Monday, 31 May 2010

FOTD #3: Aquamarina

Some of the more eagle-eyed of you may have noticed I mentioned a blush in my 'Going Natural' post, which I had received in a palette from Coco Beau Cosmetics for the purposes of review. Now, this is not one of those sponsored product placement posts, but as I want to give this palette the time and verbosity it deserves, I've been rigorously putting it through its paces and testing it out....

And to test out makeup, I need to wear it... And I liked this look so much I decided an FOTD was in order, just to show you a fairly summery aquatic kind of look. The look itself really reminds me of that awful bit in Stingray (if you don't know what Stingray is, then it's kind of like Thunderbirds. But in the sea.), with the mute Marina who could breathe underwater, and the terrible accompanying song. Anyway, this look reminds me of that. SO YEAH. And you know, I never wear anything bright and jazzy - so this is a bit more of a dramatic look, and I'm enjoying it wholeheartedly!

Apparently smiling costs money.

Duck lips optional - I didn't even realise I was doing it until later!

Products used:
FACE:
  • NARS Sheer Glow Foundation
  • E.L.F. Under-Eye Concealer
  • Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer
  • Kryolan Anti-Shine Powder
  • MAC Blush Ombre in Azalea Blossom
EYES:
  • MAC Paintpot in Bare Study
  • Bee-Luscious Palette Eyeshadows in Bullet (a pigmented silver-platinum), Washed Denim (a teal) and Moody Blue (a navy with glitter).
  • Shiseido Fine Eyeliner
  • MAC Powerpoint Pencil in Grey Utility
  • L'Oreal Voluminous Mascara
LIPS:
  • MAC Lipstick in Most Popular dabbed as a light stain.
Innit. Complete with backwards L-sign. Because I'm 90's.

Much love x

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Recent Ins and Outs

Tiring week. I am currently blogging this from my shoebox-sized hotel room (we could say 'bijou' rather than 'shoebox-sized', but then that implies that it's tastefully-decorated when in fact it's definitely much like something my Nana would have decorated. 40 years ago.).

Was that too long of a phrase in parentheses? Probably. I'm using the excuse that my brain is fried and I've eaten too much junk food...

But I've not fallen off the wagon! It's just much more difficult to get sustenance that I can actually either make in my hotel room, or that's tasty, where I'm currently at. I either have a KFC or Pot Noodle at my disposal, and since I'm a calorie-fearing hermit, I opted for the noodley snack in all its additive glory.

But, anyway, you don't want to hear about all that.

IN:
- True Blood: OMGOMGOMG. I actually haven't talked about anything else in days. My tweets are full of longing for the deliciously tall Eric. I have a thing for tall men, and it makes me look like an advert for Yellow Pages when I date them (you know, the one where the kid has to stand on the phone book to plant a mistletoe-fuelled smacker on his beloved?) But anyway, True Blood. I was mourning the loss of the Vampire Diaries to my busy schedule, particularly after the PHWOAR season finale which I greedily devoured on Megavideo. So then I found True Blood and hated it (and Anna Paquin's gappy front teeth) for at least 10 minutes. And then there was just this click and it was full of awesomeness and then I ordered the books and the boxsets and I've watched both series 3 times over each and and and. Obsessed. Count me in, yes please. ERIC OM NOM NOM NOM.
- Diorskin Nude Foundation: This is loveliness in a bottle. It's got a very light finish, lasts well and feels weightless on my skin. It blends perfectly and gives me this very natural and pretty look to my skin. It is perfect and I am in LOVE.
- NARS Multiple Tint Tubes: These look very offensive in the tube, but in reality they're lovely and sheer, easy to blend and not too sticky. Plus - multipurpose! I can always use more multipurpose. Plus, I like to take them out and gaze lovingly at their offensive candy-pop brightness.
- NARS Eyeshadow in Nepal: I've always been a huge fan of Nepal, but had forgotten about it until Lollipop26's post on it reminded me. It was like going back to an old friend - I love when I switch out of an old rut into a new one. My makeup looks fabulous for at least a week afterward (until the new rut becomes old again - what a vicious cycle!)
- Foundation primers: The worm has turned - who knew? I bought a small sample pot of a primer from eBay and have been blown away - makeup goes on smoother but my skin isn't oily! It's the first time this has happened to me, so I'm feeling victorious. Does anyone know where I can buy samples of primers online?

OUT:
- MAC: It's like a clingy ex, and when they speak all you hear is 'blah blah blah' and then some more 'blaaah'. The constant sub-par collections they keep releasing, the thing about products selling out online when they've not even been 'officially' released, and then MAC's complete inability to actually contract a delivery company who deliver on the day I paid for them to deliver it on? BLAH, go away. Prêt-a-Papier sucked and To the Beach was disturbing average bar one product. How the mighty have fallen.
- NARS Sheer Matte: Yuck, yuck, yuck, waiter, please take this away. It's awful and lasts no longer than 4 hours before I get extremely oily. Always get a sample before buying is the moral of the story.
- Hot weather: I'm just a complete sun-dodger and my optimum temperature is about 20 degrees. Any hotter and I turn into a beetroot-faced grump.

Anything you're loving or hating this week? I have another driving lesson on Friday, eek eek eek!

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Mission #2: Going Natural

I reckon it's time for part 2 of my first 'Beauty 5' series I started over here - and that's the 5 makeup looks I'm scared to wear. Today's look (or yesterday's, as it was yesterday that I wore it...) is inspired by the natural look, which is definitely one I wasn't looking forward to (hence the reluctance on my part). I always figure, and hopefully quite rightly, that wearing makeup is about... wearing makeup! It's just that simple for me.

Wearing makeup in order to not look like you're wearing makeup just seems like a huge, swirling paradox and a whole pile of stupid.

But, I'm a gamely kind of girl, so here is Mission #2: Going natural.

As always, my ever-important arsenal/survival kit for the day:

  1. NARS Sheer Glow Foundation: The only way to fake it naturally is by using a superb foundation and making it look like you're 'glowing from within'. I pick Sheer Glow for the fact it gives great coverage, a flawless finish and it doesn't look too matte.
  2. MAC Pigment in Naked: Over my usual base of MAC's Paintpot in Bare Study, I use a big, fluffy eyeshadow brush to sweep over a light layer of Naked pigment, which is a beautiful pearlised nude to offer an even, brighter skin tone to my eyelid.
  3. NARS Eyeshadow in Mekong: To give my eyes a little sultry definition, I use a little (a very little) Mekong in the outer-v and crease, proceeding with extreme caution and care, as we don't want this to turn all lovely and smokey. We're keeping it real bland, people.
  4. NARS Multiple Tint Tube in Turks & Caicos: Not as scary as it seems. I only got this a couple of days ago and am itching to use it, so I daub some over my cheeks for a lovely pinky-peach flush. If I want my blush to stay longer, this is a good product to use as it's fairly sticky at first.
  5. Bee-Luscious Mineral Matte Blush in Rose Blush: For my main blush colour, I opt for a dusky pink blush (sent to me in a palette from Coco Beau) as my ADD kicks in and I veer wildly from an orange-toned blush to a dusky pink. I am pleased with the effect, however, as the nice matte finish looks natural and pretty.
  6. MAC Lipstain Marker in Tomorrow's Coral: I never, ever go natural with the lips, because that'd just make me look like I'm coming down with something. In the spirit of 'natural', I go with a lipstain which gives me a nice tint without being too loud, and that my lips are still visible through. Lipstick just felt wrong.
After lashings of mascara (because I feel I need more when I'm not wearing liquid eyeliner), and after adopting a sultry gaze into the camera, and we end up with something that looks like this:

Sultry gaze accidental, and also optional.


I feel like a soft, feminine Aphrodite, and I clip my hair up to let little pieces frame my face.

Sadly, the feeling doesn't last. Although I love what I see every time I look in the mirror, after a few hours of wear, I start to feel like I look tired and a bit peaky. This makeup look, for me, takes more work than what I'd usually wear, and I'm not one to remember to re-powder or add more blush. As the blush wears off, the forehead shine sweeps in and the once-curly eyelashes droop, I just don't feel as pretty as I did when it was first applied.

As I'm used to working my makeup hard throughout the day, when some products start to fade, I get by on the fact that my eye makeup is still going strong. With this, it's so natural that I feel like I need top-ups by lunchtime, whereas with my usual look I'd slick on some more lipstick and feel ready to go again.

In a direct inverse effect to Mission #1, I feel less confident as the day ravages my makeup, and I just feel older, and notice every shine-patch and blush fade.

THE VERDICT:
- This look is far more high-maintenance than I ever imagined. Although it looks lovely and fresh upon application, to keep the natural look rolling, I need to re-apply blush and powder my forehead. I notice the imperfections more as I'm wearing less eye makeup, which is unable to compensate for the rest of my face.
- That said, the way to a natural face is definitely wearing a matte blush, whatever tone. I think dusky pink is a good start as it gives a lovely flush to the face. Cheek stains would work equally as well.
- Wearing my hair up really sold the look to me and it made me feel feminine and pretty with little effort.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Shred Update: End of Stage One

I'm feeling rather proud of myself: I completed stage one of the 30-day Shred. That is 10 days of (near-) consecutive exercise. This is such a ridiculously monumental achievement for me that I can't quite believe I forced myself through; it feels like some kind of disturbing miracle - who is this woman and how did she make me work out for 10 days?!

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I loathe all exercise apart from hula-hooping and dance. I was enrolled in dance classes from the tender age of 2 and a half and have the tiny shoes to prove it, so the love for dancing is deeply engrained in me by my mother's forceful (but of course wanting the best for her child) hand.

Stage one, then, was no cake walk (I wish it were, oh my god I want cake). I'm surprised to find that I find the exercises concentrated on the abs the easiest, and the strength exercises incredibly tough, like press-ups and lunges with bicep curls.

Day 6 reaches a stalemate as my resentment for Jillian Michaels plus a weird (and painful!) pain in my wrist sees me giving up in disgust after 5 minutes. I proceed to feel varying levels of pissed off at myself for the rest of the day, compounded by the fact that the night before, Kieran's mum decided it was takeaway night. Having carefully avoided chocolate, cakes and sweets, I didn't have much of a choice and ate what I was given - I mean, it's curry! It's delicious!

The funny thing is, my day off the Shred doesn't make me feel better at all. It provokes a prolonged period of self-examination, and every item of clothing I try on makes me feel psychologically plumper, and I grump about listlessly for most of the day, getting very little done.

So, on day 7 (now to be known as day 6: part 2), I get right back on that hamster wheel, the Shred, and squeak my assent to the Supreme Ruler and Imperial Overlord of all pain, suffering and exercise, Jillian Michaels.

I decide to do two things:
  • Assign myself a rest day from the Shred: I need variety and doing the same exercise routine 5 days in a row just made me bored and annoyed, and then doubly so of the latter because I missed a day of exercise. I declare each Sunday a Jillian-free day.
  • Find variety: Even though I've chosen a 'rest day' from the Shred, as it were, I resolve to do a different form of exercise. I choose hula-hooping. Every Sunday, I hula-hoop from 30 minutes to an hour, and blast some cheerful tunes out whilst I'm doing it. Instant cheer.
The whole hula-hooping thing takes a turn for the surreal when I end up hooping in time to the James Bond theme tune (the snazzy quick one from Moby!) My shame at finding it even in my music library is tantamount to finding Bananaphone by Raffi (sadly still instated upon my hard drive) whilst doing... unmentionable things.

So, my stats:
Before shred: 9 st 7/60 kg/132 lbs
After stage one: 8st 13/56kg/125 lbs

... I blink and reweigh myself at that one, and come to a conclusion. The first time I weighed myself was in the evening, after dinner, in a hoodie and jeans.

This time I weigh myself... not in the hoodie and jeans (shall we save you a mental image? No? I WAS WEARING JUST MY GLASSES SO I COULD SEE THE NUMBERS), and in the morning.

I estimate my proper weight loss at about 5lbs in 10 days and feel elated - it couldn't possibly be a loss of 8lbs as I don't feel I've worked hard enough, but 5lbs is a flying start.

So, the things I learned after round one?
  • A switch flips in my brain and I have this huge desire to eat better food with fewer calories and bad fats. Every morning, I refuel from my shred with a bowl of porridge made with rice milk. Not because I'm a sudden-vegan, but because porridge is really awesome for the body, and that amount of milk makes my stomach unhappy. So I eat porridge every day - usually with half a banana and some vanilla essence. Sometimes blueberries, or pieces of pear, or raspberries. Yum. For lunch, I eat couscous in varying combinations. I eat home-made vegetable soup, I eat copious amounts of salad. When I'm hungry, I eat fruit, and not because I feel I need to, but because I feel I want to. If I need something sweet, I'll have a snack-a-jack, or a low-fat biscuit (sounds gross, but they have low-calorie Hobnobs now!)
  • I underestimate myself in my power of resisting temptation. I've never been very good at it, but I've never had cause to resist it. This time, when fruit pastries and giant cookies are brought home, I don't eat them. I don't even think about them, the thought just doesn't cross my mine.
  • My ability to get a straight line and flick on my liquid liner diminishes as my biceps tremble from the strength workouts I've been subjected to.
  • I learn not to dread the shred so much as look forward to the delicious bowl of porridge waiting for me at the end of it. Simple, but effective.
  • I learn that it's not about the number, the amount of weight lost. It's about how I look and feel in the mirror, and how my self-esteem is. I'm not interested in how much I've lost so much as how I feel when I look in the mirror. Although I've lost 5lbs, it doesn't mean anything until I can honestly say I am happy with the way my stomach looks now.

That's not to say I'm as virtuous as you think. I do succumb to chocolate (dark, 70% cocoa, YUM), and I do succumb to a cupcake with peanut butter frosting (drool). I do eat the occasional fatty dinner (my world-famous chorizo soup is something I get hankerings for), but mostly I stay on the straight and narrow, though weekends are difficult; Kiwi's around, and he eats a lot. That makes me want to eat a lot. He offers me the odd crisp and rations them (I think he rather likes being the dungeon master), but overall, he's supportive.

But it's still bloody hard.

However, if you got through that, have a (low-calorie and inferior to its original incarnation) cookie. And bring on stage 2.

Love.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Friday 5 (Share the Love!) and Friday Playlist

Every muscle is screaming in my body right now, and not just because of the shred, but also because I'm learning to drive. For me, the nervous new driver, I have to hunch over the wheel and drive at a snail's pace, and I turn the wheel with every muscle in my arms and not just my hands. I don't slouch casually into the car seat; I sit bolt upright and panicking every second, so now my arms, abs and back are painful - because today was the day for learning roundabouts.

Oh my god.

Anyway, I haven't done one of these posts in a long while, so here are my favourite 5 links of the week. This week, we're talking about favourite beauty blogs.
  1. Pretty Little Posey: Not the first time she's been on my favourites list, but you've got to go check her blog out. She's a very lovely, friendly girl who puts a lot of effort into her blog with creative and intelligently-written posts, which aren't just about makeup. Her writing style has this light-hearted loveliness about it, which I love and which keeps me reading. Girl is clever, too - she's going to medical school next September, so she needs more followers to keep her from getting too engrossed in her work :)
  2. Beauty Mouth: This blog is fabulous for featuring a lot of high-end brands and unearthing beauty secrets I've never heard of but am now desperate to get, such as Lotion P-50 by Biologique Recherche. She also features fascinating interviews from makeup artists, beauty tips such as facial massage and the secret products that makeup counter sales assistants buy with their allocations. It's like a Pandora's Box in there.
  3. Laura's Bloggy Blog: I follow this girl on Twitter, and she's such a lovely lady, very friendly and sweet. And she's also pregnant, which gives her a unique view-point, which in turn makes her blog very interesting to read. Laura combines makeup reviews and beauty-related posts with posts about real life, her baby she's a-growin' and everything else in between. I love her personal and personable style.
  4. MizzWorthy: I love Jen's blog because I completely trust her opinion; she has a lot of loyal followers for a reason, and that's because she provides excellent, informative posts and truly honest opinions. I love her occasional sneak peeks on upcoming collections and the way her honest and personality shine through her posts. Definitely a must-read for all your review needs.
  5. Just like Hollywood: Simone's just finding her feet in the whole blogosphere and already she's doing a pretty great job - she does really great and thorough reviews, and her blog is just beginning to gather impetus. I love the character reflected in her posts, and she too is another lady I talk to a lot on Twitter.
This week's Friday playlist isn't inspired by anything particular, but as the sun begins to come out more and more, these are the songs I've been listening to:
  1. She & Him - Lingering Still: Just chilled-out sunny day music which is laid-back and featuring the rather dulcet tones of Zooey Deschanel. This is uplifting and makes my heart happy.
  2. The Bees - A Minha Menina: This is a cover of an older song by Os Mutantes, but its friendly, jerky rhythm reminds me of sitting in the trailer of a pick-up truck enjoying the breeze on a sunny day... Even though I've never done that anyway.
  3. Nouvelle Vague - Dancing with Myself: Jaunty, happy rhythms which make me want to dance in step in the middle of the street. Love it for a sunny day.
  4. Beck - Qué Onda Guero: Even though I've never been to one, this reminds me irresistibly of a street carnival somewhere in South America with a little bit of a Beck twist - because he can't help himself.
  5. Coeur de Pirate - Pour un Infidèle: I know it's in French, but give this sugary-sweetly voiced number about a guy cheating on a girl a chance. It's laid-back loveliness.
Happy Friday, everyone, and much love.

And the winner is...

missmascara1983!

Her favourite smell is creosote (I'm not judging!) Congratulations, you've won the Philosophy Pure Grace perfume, 3 Models Own nail polishes of your choice, some chocolate dinosaurs and other assorted little goodies :)

Please email me with your address and nail polish choices to: camiloveskiwi@googlemail.com

Want to know how I did it?

First I inputted everyone's name in the order they commented into an Excel Spreadsheet, starting with 1 as the first commenter:


Then I clicked on Random.org, entered the number of commenters (78 of you!) and hey presto:

So, thank you very much for all of you for participating, and there will definitely be more giveaways in future!

Much love.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Beauty 5: My Favourite Drugstore Products

The 'drugstore' and I are not easy friends, and we teeter in a love-hate relationship at all times, with me as the cruel-hearted swishy-skirted mistress of the inn, and with the drugstore products pleading for a room (this post has begun to sound like the Christmas Story, except it's more fancy). So, when I do really like a drugstore product, I love it. I'm ambivalent about so much of the high-street selection available to me that for something to make a good impression, it'd really better be bloody good.

It's not that I'm a makeup snob (well, I could be...), but I must be trying all the wrong products because I never find a Holy Grail amid the 2-for-1s and BOGOFs, except for these 5.

And these 5 products are the one, shining exception where the drugstore, or whateveryoucallit (in the U.K., we call it 'Boots'. Or Superdrug. So there.) has won and made me pick up its products in their slightly more gaudy packaging more than once. So, sit back and indulge me while I show you my drugstore gems (I originally typed this as '... as I show you my gems', but I thought that sounded a bit rude).


PRIZE FOR SPOTTING THE INCONGRUOUS CREEPING BLUE DINOSAUR! Not really.
  1. Barry M Dazzle Dusts: These are mini pots of wonder. They do lack a bit of the punch of a MAC pigment, but you get a hell of a lot of bang for your buck and you also get to stare like a round-eyed sticky-mouthed child in awe at the pretty array of colours, ranging from retina-damaging neons and glitters to the more eye-friendly browns. These blend beautifully and the pigmentation in most shades is fabulous. It's kind of like Pokémon: I've gotta catch them all.
  2. E.L.F. Under Eye Concealer: E.L.F should add the other part of this product as a phrase in parenthesis, as the highlighting part of this is useless: chunky and does nothing for your lacking brow. However, this under eye concealer surprised me, in that it's actually good. And it's not even just that it's good, it's that it's better than the fabled Yves Saint Laurent's Touche Éclat. It stays where it's supposed to stay all day, it doesn't crease and it covers just fine. Perfect, and a steal. It has snuck into my heart and made a home.
  3. Max Factor 2000 Calorie Mascara: Sophie introduced me to this; she mentioned it so many times I felt compelled to buy it. After a rocky start (I accidentally bought it in brown), I fell in love. Now, it's rare for a mascara to not annoy me in its general ineptitude at doing what it says on the tube, let alone actually impress me. And since Diorshow Blackout... well, I've not really been intimate with another mascara. However, this one is my back-up of choice. It volumises and lengthens and makes it easy to apply extra coats without clumping.
  4. Sleek Pout Polish: How dare you forget! My love affair with these is ongoing and very justified indeed. They are creamy and moisturising and packed full of on-the-bus sling-on colour for casual days and rainy days. They offer just enough pigmentation to make you look put together, but not too much as to look overdone. Perfect.
  5. Models Own Nail Polishes: The colours, the finish, the price! I love everything about these nail polishes and have my beady eyes set on many, many more for my burgeoning little collection. I find these nail polishes last longer on me than any other, and I love the glossy finish and magpie-entrancing range - so many colours to suit my mood!
So, what are your top drugstore products? Is there something I simply must try?

Kisses.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

[CLOSED] Giveaway! Squee!

I reached the big 100 followers on this blog! Considering that it was originally created in tandem with my YouTube channel and has now taken on a little life of its own, I'm amazed and extremely grateful.

Most of you know, or will have gathered by now, that I love to write and I spend a lot of time constructing blog posts and getting them just how I like them... and this is to say thank you to all of you for commenting, participating and just reading and clicking the little 'follow' button!

So, as a token of my esteem, I'm hosting a eenie-weenie giveaway, and the rules couldn't be simpler:
  1. You must be a follower of this blog - and I will check!
  2. You must be over 18 or have parental permission for me to send you things should you win.
  3. Open internationally, of course!
  4. Comment on this blog post with your favourite smell in the whole wide world - could be the smell of baking, the smell of freshly cut grass... even paint, if that's what does it for you!
Winner will be picked by random drawing.

And the prizes?


You will win a brand new bottle of one of my favourite summer scents, Philosophy's Pure Grace Eau de Toilette, which smells like white laundry and sheets drying in the wind and soap and clean and and and...

And you'll also win 3 Models Own nail polishes of your choice, a bag of chocolate dinosaurs (of course) and a few other little goodies :)

So, you all have a week from today to get your entries in, go go go!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

The Battle of the Scrublets



It feels infinitely ridiculous to say this, but I've found a new way to wash my face. It all involves the basic same mechanisms and machinations as before, but now incorporates the use of a magical little device known as the scrublet.

The word 'scrublet' is one coined fairly recently (at least in terms of beauty, as its definition on Urban Dictionary defies what beauty would have me believe!) and refers to a hand-held gentle (ideally!) exfoliator for the face. Now, exfoliation is important; we all know this, and unless you really like the rather more rough-hewn or rustic look, it's one of those beauty rituals that it's good to keep on top of. However, prior to this minor foray into the world of the scrublet, I was defiant-eyed and skeptical, peering worriedly into the mists of the unknown.

I suppose the thought, at the time of buying these overpriced little mitt-sized surprises, was one of incredulity: 'Are we in such a tragic evolutional free-fall,' I wondered, 'that we can't even wash our own faces without help?'

...How wrong I was. I picked up two of these things and I'm here to referee the Battle of the Scrublets, round one.

In the red corner:

Soap & Glory's Face Massage Mini Mitt


Fashioned from a lurid, pink rubbery feeling thing, this mitt features varying kinds of 'bumpy bits' to massage and exfoliate your face in an all-in-one kind of spirit. It features a convenient little handle with a suction cup on the end which, if it worked effectively, would be great for sticking to the shower wall for handy grab-it-and-go type morning rush behaviour. It stimulates the blood vessels in the face to provoke more radiant and happy-looking skin, and can be used with your usual face wash to exfoliate while you're helping your skin look its best.

Kiwi immediately plunders this one for his very own, loyally using it everyday in the shower despite its obvious... pinkness. Kiwi's skin is a little sensitive and dry, so it's easy to see why he likes this so much: it doesn't hurt and it's a no-effort option for great results, and it costs a purse-friendly £4 from Boots.

The Body Shop's Facial Buffer


Holly of Yummy Mummy Beauty Blog caused quite a sensation with the surprise announcement that this simple little thing was keeping her skin on the straight and narrow. Like many of the plenty-and-something numbers of avid readers of her blog, I went straight (well, not straight; it was kind of a meandering crawl) to the Body Shop and paid up my £3 with no purse-scrabbling necessary. This particular buffer (mistyped that 'bugger' then, which is a bit unfair...) is made from fibres rather than rubbery-plastic hybrids. This feels quite a bit rougher on the skin and there's definitely no messing about with this product; it can hurt if you're not careful. My favourite way to use this is wet with my face wash of the day (what can I say?! I alternate!) and buff in circular motions. It leaves skin silky smooth and exfoliated to a degree I've never felt before. It's available here.

The verdict:
  • Soap & Glory's offering feels like it is ideal for Exfoliation 101 - for those who don't need to exfoliate too often, or are new to the idea.
  • The Body Shop's Facial Buffer is possibly not one for the more sensitive of skinned, but you can vary the amount of pressure you exert on your face and consequently how hard you scrub.
  • The little handle and ineffectual suction cup of the Mini Mitt present no challenge to the simple design of the Body Shop's buffer.
So, in my eyes, the Body Shop's Facial Buffer wins; it's more purse-friendly, more widely-available in different countries and more effective for exfoliation purposes. The Soap & Glory Mini Mitt seems to be marketed more as a facial massager with a secondary purpose thrown in. The Body Shop has the last word, and their product is surprisingly reasonably priced.

Suffice to say, you don't realise how much you need this, and your skin will thank you.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Beauty Eureka: Lancôme Artliner

Yesterday, I had rather a something of an event with a beauty product, a sort-of a cross between a proverbial cowboy showdown (not to be confused with hoedown, I have found) and a triumphant Eureka! moment.

It all happened like this: I was innocently rootling through my makeup stash for some products with which a young lady (such as myself) might like to experiment with on a dull Saturday afternoon when I came across a black-eyed nemesis. I tried to ignore the petulant cries of the sad and abandoned and focused my attentions instead on putting together several (unsuccessful) makeup looks.

And then it came to eyeliner - and it was all too easy to go with the Shiseido Fine Eyeliner Pen, whose services have flirty-flicked many a liquid-lined lady in their time. Instead, my attention fell to the plaintive cries of a makeup product cast asunder. And yesterday, as simply nothing could hold my attention for more than ten minutes at a time, I decided upon something: to sit and use the damn product until I damn well liked it.

There are echoes of the draconian in this little lesson, but this product (and its high price-tag) spectacularly failed to wow me when I bought it way back in January. And I bought it with my birthday money, which means that any fail which occurs on my birthday gets double negativity points.


So, I sulkingly faced off the Lancôme Artliner as it lassoed my heart and defined my eyes perfectly first time. I rubbed my eyes in cartoonish disbelief and removed my makeup for a second try; the same result second time around. It was like that magical moment when you accidentally drop that slice of toast in the morning, and it lands topping side up, except this happened over and over again.

And while the Artliner is still not my favourite of liquid liners, it has a growing fondness somewhere in my heart; no, it's not black enough and it's taken me so long to get used to I fear that maybe I'm just too old for all this...

Have any of you had any beauty EUREKA! moments recently?

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