NYX Lipstick Misnamed, But Still Okay By Me

2 Jul

Sure, it’s not their fault really. How could NYX know? I don’t blame them, in fairness. But see, they named this lippy Harmonica, of all things.
NYX Harmonica 1
In fact, it really ought to be called Sue’s Sophomore Year in High School.
NYX Harmonica 2
Or even more simply: The 80s. Oh, the frostiness! The pinkiness! I am loving this and I do not care. It is easy to apply without looking, it actually lasts long so you needn’t even worry much about the former, and it. is. so. frosty.

I am finding the NYX line in general to be rather hit and miss: tried a mascara that was not good — very dry to apply and didn’t take a second coat — but am hoping to get to the fab eyeshadow palette Love in Paris A La Mode soon, and equally hoping I like it.

But this? In all but name, it is pure perfection.

***

NYX Round Lipstick, €5.49; available in pharmacies nationwide.

***

I Used It All Up: Eau Thermale Avène Cleanance Toner

30 Jun

… in fairness, this is in all likelihood the third one I’ve used up, if not the fourth. I heart this stuff.
CLEANANCE ALL GONE
I went and double-checked myself, but for sure, this is the first time I’ve posted about having Used This All Up. The Cleanance range is designed for blemish prone, oily skin, which I can’t say that my skin is at all, but I loved the purely clean feeling I got after using this every evening. It’s bi-phase — shake it up! — and it feels like a little breath of fresh air  post-cleanse/pre-night cream or oil.

This is great for keeping your pores from enlarging, and mattifying your complexion. It’s also a two-times-a-day job, if you choose, but I can’t imagine how quickly I’d go through this had I done so. Sigh.

Here’s something new, that I’ll probs go through for a shortcut:
AVENE XERA CALM
XeraCalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Cleansing Oil can be used all over the body, and it’s terrific if you’ve got dermatitis or eczema. Again, I’ve got neither, but I love a good oil, as it soothes and manages to get sebum production under control. Which seems counter-intuitive, but it works. And this isn’t all that oily, it feels very much like a gel, if oil makes you nervous.

The new line includes a balm and a cream; all of the products are paraben free, and suitable for children and infants, too. And of course, Avène spring water is a primary ingredient, and there’s more info about that here.

Wow, I really feel sad about that toner. Off to the chemists I go!

***

Cleanance Toner: 200mls, €15
XeraCalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Cleansing Oil: 400mls, €16.50

***

Is A Perfectly Made Up Face Your Goooooooallllllllll?

27 Jun

I have been utterly and completely distracted by the World Cup. I’ve got a backlog of about a million things I’ve been working on, but the minute the clock hits a certain hour, I am gone, totally focused on the matches of the day. In fact, I’ve got all of ten minutes before the latest round of the last group matches begins!

Do you give not a monkeys about footie? Here’s something for your face:

BENEFIT SCORE!Clever Benefit, very clever! Not only the wisdom to package something for the summer that is in it, but also because this is a perfect combination of travel sizes. I hate not being able to do my usual face when I go on hols — or perhaps to the final of a major soccer tournament* — so to have all these bits in miniature is a real treat.

As ever, can’t say enough good things about PoreFessional, and the BeneTint doubles as a lippy, too. The sample size of They’re Real is also a genius addition.

Gotta go! Chat soon about other stuff, once the first round is done!

***

Beauty Score! is €39.50, available at Debenhams, Benefit Boutiques and online at benefitcosmetics.co.uk.

***

*I have entered every competition to win a trip to the final that I could find. Wish me luck!

***

Kiehl’s: Don’t Judge a Soothing Gel Masque By Its Colour

9 Jun

I opened my little tub of Kiehl’s Soothing Gel Masque and went, ‘Urgh!’ I did, I literally expostulated. But look:
KIEHL'S GEL MASQUE
It is a little bit urghy. Not that I am averse to putting darkly coloured stuff on my face, as witnessed here and here, but there was something about this — the texture? — that is slightly ick.

I put some on.
KIEHL'S GEL MASQUE on2
My first impression was that it doesn’t look all that different to a fake tan application — which observation might give me pause as I enter into fake-tan-testing season.

It felt deliciously cool; didn’t feel sticky; was light as a feather; and felt hydrating as all get out. It’s got green tea in it, and I have to say, I was happy enough to lounge around, letting it do its thing for the prescribed 20 minutes.
KIEHL'S GEL MASQUE on1

Rinsing it off was slightly troublesome. I didn’t want to get the goo all over one of my few white face cloths, and tried to rinse with water from the tap. Eh, not so good. I was showering anyway, and that took care of the last of it, but I did find that it wasn’t great to rinse off over the sink.

But look!
POST GEL
Shiny, happy person! I am not a fan of super-sensitive-skin-anything, because I’ve got the hide of a rhino, and they make no impression whatsoever. This, though: this felt like a healthy treat, as soothing as it claims to be, and one I would recommend to pals who flare up at even the sight of a masque.
A keeper!

***

Kiehl’s Soothing Gel Masque: €20.50/£25/…
^^ Gotta say, Kiehl’s web presence is not great. Despite a flashy site, their internal search engine is rubbish. This product exists, at least in Ireland — I went all analogue and rang the shop — but as far as t’internet is concerned, this isn’t easy to find…

***

Yippy! More Lippy for 2014: Glosses, Mainly

28 May

MAC mineralise Vibrant Vibe
MAC Mineralize Glass Lip Gloss in Vibrant Vibe, €22 This absolutely luxurious, lightweight, highly pigmented stuff. I want many, many more of these, and have my eye on Lovingly Yours and Wake Up! as well… and there’s a baby pink one that looks cute as a button.

***
Rimmel Rumour Has It
RIMMEL LONDON Colour Rush Long Lasting Intense Colour Balm in Rumour Has It, €7.99 Honestly, Rimmel are playing a blinder with these balms. They feel light, look intensely pigmented, and stain the lips juuuuust a tiny bit so that you don’t need to keep reapplying. I consider this to be a good thing.

***
Catrice made to stay Megan Fuchsia
CATRICE COSMETICS Made To Stay Smoothing Lip Polish in Megan Fuchsia, €5.49 I googled that a couple of times just to make sure that was the name, which it is, and which I find a bit awk, TBH. Not awk: the bluey-red that I love so much, and pretty good staying power. Awk: the applicator has no give, and will have to break it in. Until such time, I have to go really easy on the curves or else I look like I’ve had wonky collagen!

***
KARDASHIAN in the nude
KARDASHIAN BEAUTY Au Naturel Lip Kit in In The Nude, €18.99 Okay, this is my third go-to nude. Whatever! Can’t have too many go-to nude lip things! I used the thin liner part of the kit, so I must have really wanted matte. There’s a nude gloss that accompanies it, just in case I change my mind and want a bit of shine. It’s win/win!

***
Pür lip gloss stick in Fling|Adventure
PÜR MINERALS Lip Gloss Stick in Fling|Adventure, €22 I do like this tone quite a lot; I find the texture of this to be a bit plastic, and the price a bit much, considering the rest of the category. I do like it, though — just not head-over-heels.

Below: because this is such a crazy way to take a picture, and because it shows the taupe-ness of it to greater effect:
PUR 2
***
And then I was going to on about how excellent I have found GIORGIO ARMANI’s 505 to be, and couldn’t remember the full name, and also got annoyed as usual about Il Maestro’s numbering system, and googled it, and found myself.
OOPS ARMANI
I FOUND MYSELF. Google knows everything, including enough to remind me that I did in fact talk about Lip Maestro Intense Velvet Colour {€28.50} before.

***

Evolution Keratin and IRS: A Match Made in Hair Heaven

26 May

On Tuesday, 25 February, I went back to Queen Salon in Aungier Street to avail of another Intense Revival System treatment. I wrote about it here, and had been pleased to have gotten more than the predicted four weeks of straightness out of that session. This time, I was determined to make it last even longer, with the help of Evolution Keratin products, which range from Shampoo and Conditioner to styling cream.

Here we are on Day One.
FIRST DAY

The first few days pass in giddy delight: The Hair is straight without being flat, and it dries in a finger snap. The shine! The shine is spectac, as whatever the IRS does to de-wave the hair also makes my highlights pop. Other benefits include repair to damaged follicles, UVA/UVB protection, and strengthening of hair weakened by chemical processing.

WEEK 2

eVOLUTION FAVES

eVolution Keratin Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner, and Blowout Treatment

Week Two! Looking good, thanks to the products pictured here. I mainly hate sulfate-free shampoos, which is silly, I know, because they are so much better for your hair. I’ve said it before: I just don’t feel like The Hair is clean if there’s not an abundance of suds. Not the case here! This feels really effective, and the conditioner is excellent as well. Sometimes the conditioner half of a sulfate-free duo can be utter rubbish, in that I have to use nearly three times as much as with a regular concoction. Not so with this stuff.

I especially liked the Blowout Treatment: I’ve been enamoured of oils for years now, it seems, and this cream has me kind of converted back to more old school stylin’. Two pumps will do ya; I will say that one needed to do rather a lot of pumping to get the flow going, as it were. I don’t know it that’s a good thing or a bad thing, it’s just a thing.

All the products are loaded up with Argan Oil. I have been wary of Argan Oil in the past, as it tends to dull down blondeness, but I didn’t have any issue with that in this instance.

WEEK 5
We are at Week Five. This is when it all started to go to pieces the last time. You can see some of the thickness coming back, but it still looks pretty sleek.

WEEK 8.
Week Eight, and I didn’t use the magical Evolution brew — can you tell? Of course you can.

WEEK 11!
Week Eleven! Seriously! That would have made it… the first week in May. So very pleased.

I have to say, just yesterday, when I was wringing my hair out prior to blasting it dry, I realised that I was wringing my hair out, and had a sad. The IRS is all gone now, and I can really feel it. Hmmm, must give the shampoo and conditioner a go, and see how well they do on their own…
JUST THE PRODUCTS
They do pretty darn well. Seems like I’ve got straight hair on tap!

***

I got my Intense Revival System treatment at Queen Salon, Aungier Street, Dublin 2.
€55 including blow dry
http://www.queen.ie

Evolution Keratin products are available from the salons that offer the IRS. See http://www.evolutionkeratin-eu.com and @EvoProof for more info.

***

Oh, The Relief! CND Solar Oil

21 May

CND SOLAR OILI’ve been away from my desk for the last while — working at desks in offices, and ahem, away for the weekend in the South of France — and if there was any sound indicator that I haven’t been sitting in my own seat, it’s one look at my cuticles.

I’d have to put up some sort of trauma warning if I was to post a photo of them. Like the WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT that the Daily Mail often trots out. {Yeah, tell me you don’t often visit the Sidebar of Shame.}

They are in rag order, and the reason they are is because: not at my desk, where all my nail treats live. They live here because since I mainly work from home, and because I am so bad at tending to my nail health, it seemed like if I kept them right next to my computer, I would actually use them.

This plan works, when I am actually here.

Anyway! I just applied a healthy amount of CND Solar Oil: Nail & Cuticle Conditioner, and if my nails could moan, it would be in ecstasy. They were being all ridgey, and the cuticles themselves were raggy and growing at a pace that threatened to cover my nails completely. This was like bathing them in a pool of joyous angel tears — I can feel the benefit already, and the oil hasn’t even sunken in fully.

As oils go, this is not that oily! I literally started this post directly after brushing on the treatment. Sweet almond oil meets vitamin E in a blend that is light, and feels like it’s healing all the way down to the bed of the nail, in addition to rehydrating my poor cuticles.

As ever, with any quality product, a little goes a long way, and €8 for the bottle is a snip. I am just about ready to go another round…

***

BaByliss Perfect Curl: Is It Worth the Effort?

19 May

I have been gasping to get my hands on one o’ these yokes for ages. The BaByliss Perfect Curl has been an absolute unicorn in my life. Given my column in The Herald, and my assiduous blogging in this corner of the internet, it proved to be impossible to secure a sample of this implement from the brand’s public relations representatives. So, off to the googles I went, and came upon a site that was selling them for an incredibly good price* {hint: ‘cheap babyliss curl’} and it was in my hot little hands in about ten days.

How badly do I want curly hair? That desire was tested in the extreme.

I took this selfie at 15:04, GMT, Sunday, 18 May, 2014.
01 STRAIGHT UP
I plugged ‘er in, and waited while she juiced herself up. I kept my specs on, as I needed to read the directions.

THE IMPLEMENT

The BaByliss Perfect Curl


They were pretty straightforward:
> Always have the gray dot that appears on the one side of the implement pointed towards your head. This has something to do with heat, and not burning yourself.
> Choose how long you want your dry, clean, well-brushed hair to cook {12, 10, 8 seconds; there is also a 0 in that section, which makes absolutely no sense to me.}
> Choose which direction in which you want the hair to curl {Left, right, auto}{Chose auto, seriously, why make this any more complicated?}
> Take a 3mm-wide hank of hair, lay it into it in the maw of the implement and clasp it closed.
> When it beeps four times: release, emit curl.

Oh, yeah, and clip your hair into smaller hanks.
02 CLIPPIN
Because if you’re me, you’ll start out with the best intentions and then get bored stupid, and begin grabbing bits of hair, rhymelessly and reasonlessly, just to get it over with.

I began, after a few false starts — to the point where I’d cocked it up so badly that I had to turn the implement off, and turn it on again.

What happens is: if you’ve put too much hair in the thing, it kinda groans as it tries to pull all that hair into itself. It will also beep four times and then make no noise at all, so you know that you’ve done it wrong. I did it wrong several times, and once you stop squeezing it closed, you hair basically falls out of it.

No hair was harmed in the making of this post.
03 HALFWAY
Holy God, this is only halfway, and I want to kill someone.

When you do it right, the implement merrily curls up the hair with a happy curling sound, and then beeps in an intermittent fashion, and then beeps four times in quick succession, and then you have your curl.

Things I learned at this stage:
> If you think you’ve brushed your hair properly, brush it again. The tangles that lurk, even when you think you’ve done a thorough job of it!
> Take the smallest hank of hair you’ve ever held in your hand, in the whole of your life — then divide it in half. And divide it again. This is the amount of hair that will be successfully be drawn into the maw.
> Use clips. I would have been lost without these:
05 CLIPS

Is it worth it?
04 OH!
I think so…
06 FULL EFFECT
I think that once I get a hair cut, it’ll look less straggly at the ends? But those poor ends were the initial tresses that got the brunt of my inability to do it right; had I not had more than enough of curling, I would have gone over them again.

I officially powered down at 15.44. So with mistakes, and turning off and back on: the guts of 40 minutes to do this head.

The head felt awfully top heavy, so I finger-combed a bit.
OH THAT'S CURLY
Okay, I think I do like it. It seems really dry and flyaway, though — and this is second day hair, as well. Maybe next time, so that it takes even longer, I’ll use a styling spray on each miniscule lock of hair.

***
THE NEXT DAY. Now: I did all the curling yesterday, and never left the house, so there was no environmental wear and tear. I blasted the roots with dry shampoo and twisted it up into a knot, and slept. I combed it out lightly, and thus:
NEXT DAY
I haven’t used hair spray in about a decade, but think that if I was going out and intending to keep this hair looking good, I’d have to use some class of holding product.

I also feel like I’m always fiddling with it, making sure it is okay and wavy and fluffy and voluminous.

Verdict? High maintenance; wouldn’t do it everyday; but totally worth it.

***

*Thanks to lovelygirliebits for the heads up {ha, ha,} re: the benefits of googling this object.

***

I Used It — Them! — All Up: A Head-to-Toe Miscellany from Lancôme, Dermalogica, Pixy Natural, and Merumaya

5 May

I turfed through loads of stuff this week — and it took me long enough. It is with some sadness that I present what I have used all up, because I was hoarding all of these. It had to be done, though, and all came in especially useful in recent times.

Trust me, this one is all used up, barring jabbing the top of it open with an awl, or something:
LANCOME BI-FACIL
I mean, that’s not even one eye’s worth of make up remover. Au revoir, LANCÔME Non Oily Instant Cleanser for Sensitive Eyes {€28.50} — je t’aime pour toujours. This removes the smokiest of the smoky eye, and doesn’t make my vision all vaseline-y up, like some equally effective but oil-based removers can do.

***

DERMALOGICA MINERAL SALTS
I had been hoarding this stuff forever. Initially, I found the scent of DERMALOGICA’S hydro-active mineral salts {€31.50} to be a bit pong-y, and who knows, it may have been my own sense of smell that needed adjusting. Or I just got used to it. I don’t know! But I needed it bad these past few weeks, first as I was recovering from an injury sustained from horseriding, and then I needed the even badder to recover from going back horseriding.

This sea salt concoction is stuffed full of relaxing essential oils, including lavender, clary sage, and cinnamon, amongst many. Bonus: my skin felt like silk, in addition to my muscles being completely soothed.

SRSLY, all gone…
DERMALOGICA EMPTY

***

Speaking of lavender, here’s PIXY NATURAL’s Lavender Bath Bomb {€3.45}. Well, duh, it got used all up, you may be thinking. No, not so ‘duh’, as I have tried bombs in the past that fizzled out juuust before having totally dissolved, leaving me with a freaky moonrock lookin’ thing that, funnily enough, disintegrated when I let it dry out, to try to use it a second time.

PIXY LAVENDER BATH BOMB

This fizzes all the pieces, in the best possible sense. It’s got little bits of actual lavender in it, and I turned to this relaxing little thing when I’d used up the Dermalogica salts, and I wasn’t sorry.

One thing, though.
PIXY PACKAGING
There’s the plastic wrap this comes in, and then another round of wrap, which I didn’t discover until I was in the bath, ready to drop the bomb, as it were, and had to fumble with wet fingers to liberate it. Just so ya know.

***

Goodbye, Merumaya Intergrative Effective Skincare, in more ways than one…
MERUMAYA
This was another thing for which the scent was an acquired taste, but once I got into it, I loved it. The brand have an extensive line, and this, their Iconic Youth Serum {£34.50}, was like rubbing velvet and angel feathers all over my face. I found this to be notably effective when used at night, as I awoke radiant.

Sadly, the brand are no longer available in Arnotts — you’ll have to buy online at merumaya.com. As a way towards easing our pain, shipping fees will be dropped to match those of the UK, from a tenner to £3.95, or freeeeeee if you spend over £40.

***

Here’s a Q&A I did with Merumaya founder Maleka Dattu, just as a matter of interest!

***

Yippy! Lippy: New for 2014

21 Apr

BOURJOIS ROUGE EDITION VELVET
BOURJOIS Rouge Edition Velvet in Hot Pepper, €12.49 Very intense, in the best possible sense. I found it to be a tiny bit tacky when it dried, as do most class of lippy that claims to be completely smudge-proof and matte. This is great for occasion-wear, but I don’t think I could stick the high maintenance of it during the day. Hence the rather sober-looking gob.

***

CLINIQUE MATTE MAGENTA
CLINIQUE Long Last Soft Matte Lipstick in Magenta €20 As a devoted fan of the brand’s Black Honey Almost Lipstick, I haven’t ventured very far — okay, I haven’t ventured anywhere else in their lipstick line. I am encouraged to do so here: this is as soft as promised, and it’s got the typically dense pigment of a matte, sans the dryness. There’s a gorgeous orange just waiting to be snapped up by those who can wear it well — sadly, not me.

***

DIEGO DELLA PALMA
DIEGO DELLA PALMA Glossy Lipstick in Natural Pink, €20 I don’t know, this is more like a neutral to me, not a pink… Whatevs, this is my go-to nude for the summer. It feels fab

***

ME ME ME PERSIAN PINK
MEMEME Longwear Satin Lip Cream in Persian Pink, €10.50 That’s MeMeMe — looks much better in U&lc. Um, okay, the above is my light go-to nude for the summer, and this is my medium go-to nude for the summer. This has all the lush richness of a Leading Department Store Brand, at half the price.

***

MICHAEL KORS BOMBSHELL
MICHAEL KORS Lip Lacquer in Bombshell, €30.50 Ah! So sexy! There’s a fantastic gloss in this line as well, which I thought I’d prefer, but I like this lipstick equally.

***

REVLON COLOURBURST LACQUER BALM
REVLON ColourBurst Lacquer Balm in Vivacious, €11.20 So shiny! With a touch of sparkle! Plus hydration! I am all over these lip crayons — I find the texture and staying power to be terrific, and again: The. Shine.

Also!
REVLON COLOURBURST MATTE BALM
REVLON ColourBurst Matte Balm in Audacious, also €11.20 The matte version! OMG, using alll the exclamation marks! I am not at all a fan of coral-on-me, but this suits really well, and again, loving the texture and the moisturising. There’s also a tiny zap of mint or something: an unexpected little bit of refreshment.

ColorBurst can do no wrong by me, clearly.

***

There are more to come, as I can’t get enough of cosmetics for the mouth. Pictured, the thingie in the on-the-way-out-the-door place, where I make my lip coverage decisions on a daily basis:
LIPPY ARCHIVE
I think a trip in the wayback machine may be in order. Sure, good lippy never goes out of style.

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