye bar
ISADORA Eye Color Bar in Nude Essentials €17.50
***
These are not rich in pigment, but they are long-lasting, the perfect sort of non-dramatic hue and intensity for a day at the office. This is not damning with faint praise: most of us can’t rock up to the office like we’re ready to go clubbing at the drop of a mouse. If you want to enhance your peepers and still look professional, you won’t do any better than this — but when you are ready to drop that mouse and go out to play on a school night, you may find yourself caught short. The Surf & Sun Eye Color bar is like a Caribbean holiday in a palette, complete with yellow and green, so if you’re more adventurous, you’ll have a blast playing with it. I personally love that purple and teal…

03 NO7 mini palette
NO 7 Mini Eye Palette €14.25
***
Not just for mini eyes, ha ha. Actually, this palette isn’t at all mini, but it is slim. The ‘mini’ designation is, I think, due to the palette’s being comprised of the top shades from No7’s line of eyeshadows. These are surprisingly hefty in terms of pigment, and I’m starting to feel a little bit misled by the whole ‘mini’ designation. I like the container, it’s sleek and looks expensive, which it is so not. I’d pop this in the carry-on and go travelling with it.

04 CLARINS garden escape
CLARINS PARIS Garden Escape 6-Colour Eye Palette €41
**
Love these colours in theory, and as ever, the shades are long-lasting and rich, but that green. I don’t even know what to do with that. I played around with it, and it became apparent fairly quickly that I needed a professional to show me how to do this. If your skillz are up to it, then there’s lots to like here. If you have The Fear of mad colours, go with a classic Clarins palette.

FUSCHIA
FUSCHIA MAKE-UP The Pro Collection €45
***
This is fun! You too can walk in the footsteps of many a make-up artist, thanks to Fuschia, by personally selecting each and every color you put in your palette. You can buy a Pro Palette Senoir {€18} or Junior {€18}, and fill it repsectively woth large pans {€7.50} or small ones {€5.50}. Nothing I love better than playing with colour, so once you’ve decided to go big or go small, you can start choosing your hues. Choosing colour online, however, has inherent drawbacks. If you’ve got a good eye and decisive mind, then you are laughing. If you can’t picture the colours on your face — which is totally understandable — this may be seem daunting. I received many compliments recently when I used this, and the look lasted the whole night long.
fuschia.ie

SLEEK Vintage Romance
SLEEK MAKE-UP I-Divine Eyeshadow Palette in Vintage Romance €10
****
These mineral eye shadows have more pigment in one little pan than many palettes have in their entirety. These are very very smokey, and may be hard to manage — but practice, and you’ll get a long-lasting, dramatic look rather than a panda-bearish vibe. For a tenner, this is going to last an age and a half — perhaps even an aeon. There are 13 palettes to choose from, so for the price of many of the above, you can have the eyeshadow department of your beauty regime completely sorted for months to come. See http://www.sleekmakeup.com for the full line.

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Nails A-Go-Go: The Vintage Cosmetic Company Manicure Purse

5 Jun

Adorable and useful! What else could you want?
VINTAGE
I do love a good vintage package {…in a manner of speaking}, punctuational mistakes notwithstanding. This eminently portable manicure kit from The Vintage Cosmetics Company has it all, including a sweet floral design. It’s just the right amount of sweetness for me {I would no be an acolyte of the Cath Kidston school of twee} and I almost hate tossing it in the handbag where it might get mucked up, and certainly bashed, amidst the less delicate objects required on a daily basis.
VINTAGE outside
I heart stripes, too! This would even fit in a clutch, if you feared for a nail emergency during a special occasion. This is a clever little gift for a bride, for sure.
VINTAGE inside
Inside, as mentioned, all you need. I mean, even a cuticle-pusher. I found the emery board to be a little less sandy than I liked, but having the choice of a clipper and scissors means that I can tend to any eventuality — including a possible pedicure problem.

Love!

***

€14.10 via http://www.feelunique.com

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Those Three Little Words: Gift With Purchase (Thanks, Elizabeth Arden!)

18 May

Even now, after all these years of beauty journalism/blogging, I never tire of hearing that magical, magical phrase. This one is particularly good.

EA giveawayThe bag! So pretttttty! The content! So impressive! These sample sizes would surely last me an entire Christmas visit back to the States, and would mitigate the usual overloading-of-the-make-up/skincare-bag.

There’s a Beautiful Color Lipstick, the anti-aging Treatment Boosting Cleanser {which is the bomb}, Ceramide Capsules Daily Youth Restoring Serum which are also the bomb, two more serums, a moisture cream and a lifting cream.

So, heavy on the serum, which suits me down to the ground — can never get enough serum. I love that the lippy is there, but may have liked a targeted nighttime cream. Whatevs! It is pretty darned perfect, and is yours with purchase of two or more products.

The bag is the work of British designers Preen, and you’d almost be tempted to use it as a clutch, much less as a Product Conveyance Device For Travelling.

Get yours while you can, exclusively at Debenhams, from 21 May to 13 June — while supplies last, naturally.

***

 

Hello, Shiny! You Are Lover-ly: Lancôme Paris Shine Lover

15 May

SHINE LOVER
This is the sort of shine you’d expect from a gloss, but Lancôme Paris have managed to produce this with a lipstick. As boundaries shift and experimentation starts to pay off, the days of heavy, drying lippy may be behind us — plus, there’s no need to sacrifice pigment for comfort.

This is French Sourire, which is the precursor perhaps to the kiss of the same adjective. It’s labelled as 340, if you’re keen on it yourself. One thing that frustrates about this brand is the numbering but not naming of shades; if you are a compulsive Googler makes no odds, but if you’re trying to get posting as soon as poss, it’s one step that feels unnecessary.

Nevertheless, this is a winner: it feels light and moisturising, it looks strong and shiny, and the hues cover the usual range from nude to mulberry-ish. This lasted longer than your average gloss, as well. Lots to love!

***

€26/£21/$25

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