Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Viva (Glam) Forever - VG1 and VG Rihanna Review & Swatches

MAC. A brand which arguably has a place in every beauty fanatics heart, the place where it all starts. For me, MAC was certainly the brand that I took that leap from drugstore to department store, the promised land, the holy grail.  But surprisingly in 2014 a lot of us beauty bloggers have kind of forgotten about the brand. With the countless collections it is hard to keep up, but when I heard that the coveted Stereo Rose MSF was being brought back for another collection (A fantasy of flowers, to be precise) I thought I'd touch base with my old friend. This brings me to my chosen topic, Viva Glam; not wanting to pay postage lead me to thinking what else to put in my basket which became a bit of a no brainer - the new Viva Glam Rihanna Lipstick.

Left-Right: Viva Glam Rihanna and Viva Glam I

Top-Bottom: Viva Glam I and Viva Glam Rihanna

Viva Glam I

Viva Glam Rihanna

In 2013, Rihanna was MAC's golden girl, so a logical choice for the new face of the Viva Glam campaign - a fund which helps those dealing with HIV/AIDS, and what is more amazing is every penny you spend on VG products, goes into that kitty. The campaign was launched back in 1994, and the original was relaunched last year, which I promptly picked up: it's a deep, almost bloody red with a matte finish - basically a perfect lipstick for yours truly. This year's launch is a bold true red in a frost finish - the first frost finish lipstick from MAC that I own, and this lipstick leaves an almost metallic sheen on the lips. Both of which are of the quality you expect from MAC, they also wear down nicely and leave an even stain on your lips. I would say the pigmentation is sheerer in the Rihanna lipstick, but the texture means a few swipes and you've got built up, full on coverage like you see in the bullet. Both can also be rubbed into the lips for a nice tint, with Rihanna's leaving a bit of a sheen to the lips. Oh, and lest we forget that dreamy vanilla MAC lipstick scent.

Overall, I totally urge you to either get these, or something else from the Viva Glam range at MAC. If these colours aren't for you there is something for everyone in the permanent VG collection (next on my list are II and III!) No word as to whether the Rihanna VG will join the other 6 in the permanent range (unfortunately the recent Lady Gaga/Cyndi Lauper and Nicki/Ricky campaigns have been limited edition) but it is currently shelled in a beauty red rubberised limited edition packaging. MAC lipsticks are known for their quality and these particular ones help such a great cause, and in premium beauty, £15 too much to part with.

Have you got any Viva Glam lipsticks?
What is your favourite MAC shade?
Let us know in the comments!

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Alice's February Haul!

Hey guys! I've just posted a new haul giant haul video on our YouTube channel!! This is some of the things I've picked up so far this month and I thought I'd share it with you guys!! I'd love to know what sort of videos you'd like to see from us in the future, you can leave us a comment or tweet me!!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Glossybox First Impressions February 2014

I always try my best to post my beauty box reviews as soon as I get them, rather than wait to put them up for my Wednesday post, however this week time around the stars aligned and my Glossybox turned up on my doorstep and here we are! This month Glossy's theme is 'Be Mine' - a theme fairly common this time of year, although the Glossy team are urging us to love ourselves, family and friends, as well as our other halves, thus the contents being an indulgent one (speaking of indulgence, have you read my pamper night treats?) This edition's mag includes an interview with the founder of Ciate, a feature on blushes, some recommendations of products as well as indulgent beauty treatments! Enough of the mag, let's look at the products!!

Nougat is one of those brands that I refer to as 'beauty box brands' as I swear that it's the only place I find them! I had a sample of their hand cream a while back and it was rather nice! I can see why this was included in a Valentine's box, if you're planning on flashing a bit of flesh (ooh err) when it's been covered up during these winter months, you may want to give your skin a bit of pazazz, although for me this is probably more of a summer product.

Eldora Eyelashes - B164 £4.50 For 1 Pair
The lashes I received are absolutely enormous in both length and volume, so for an very occasional lash user like myself, they do look rather daunting. That being said, I know a fair few of my friends who would love a set like these, the seam also looks fairly sturdy so I think you'll be able to reuse them a few times if you're careful with them!

I do really like ciate nail polishes, the pigmentation is great, and they are fairly long wearing. The colour I received is called 'Cocktail Dress' (don't you just love reading the names of nail varnishes?) which is a nice pinky raspberry colour!

This is a brand I've never heard of before, and am quite intrigued by, they're a British brand and also cruelty free. Although I usually try my best to stay away from conditioning shampoos as I hate being a little greaseball, I think my hair deserves a nice little treat every now and again, and the conditioner looks like the perfect trip away companion.

Maybelline ColorSensational Stripped Nudes Lipstick in Honey Beige
I had heard about this collection in the states and was wondering when it was going to hit the shelves in the UK, low and behold I have one in my GB! The shade I received - Honey Beige - in the bullet looked a tad too pale and a tad too brown for my natural rosy hued lips, but I'm pleasantly surprised I can make it work. With a bit of blotting, the shade looks nice and natural and I think would be great if I'm sporting a strong eye/lip look.

Glossybox have been nice this month and thrown in an edible extra - a Lindt chocolate bar - which again was scoffed as soon as I set eyes on it, so unfortunately it isn't pictured. Glossybox also love giving discount codes, and this month there are some for Eldora and Lindt (yeah that's right, discounted chocolate.) Glossybox are also running a rather spectacular competition this month - the chance to win a £1000 holiday voucher - a competition I would certainly l-o-v-e to win, and great if you're thinking of a romantic get away. I've included my entry to the competition in the post, where I used my most recent lippy purchase (did someone say, haul?) and I'm very much keeping my fingers crossed!! Overall, I'm rather impressed with this month's box, three products are full size, and the others are fairly sizeable too, and I do think they're all season appropriate which is a bonus!

Are you subscribed to Glossybox?
Do you love the selection of products this month?

Let us know!!

Monday, 17 February 2014

Big Wolf On Campus

Hello! These past four weeks have been rather hectic for me! I've started back at university, so have been trying my best to jump straight in and knuckle down, on my third day I got the opportunity to do some silkscreen printing, which is one of my favourite things, ever. I also celebrated my two year anniversary with my boyfriend, so we went to Bath for the day, visited the Roman Baths which I haven't done since I was in primary school! I've also been my typical self and gone and got myself a few new beauty bits. As mentioned in my January Favourites, I managed to get my hands on the Nars x Guy Bourdin One Night Stand cheek palette, which is my gateway into Nars powder products, and boy is it beautiful. A Model Recommends ran a competition to win the newly reformulated Effaclar Duo + (read my rave of the original here) and I won! It was a great day when I received this! Speaking of new releases, I picked up two new Bourjois products - their new mascara and their new eyeliner - road testing is in progress, so stay tuned!! The next month has me seeing Fall Out Boy - my absolute favourite band - in Cardiff, more uni work (snoop on my design blog here), and hopefully more videos!!

How are you guys doing?
Looking forward to the spring?

You can read my last Instagram update here
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Thursday, 13 February 2014

Birchbox February 2014 First Impressions

Today has been a very lovely day thanks to Mr Postman. My first delivery was this month's Birchbox - which had a rather soggy corner (I am done with this rain) but luckily the products inside are all spick and span. This month's theme is 'Love Style' - which can I say I think is a stroke of genius. With London Fashion Week starting this very Friday which also just so happens to be Valentine's Day, this theme is bloody perfect. The postcards this month feature a how-to on liquid liner, the staff's style icons and some of their favourite products featured in this month's box. Speaking of this month's box, this is what I got!

Birchbox's Retail For £10 Plus P+P

Swatches Galore: The 'A' is swatch of Eyeko's Skinny Liquid Liner and I've already painted my nails with
Leighton Denny's 'Meet Me In Monaco' Nail Colour!

I'm unsure whether or not Birchbox own this brand or not, because it is only available through them, and the only place I have heard about it. Either way, I've used the original beauty protector, which is a souped up heat protectant which is actually quite nice to use. This product also aims to protect from heat and UV, as well as nourishing the hair and prevent breakage.

This eyeliner has been in my sights for some time. The first time I learnt of a liner in a pen format, was this one and I'm unsure why I put it off for all this time. Luckily Birchbox have saved the day and given me a product I've been eager to try for a long time! After my swatching sesh the colour is highly pigmented, the nib is firm and the formula seems good to work with - all great points in it's favour!

This brand seems like one with a good heart - proudly displaying it's vegetarian society approved status and that it is against animal testing, but I must admit I've never heard of it before. This markets itself as a gentle exfoliator so could slot quite nicely into a daily skin routine.

A collection perfect for LFW, this is a really nice smelling shower gel, probably a bit steep price-wise for my shower routine but I will enjoy using it up!

I've had one Leighton Denny polish before (funnily enough, through a beauty box) and the formula is a good one, I used two coats to get fully opaque nails, but I reckon you could get away with just one. I received the colour 'Meet Me in Monaco' which is a peachy nude tone, which I will admit I wouldn't usually pick for myself, but I am pleasantly surprised! It seems to be working quite well with my pale skin tone and makes my nails look nice and clean, but I imagine this would look amazing on tanned and deeper skin tones.

Birchbox love to throw in an extra or two, and this month I got a little bar of Green & Blacks dark chocolate which unfortunately didn't make it into the photo as I may have eaten it... but you mat notice a wee card that says 'shhhh' on it, and on the reverse it reveals a collaboration with LuLu Guinness next month!! Now I don't know whether that means she will be designing the box, choosing the items in the box or contributing an item or potentially a mix of all three, I suppose we'll have to wait and see!!

Are you subscribed to Birchbox?
Do you like the look of this month's offerings?
Let us know in the comments!!

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Benefit POREfessional: Agent Zero Shine Powder Review

It feels like a long time since I've done a good old fashioned review, but I have been putting a few products to test and I thought I'd shed some light on what I think of them. First in the firing line is this new release from Benefit. I actually happened to pick this up on it's release date, Boxing Day and have been using it ever since.

If you were to ask me to give a yes/no answer to whether the product itself was good, I would, through my gritted teeth, have to say, yes. Because I have to admit, the product itself, is a good one, it minimises pores, sets make-up well and can get rid of shine throughout the day, but I do have a lot of issues with this product. First and foremost, the packaging. It looks and feels cheap, and certainly does not look like you spent over £20 on it, the way the loose powder is dispensed is bit of a gimmick but also a bit of a pain, especially if you've only got the lid to empty it out into and you want to use a brush of your own. You'd think with an included brush, you could either take or leave it, however with this brush is up and inside the packaging - which basically means you get less product than what you think. In fact for your £23.50 you get a little under 7g, which I will put into context: Mac's Studio Fix Powder is £21.50 for 15g, Laura Mercier's Loose Powder is £29 for 29g. With some quick maths that makes Benefit's powder roughly £3.40 per gram, Mac's Studio Fix £1.43 per gram and Laura Mercier's Loose Powder at £1 a gram. And after a quick scan with other brands' offering of loose powder NarsBen Nye and even Chantecaille are cheaper gram for gram against Benefit's POREfessional powder. The more and more I look into the product, and other similar ones of the market, the more I am annoyed that I shelled out for it.

I would love this powder if they cut the gimmicks and the dishonest packaging and I am eager to see whether or not they release a pressed version of this which I would imagine gives you more product for your pound (upon looking up their box blushes which are also priced at £23.50, and you get 10g) As I said, this is a good product but it is certainly not worth the money, nor is it a product I will repurchase which is a shame because I do like Benefit as a brand and this has made me kind of sceptical of the brand.

Do you like Benefit products?
Have a favourite setting powder?
Let us know in the comments!

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Alice's Favourite Pamper Night Treats

Last week I talked about a few perfumes I thought would be wonderful if you were heading out for something special this Valentine's. Now, I know not everybody will be heading to the Italian 'round the corner for a candlelit meal for two - so don't worry - I've got you guys covered too. There's no day like February 14th to take time out and show yourself a bit of TLC and I find these products great for a little you time.

Lush Bath Ballistics/Bubble Bars from £1.95
Now, these two I have left over from a Christmas time splurge, but I'm more than sure that Lush have some limited edition Valentine's pieces in store ready and waiting for your perusing pleasure, as well as their permanent collection. Lush have a wide old range which will suit most, but if you wanted a liquid version, you could substitute a solid bath product from Lush to one of their shower gels and use it as a bubble bath!

I featured this mask in my January Favourites - and with good reason. Although I'm only just out of my teenage years, my skin is still failing to get the memo. I most definitely have oily and blemish prone skin and I like to turn to a mask such as this one to keep those pesky spots at bay. The Australian brand love pumping their products with ingredients that will work wonders for the skin, and this is no exception. Described by most as the souped up version of the famed Parsley Seed Mask, I skipped the middle man and went straight for the big boy - and my skin is thanking me for it.

Another mask I like reaching for is this one from Ren. I am not crazy on the smell, that is for sure, but I do like the results I see after using it. I feel this would work for most skin types and inject a bit of life back into your skin. The mask itself is quite translucent and I do wonder whether or not it would be a perfect long haul flight companion - I'll give it a whirl and keep you updated - but I do know for sure it leads to great skin, which means less make-up, which means less chance of a break-out. Score.

If masks are not your thing, but you want to show your skin some love, this may just be the ticket. This is the newest edition to my pamper night arsenal and so far I've been really liking it. It is definitely a weekly use product as it really does get to work on your skin - thus I wouldn't recommend it for those with sensitive skin. It's odd in the sense that when you first squeeze it out the tube it feels like a cream, but when you rub it in you feel just how fine the grains in the product really are. This is a product I like taking down onto my décolletage and works really well there too. It's also a fairly quick treatment so if you're strapped for time this is a nice one to use.

Onto body products, a great indulgent scrub with a not-so indulgent price tag is The Breakfast Scrub by Soap & Glory (recently renamed to fit in with it's scent family - 'The Smoothie Star range'). This scrub I find has a thicker consistency than the other offerings from S&G and oh, did I mention it smells like maple syrup? It smells so moreish and sweet and really gets the job done leaving your body lovely and smooth!

The Body Shop stock just about ever scent of body butter imaginable. I currently own two - Raspberry and Coconut. The body butters themselves are of a high quality, are super thick, and leave your skin feeling soft and supple. No, you can't put your jeans straight on and walk out the door, but I am always pleasantly surprised by the speed it soaks in when you take the thickness of the product into consideration. The Body Shop are always having deals in store and online (one of the most beneficial mailing lists I'm a part of!) so don't be put off by the £13 price tag, they're more often than not half price, or there's a money off deal running.

I hope some of these products help for care a little more for you, or make you feel good in this bleak winter weather. Whatever you're doing a week Friday, I hope you have a wonderful day!

Do you have any favourite pamper night products?
Had your eye on any of the above?

Let us know!!

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Our First Video! Alice's January Favourites!

Hello! At around 3am this morning, our first video went live on Youtube! I thought I'd start with a round up of all my favourite products in January - take that, New Years Resolutions! Needless to say I am nervous as pie having my little voice out there - but I'm proud that I stuck to my word! Please feel free to follow us on Youtube - as it stands we're going to post videos as and when, rather than the Wednesday/Saturday postings we currently use on the blog. Who knew I could speak for so long about a lip balm?

Needless to say, thanks again for the ongoing support of this blog I'll see you on Wednesday for another post!