The Let-Downs.

marzo 22, 2014

NARS The NARSissist Eyeshadow Palette // H&M Makeup Sponge // MUFE HD Microfinish  Powder // Bumble and Bumble. Surf Spray // Guerlain Rouge G L'extrait in Paresse // Illamasqua Precision Gel Liner in Infinity // Estee lauder Double Wear Stay-in-place Makeup
One of the thing I enjoy the most about beauty blogging is browsing the internet for new products to try; I read loads of reviews, look for swatches if the case and gather as many information as possible. Every so often though, no matter how thorough my research was, some products fall short, don't live up to the hype or simply don't work for me. I try to keep things positive around here, because, let's face it, writing about amazing products it's just so much more fun, but I think the time has finally come for you to meet some of the products of my flop list.

First up is my most recent fiasco, the NARS NARSissist Eyeshadow Palette (£55). Infuriating doesn't even begin to describe this palette and my experience with it. It's undeniably gorgeous, with the perfect mix of warm and cool neutral shades and a combination of matte, pearl and shimmer textures. Unfortunately the eyeshadows themselves are totally rubbish, chalky and extremely hard to blend; also, the pigmentation is so poor is not even remotely comparable to the intense color pay-off that most of the shadows offer in their single and duo form. Also, after reading a lot of enthusiastic reviews I realized that the quality is not consistent from palette to palette - either that or people don't know what buttery soft and super pigmented mean -; there's no way to control this aspect, therefore I highly recommend you stick to the single eyeshadows or simply check out other nude palette offerings.

I've been raving about Bumble and Bumble. products lately as I love pretty much everything I've tried from their range, but there's one product that really doesn't work for me. The uber popular Surf Spray (£21.50) does everything it says on the bottle - gives volume and an effortless, tousled beach look - but sadly doesn't get on well with my hair: it makes my sensitive scalp oh so itchy and feels a bit drying on the ends as well. I kind of like it but I get the same result with more gentle products, like the fabulous and beautifully scented Bumble and Bumble Thickening Hairspray (£7.50).
Illamasqua is another brand that I absolutely adore and hardly ever lets me down. The Precision Gel Liner (£18) in the shade Infinity is extra black and incredibly pigmented but for some reason it doesn't set and ends up smudged on the upper lid and in the inner corner of my eyes. The formula is supposed to be long-wearing and water-resistant but it doesn't quite keep its word. I also tried it on a client and experienced a lot of blotchiness and a very difficult application: as I was refining the wing, the more product I applied the more it came off with the brush. Not a winner in my books, sorry.

The Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-place Makeup (£27.50) is possibly one of the most hyped up foundations on the market and, for that reason, it was a huge letdown for me. At this day I still can't understand what all the fuss is about. It's heavy, it looks like makeup - a lot of it actually -, smells like moldable paste and above all it feels like a clay mask on the skin because once it sets, I feel the weirdest pulling sensation. I used it during summertime, with primers, I mixed it with lighter foundations... Nothing I do seems to work to make this base any better.
Another top rated product that everyone but me seems to love is the Makeup Forever HD Microfinish Powder (£24.95). My biggest complaint with this is that it looks ashy on pretty much every skintone I've tried it on, whilst the Laura Mercier Universal (£29) or the Vichy Dermablend Setting Powder (£14.50) for instance, are actually invisible on the skin. Apart from that, it's ok, I guess, but nothing more; it does mattify the skin but not as well and for as long as other similar products and it does blur pores but, again, not as well as more recent releases. There're so many amazing setting powders on the market I wouldn't spare this one a passing glance to be honest.

Plenty of very positive reviews at the time convinced me I needed to try the Guerlain Rouge G L'extrait (£29.50) but as it turned out, I could definitely do without it. There's something really upsetting about this liquid lipstick. It could be the dopey packaging, which weights almost as much as my phone does, or the dark pink shade - I own Paresse - that looks a bit dull due to the not-quite-matte, not-quite-satin finish. On top of everything, it's quite sticky and not at all long-lasting on me and I actually ended up eating all of it along with my quick lunch once, which was quite annoying to say the least.

Lastly, there was a time I thought sponges couldn't be bad - I mean, a sponge is a sponge, right? - but something clearly went wrong with the H&M Makeup Sponge (£1.99). It's rough, it doesn't apply foundation evenly and is so dense it's definitely really unpleasant to bounce around the face. Don't let the cute bubblegum pink and the price tag fool you; those two are actually the only good aspects about this blender.

Have you tried any of these products? Any fans out there or you're just equally disappointed as I am with these guys? Do you have any beauty let-down to share?


February Favourites.

marzo 17, 2014

REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk // Bumble and Bumble Bb Thickening Dryspun Finish // Caudalie Baume Gourmand Corps* // Eve Lom Dynaspot // Antipodes Apostle Skin Brightening & Tone Correcting Serum // Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream // Clarins Instant Concealer
February has been for sure the month of the new finds. A lot of product testing happened in the last few weeks and some of those said findings not only turned out to be great, but jumped straight to the top of my 'most loved' roster.

First up, I've become quite the cleanser obsessive lately and the REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk (£16) (former Hydra-Calm Cleansing Milk) is the one I can't stop talking about. It's unlike any other cleansing milk I've tested in the past - rich, almost buttery - and it has done wonders for my dry and dehydrated skin from the very first use. It's so soothing, gentle yet effective, and while I prefer using it in the morning to start the day off right with an extra moisture boost, it does remove makeup quite well, with just a wee bit of struggling with the long lasting and waterproof kind. It's absolutely dreamy and definitely something I look forward to using every day.

Another skincare favourite of the month is the Antipodes Apostle Skin Brightening & Tone Correcting Serum (£41.99). I've been using it morning and night before my moisturizer and right after a couple of days I could already notice a difference: my skin felt deeply nourished and looked so much brighter and more even. It's such a great all-around serum: it brightens, reduces redness and dark spots, protects the skin from environmental damage, prevents aging - can't swear about this one but my skin feels great thanks to this little guy and I'm confident it won't disappoint on the long run -, keeps my complexion supple and hydrated, you name it. It's not the most affordable serum on the market but good skincare products are always worth splurging for in my opinion. Oh, and did I mention it smells like strawberries?

The Eve Lom Dynaspot (£22) has truly been a life saviour; my skin misbehaved quite a bit in reaction to a product that clearly didn't work for me and was in need of a good quick fix. Thanks to salicylic acid and other natural antiseptic ingredients this spot treatment helps get rid of blemishes and quickly knocks down redness and irritation without drying out the actual spot or the skin around it. My favourite way to use it is as an overnight treatment, dotting it around where needed, but it can also be used under makeup, blended out as if it was an off-white, opaque corrector. Definitely a hero product for me.

You might not be aware of this yet but although I'm completely obsessed with my facial skincare routine, I am quite lazy when it comes to moisturizing my body daily. Which is why I love the Caudalie Vine Body Butter (£19)* so much: it's super creamy and so moisturizing I can get away with using it every other day and it melts so quickly into the skin I'm good to go and ready to slip into my pyjamas in nothing flat. The unique scent - a mix of grape and bitter oranges that is tart, sweet and fresh at the same time - is such a treat after a hot shower and I absolutely love how it lingers both on my skin and my clothes for hours.

On to makeup, I think everyone of us said 'Lisa Eldridge made me do it' at least once - more like a million times as far as I'm concerned but still - and this is definitely the case. I don't know about you guys, but I'm so over the whole bb and cc cream thing, I swear just hearing the word makes me cringe these days; nonetheless, after watching this video I had to get my mitts on the Bourjois 123 Perfect Colour Correcting Cream (£9.99). No wonder it has been scooping up amazing reviews everywhere since its release: it's so light it feels like nothing on the skin and gives that beautiful perfected look without actually looking like makeup. I do need to use concealer here and there but it still offers enough coverage to correct redness and dark spots, almost as well as the Healthy Mix foundation does. If lighter-than-air texture and gorgeous, glowy finish are what you seek for in a base definitely give this cc cream a go.
Next up on my fresh faced lineup is the Clarins Instant Concealer (£21), my latest discovery in the concealer department, and I can't even begin to tell you how amazing it is. Creamy and easy to blend, it gives a striking glow to the skin. It's brightening but provides an amazing coverage, hiding both dark circles and blemishes, and doesn't settle into fine lines despite the moisturizing formula. Extra brownie points because I don't need to set it with powder and therefore I can enjoy its dewy look all day. A true winner in my books! Is it too soon to call it 'The One'?

On to hair at last, I'd eyed up the Bumble and Bumble Bb Thickening Dryspun Finish (£21.50) for a very long time but I simply couldn't justify the price tag for a fancy hairspray. I finally bit the bullet when a Sephora birthday coupon landed into my mailbox at the end of January and seriously, I've been mentally-kicking myself for how long it took to add this fabulous product to my hair wardrobe ever since. This sits somewhere in between a hairspray and a dry shampoo, as it gives a soft demi-matte look to the hair while adding a bit of fullness but also enough hold to make the extra volume last without making the hair look or feel crispy. I absolutely adore the tousled, second day-hair finish; the extra body and grit make my otherwise thin and fluffy hair so much more manageable and easier to style.

What have you been loving last month?
*Press Sample